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Reflections on the product


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<img src="http://forums.egullet.org/uploads/1139674845/gallery_29805_2457_23208.jpg" width="324" height="285" hspace="5" align="left">Few

chefs and restaurants have documented their creations with the detail and systematic

approach that Ferran Adria, Juli Soler and Albert Adria have taken. The trilogy

El Bulli 1983 - 2002, which will be followed by a new volume (already published

in Spanish) documenting the years 2003 and 2004, gives unique insight into the

history of El Bulli -- which is to say a unique insight into the avant garde movement.

<br>

<br>

Taking advantage of the upcoming publication of the volume corresponding to the

period 1994 -1997 in English, French and German, we present a series of four excerpts:

what happened at El Bulli during 1994, and a peek at the style developed in 1995

that revolutionized cooking: deconstruction. Twelve years later, much of what

the El Bulli team created has been adopted in high-end cuisine the world over.

We'll learn how products are analyzed; how senses are used as a starting point

for creativity; how the frontiers between preparations in savory and sweet dishes

began to blur; and the philosophy behind El Bulli service and dining. Finally,

we'll learn how one of El Bulli's most pervasive techniques came to be: 1994 is

the year of the first foam. <br>

<br>

Controversy, challenge of the established mindset, and cuisine have always gone

hand in hand at El Bulli. To this day, foams and deconstruction are questioned

in some circles, though their creation dates back more than ten years. I'm sure

that the members of the eGullet Society will find food for thought in this series.

And of course, food for discussion. </font><br>

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<td valign="middle"><font size="-1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">Our

reflections on products led us to develop a work system that all chefs use

to a greater or lesser degree, but which at that time we decided to take

to its ultimate consequences. This was something as simple as going to the

market and buying a product, not for the daily requirements of the restaurant,

but in order to study it, to try and understand all its characteristics,

and then get as much use as we could out of it. A product should be touched,

turned over, looked at from all angles, as a sushi expert does with a tuna

fish, in order to assimilate its shape, density, weight, volume and so on.

<br>

<br>

<img src="http://forums.egullet.org/uploads/1138577531/gallery_29805_2457_4028.jpg" hspace="5" vspace="0" align="left">Here

is an example to illustrate this process: the mango. We know that it is

a tropical fruit, which tells us that it is available all year round. It

has a wide range of flavours and subtle features, reminiscent of the peach,

the banana or the passion fruit, while at the same time it is easy to combine

with other flavours because of its balance between acidity and sugar. There

are some sixty varieties, and in each one there is a distinction between

the mango (male), fibrous, smaller and tastier (usually used to make purees)

and the manga (female) which, because it has a more pulpy texture, is easier

to manipulate. It can be zested (and the skin mixed with mango puree

to take advantage of its resinous flavour), and it is then that we see that,

unlike other fruits, it does not go brown, which increases its usage potential.

Because of its size, we can cut it up in various ways: julienne, matchsticks,

brunoise, etc. It can be sliced, and if we do so thinly with the slicer,

we see that its texture is similar to pasta al dente. This may lead us to

treat it as a new pasta and shape it into tagliatelli, ravioli and so on.

In addition, a mango puree could give rise to a good many preparations:

sorbets, foams, coulis, etc. The example of the mango could be expanded

even further, and perfectly illustrates a way of observing products that

is of great use to us for developing creative ideas.<br>

<br>

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<td valign="top"><font size="-1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">Until

recently, it was a given that going to a gourmet restaurant meant eating

products that were expensive: caviar, foie gras, truffles, lobster and other

products that had become veritable myths of cuisine. We too had this view

of haute cuisine, but in 1994 we began to consider the scant logic of this

concept if it is thought about completely objectively. In fact, the price

of a product is set by the law of supply and demand: if the product is scarce

and much sought after, its price is high; if there is a glut, and not many

people want it, then it is cheap, with all possible conditions in between.

This is how the situation stands. A good example of this phenomenon is salmon,

which was the luxury fish par excellence until salmon farming began a few

years ago. Since then, its consumption has spread widely and it is affordable

to a large public today. <br>

<br>

<img src="http://forums.egullet.org/uploads/1138577531/gallery_29805_2457_5867.jpg" hspace="5" vspace="0" align="left">This

new perspective opened our eyes to the fact that every product, regardless

of its price, is magnificent as long as it is of good quality, and can play

a role as important as any other product. A young almond does not enjoy

the same gourmet prestige as a Norway lobster in traditional terms, but

we believe that both products have the same culinary value. So we decided

that as far as we were concerned, a sardine was as important as a sea bass,

or an artichoke as a truffle, and that what should govern our choices was

sensibility, not price or prestige. This does not mean to say that we place

little value on products that, like truffles, caviar or many others, we

consider to be divine. <br>

<br>

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<td valign="top"><font size="-1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">As stated

previously, from 1994 onwards our evaluation of a product was focussed not

so much on its gastronomic prestige as on its flavour characteristics --

the features that made up its individuality or, to borrow a term that should

only be applied to humans, its personality. In El Bulli we have called this

set of a product's refinements and characteristics, the product's

"gene". For example, this "gene" is what enables

us to taste asparagus and identify its flavour, to be aware that it is,

in fact, asparagus. <br>

<br>Our memory stores data about the various product "genes",

thanks to which we can tell what we are eating. Some products have a very

strong personality and only a small amount needs to be eaten to tell us

what they are. For example, spices and aromatic herbs have a stronger

flavour concentration than other products. Furthermore, it is easier to

tell half a dozen vegetables apart than half a dozen types of fish.

<br><br>This way of looking at things came to us along with the previously-mentioned

assessment of products. In El Bulli we began to accentuate this "gene" in 1994, in an attempt to highlight its characteristics, and we decided

that it was a priority for us to preserve this personality even when we

submitted the product to manipulation or preparation. For example, we

had always dreamt about making a basil jelly with as much or more flavour

than a fresh sprig of basil, or an asparagus sorbet with as much flavour

as the vegetable in its natural state.<br><br>

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<td valign="top"><font size="-1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">In 1997

we mentioned in Los secretos de El Bulli the existence in Roses of a magnificent

restaurant. Luckily, Rafa is still running his establishment, and we still

go there when we want to eat fish that tastes only of fish. In the book,

we said that Rafa's cooking, thanks to the honest flavours he was

able to extract, was something we could learn from. We might say that the

most important thing in his cooking was to preserve the pure flavour of

the product. <br>

<br>

<img src="http://forums.egullet.org/uploads/1139674845/gallery_29805_2457_4165.jpg" hspace="5" align="left">These

reflections were in response to ideas that we had every now and then between

1983 and 1993, particularly regarding molluscs, cooking vegetables, shellfish,

fish etc. on the griddle, and they caused us to review a good many habits

in preparing certain foods. For example, molluscs and crustaceans are usually

overcooked, when in fact this reduces the intensity of their flavour, no

matter how delicious the accompanying sauce is. Overcooked meat, fruit and

vegetables consumed out of season (that is to say, often after they have

been in cold storage, which reduces their freshness, aroma and flavour),

or canned truffles, lacking all the aromatic potency of this product, are

just some examples of customs which, if we want to be true to our philosophy

and fully respect the flavour intensity of each product, should be looked

at again. In fact, we are getting used to doing this in our daily life with

certain products that do not have all the flavour that potentially they

could have. This is a pity, but it is so true that perhaps when we taste

a product whose flavour characteristics are intact, we may find that it

has "too much" flavour. 1994 marked a change in this respect, as the sporadic

concerns of previous years came together in an idea that we have been applying

ever since.</font><br>

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<td align="right" valign="top"><img src="http://forums.egullet.org/uploads/1139674845/gallery_29805_2457_2389.jpg" align="top"></td>

<td valign="top"><font size="-1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif"><img src="http://forums.egullet.org/uploads/1138577531/gallery_29805_2457_8436.jpg" hspace="5" align="left">When

trying to understand a product it is essential to know how it can be consumed

and the best way of preserving its original flavour. There are three ways

of consuming a product: raw, cooked and by modifying its texture. The first

way enables one to appreciate its original flavour and texture, and in many

cases this is the usual way: oysters, fruit, certain vegetables, etc. By

means of the second method, the product is cooked in some way. If the cooking

time is short, the final flavour will be nearer the original (griddled,

barbecued, sautéed). Long cooking tends to remove the natural element from

most flavours (casseroles, stews, etc.) and although the result may be appealing,

it could be said that the product’s “gene” has been overmodified.

<br><br>

The third

way of consuming a product is perhaps the most complex. It consists of preparing

and modifying its texture (soups, jellies, foams, sorbets, ice creams, mousses,

etc.) while attempting to preserve as much as possible its original flavour.

It has been claimed that a prepared product can never beat the perfect flavour

of the original, but this should not be taken as gospel. Sometimes a new

texture is just as pleasing as the product in its raw state. Back in 1992

we set out on this path with our cold jellies and liquidised soups; by 1994

(with foams, savoury sorbets, etc.) products in prepared textures were incorporated

in a big way and started to become a feature of our cuisine.<br>

<br>

Finally, two observations. Firstly, there was criticism for a while of this

idea of preparing products in textures other than their original state in

the savoury world, even though this was common in the world of desserts.

Nobody claims that a pear jelly, banana sorbet or raspberry mousse perverts

the product’s flavour and yet the opposite seems to apply in the savoury

world. This does not mean that we must only offer prepared products; there

should always be a balance in a menu.

<br><br>

Secondly, there are products that

have been prepared and become other products, often as pleasing as the unprepared

product or even more so. One only has to think of tinned molluscs, which

offer two completely different flavours (either prepared in this way or

au naturel), or a product as singular as wine, the result of a preparation

that is so sophisticated that one almost forgets the grapes. </font><br>

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<td align="right" valign="top"><img src="http://forums.egullet.org/uploads/1139674845/gallery_29805_2457_2716.jpg"></td>

<td valign="top"><font size="-1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif"><img src="http://forums.egullet.org/uploads/1138590929/gallery_29805_2457_27896.jpg" hspace="5" align="left">Up

to 1993, our relationship with dairy products had given rise to a few results,

as we attempted to understand the characteristic of each product. It was

probably parmesan whey that led us to analyse dairy products in a different

way, and this opened up a broad range of uses, no longer limited to just

textures. Thus, in 1994 we began to use yoghurt as a sauce, brie and other

soft cheeses as a soup, or mascarpone as a sort of garnish. In addition,

some of these dairy products enabled us to introduce a touch of sourness,

which was added to our range of flavours</font>. <br>

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<td align="right" valign="top"><img src="http://forums.egullet.org/uploads/1139674845/gallery_29805_2457_226.jpg" align="bottom"></td>

<td valign="top"><font size="-1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif"><img src="http://forums.egullet.org/uploads/1138577531/gallery_29805_2457_2935.jpg" hspace="5" align="left">From

the moment we began to think of playing with basic flavours in our cuisine,

we started to broaden the range of ingredients that could be used in the

sweet or savoury world. In our culinary milieu, it is quite clear at what

point in the meal savoury or sweet dishes are served. The development of

the symbiosis between both worlds in our cuisine opened our eyes as to how

relative these dogmas can be.

<br><br>

In fact, when we analysed a series of products

that were usually consumed in the savoury world or in the sweet world, we

realised that their usage was somewhat bound by convention. Marrows, carrots,

tomatoes, peas or beetroots are more sweet than savoury, yet until recently

they had appeared mostly in savoury dishes. Our contribution was to look

for the necessary harmony for them to be included in sweet dishes effectively.

It is true that some fruits had already often been used in the savoury world:

oranges, pears, apples, grapes and plums. But there was room for further

diversification: raspberries or passion fruits, which possess acidic properties

similar to those of lemons, could replace them in a good many savoury dishes.

Lychees are similar to grapes, mangoes can replace peaches, providing their

own character. The possibilities are endless. All one has to do is rid oneself

of one’s prejudices and concentrate on the intrinsic flavour properties

of each product. </font><br>

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<td valign="top"><font size="-1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">Product

association had been one of our main creative methods up to 1993. We had

thoroughly systematised and explored it, and we established the foundations

for certain flavour combinations which had accompanied us and had been added

to over the years. In 1994, our creative approach focussed on other methods

(mainly the search for new concepts and techniques), but we were still open

to new discoveries. One of these was really interesting: the combination

of molluscs and fruit provided us with a superb contrast between the savoury

and sometimes slightly bitter flavour of the former and the sweetness and

acidity of certain fruits. This happy alliance between two families resulted

that year in our rock mussels with coriander foam (with a blood orange reduction),

cold/hot clam chop suey (with lychees), and scallops in holy oil with mushrooms

and redcurrants. </font><br><br></td>

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<font size="-2" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">This is the first part in a multi-part series. Part two is here.<br>

El Bulli books may be purchased here.<br><br>

Our thanks to Juli Soler for his invaluable assistance in this project. <br>

Copyright Ferran Adria, Juli Soler, Albert Adria © 2006. Photographs by Francesc Guillamet. <br>

Introduction by Pedro Espinosa.<br>

</font></td></tr>

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This is fascinating stuff. I might be missing it, but I can't find a single mention of technology or science here: no sous vide, no pacojet, nothing. Indeed, the only mention of anything remotely scientific is metaphorical: the product's "gene," what might have been called its "essence" in previous decades.

This passage really brings out why Adria has quibbled with the phrase "avant garde." This doesn't describe a cutting edge; it is a return to the product.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Chris, you have to wait for the rest of the excerpts and see if you change your mind. Deconstruction and the first foam will expose a different side of El Bulli's cooking.

Kent, the dish is green asparagus with ceps, parmesan whey and macadamia nuts. The ceps (boletus edulis) are wrapping the asparagus in.

PedroEspinosa (aka pedro)

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There are some sixty varieties, and in each one there is a distinction between the mango (male), fibrous, smaller and tastier (usually used to make purees) and the manga (female) which, because it has a more pulpy texture, is easier to manipulate.

Great article which I enjoyed reading tremendously. Without meaning to detract anything from the article, I feel compelled to query the concept that there are male and female fruits, parts of flowers and plants yes, but fruits? Can someone more familiar with biology or botany shed light on this?

The misconception (if indeed it is one) may arise from a confusion over nomenclature - as far as I know the name of this fruit which is native to South Asia (Genus - Mangifera) originates from the Tamil word "mankay". The English derivative "mango" is in turn derived from the Portugese "manga". In Malay/Indonesian/Tagalog the word for mango is "mangga". As the article correctly points out, there is a huge variety of mangoes (more than 500 named varieties) and some types are more pulpy than others.

The Alphonso mango from India is an excellent example of the less pulpy variety and IMHO ranks far ahead of the "Tommy Atkins" variety found in most Western supermarkets.

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This excerpt provides some good insight into Ferran's Manifesto that he delivered at the recent Madrid Fusion Conference. In particular item #3 of the manifesto:

3- All products have the same gastronomic worth, regardless of price.

which appears to come directly from

This new perspective opened our eyes to the fact that every product, regardless of its price, is magnificent as long as it is of good quality, and can play a role as important as any other product. A young almond does not enjoy the same gourmet prestige as a Norway lobster in traditional terms, but we believe that both products have the same culinary value. So we decided that as far as we were concerned, a sardine was as important as a sea bass, or an artichoke as a truffle, and that what should govern our choices was sensibility, not price or prestige. This does not mean to say that we place little value on products that, like truffles, caviar or many others, we consider to be divine.
in the excerpt.

Cool stuff.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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That was a fun and informative read. Thanks for sharing it.

What fascinates me most when reading this is the amount of thought that goes into every dish, well actually every ingredient. It illustrates that what Adria et al are doing is not simply to wow the diners or to just use new techniques for the sake of novelty, as their critics usually say. There is an actual philosophy behind it and to me it can be summed by

A product should be touched, turned over, looked at from all angles

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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That was a fun and informative read. Thanks for sharing it.

What fascinates me most when reading this is the amount of thought that goes into every dish, well actually every ingredient. It illustrates that what Adria et al are doing is not simply to wow the diners or to just use new techniques for the sake of novelty, as their critics usually say. There is an actual philosophy behind it and to me it can be summed by

A product should be touched, turned over, looked at from all angles

This is what enthralls me about Ferran Adria, El Bulli and a few other like-minded and talented places. The restaurants cater to every aspect of one's soul. The food is delicious, beautiful, fun in a wonderful atmosphere. This certainly appeals to the hedonistic side of me. In addition, though, what sets El Bulli and a few other restaurants apart is the fact that so much thought goes into every aspect of the cuisine. It is food for the mind every bit as much as for the body.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Doc-

I agree with you all the way. how many restaurant meals have you had that you still talk/think about years later? It's been almost a year since my El Bulli visit and whenever I see fava beans, the first thing that comes to mind is my meal there! Manipulated though it might be, it is still all about the food. The fava bean dish alone highlights the line I quoted above and this excerpt in general. It had fava beans in four or five different permutations, all served together and all unforgetable.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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Great article which I enjoyed reading tremendously.  Without meaning to detract anything from the article, I feel compelled to query the concept that there are male and female fruits, parts of flowers and plants yes, but fruits?  Can someone more familiar with biology or botany shed light on this?

I quite enjoyed the article.

I'm only passingly familiar with El Bulli, and expected to find its concepts much more alien. I'm really looking forward to reading more.

RE: Fruit & Sex, I think this is a nomenclature thing from languages with feminine and masculine articles. I remember Mario Batali once saying on his TV show that, in Italy, Fennel bulbs of a certain shape were considered masculine and of another shape were feminine. Yes, the rounder ones were female.

The vast majority of flowering plants have both "male" and "female" parts on their flowers, so it's kind of silly, from a botanical perspective, to call them one or the other.

I suppose, if you really wanted to anthropomorphize your fruit, all fruiting bodies would be considered "female", since they generally arise from the "female" parts of the flower.

Aside from Saffron and fennel pollen, I can't think of many examples where the "male" part of the flower is even eaten.

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Great article which I enjoyed reading tremendously.  Without meaning to detract anything from the article, I feel compelled to query the concept that there are male and female fruits, parts of flowers and plants yes, but fruits?  Can someone more familiar with biology or botany shed light on this?

. . . . .

RE: Fruit & Sex, I think this is a nomenclature thing from languages with feminine and masculine articles.

. . . . .

Quite possibly: in Spanish, for instance, peaches and plantains have a masculine gender while oranges and apples have a feminine gender.

PedroEspinosa (aka pedro)

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RE:  Fruit & Sex, I think this is a nomenclature thing from languages with feminine and masculine articles.  I remember Mario Batali once saying on his TV show that, in Italy, Fennel bulbs of a certain shape were considered masculine and of another shape were feminine.  Yes, the rounder ones were female.

Beyond the masculine or feminine determinants of the articles in certain languages, there are vegetables that are considered (based on their individual shapes or some other defining feature as you mention with fennel) masculine or feminine.

Eggplant is another example. The "sex" is determined based upon the bottom of the eggplant where the bud would have been before falling off. If the eggplant is more flat there it is one sex, more indented another. It is also believed that one sex is more full of seeds than the other, and the other more solid and meaty.

:biggrin: I really don't mind seeds in my eggplants, so I can not remember which is supposed to be which. Perhaps someone else will chime in on this. . .

Really I don't know whether this is folklore or "real". :wink: Either way, it makes the world a more interesting place. :smile:

Edited to add this link: Sex and Eggplants

Edited by Carrot Top (log)
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This is fascinating stuff. I might be missing it, but I can't find a single mention of technology or science here: no sous vide, no pacojet, nothing. Indeed, the only mention of anything remotely scientific is metaphorical: the product's "gene," what might have been called its "essence" in previous decades.

I've just checked on the translation I did of this book (back in October-November 2004) and don't worry: there is plenty of technology and science there!!

Martin Douch

(English translator of the El Bulli books)

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RE:  Fruit & Sex, I think this is a nomenclature thing from languages with feminine and masculine articles.  I remember Mario Batali once saying on his TV show that, in Italy, Fennel bulbs of a certain shape were considered masculine and of another shape were feminine.  Yes, the rounder ones were female.

Beyond the masculine or feminine determinants of the articles in certain languages, there are vegetables that are considered (based on their individual shapes or some other defining feature as you mention with fennel) masculine or feminine.

Eggplant is another example. The "sex" is determined based upon the bottom of the eggplant where the bud would have been before falling off. If the eggplant is more flat there it is one sex, more indented another. It is also believed that one sex is more full of seeds than the other, and the other more solid and meaty.

:biggrin: I really don't mind seeds in my eggplants, so I can not remember which is supposed to be which. Perhaps someone else will chime in on this. . .

Really I don't know whether this is folklore or "real". :wink: Either way, it makes the world a more interesting place. :smile:

Edited to add this link: Sex and Eggplants

Thanks Pedro, thanks Karen. Checked out the site and hv done a bit more asking around. Its folklore and not rooted in Science. I am not familiar with Spanish but apparently Spanish and other latinate languages assign a feminine or masculine descriptor to nouns. Is this correct? If this is so then I begin to understand how sex and gender can be attributed to objects even fruit. :rolleyes:

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I am not familiar with Spanish but apparently Spanish and other latinate languages assign a feminine or masculine descriptor to nouns.  Is this correct?  If this is so then I begin to understand how sex and gender can be attributed to objects even fruit.  :rolleyes:

Many do. English escapes this gender curse or pleasure (however one wants to look at it). Our eggplants are just eggplants. :wink:

But in any language, it is a pleasure to read Adria on food and to consider the ways in which he shapes it. :smile:

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Plant gender is not folklore, at least not entirely. It's not simple, either, or universal; but it is well-recognized and documented. A few links for your perusal:

Plant Facts

Gender comparison in cannabis sativa (Gender is all-important in pot growing, apparently...)

And for further study, if you're truly obsessive... Gender and Sexual Dimorphism in Flowering Plants

“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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Was the translation particularly challenging, Martin?

Ufff! It was such a long time ago, I can't remember! Seriously though, if by challenging you mean difficult, then it's probably not quite the right word. Fascinating and absorbing, yes. 1994-1997 was a highly creative period in the life of elBulli, a period when much of its philosophy was being developed. This factor alone made the translation of the book great fun, although I think the book I had most fun translating was the one that came out after this one - elBulli 1983-1993 - which traces the history of the establishment from its early days as a beach kiosk in 1961 under the Schillings to the time Ferrà and Juli Soler took it over in 1990 and the building of the new kitchen in 1993.

Also completed is the English translation of elBulli 2003-2004.

Best wishes,

Martin

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According to Juli Soler, the volume 2003-2004, which from a design point of view takes El Bulli books a higher level, would be the next to appear in the other languages by the half of 2006, without having a date yet for the 1983-93 volume.

In a meeting I had with Juli at the Taller at Carme, he showed me how they were already working in the 2005 book, among other things.

PedroEspinosa (aka pedro)

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In a meeting I had with Juli at the Taller at Carme, he showed me how they were already working in the 2005 book, among other things.

I had no idea they were working on a 2005 volume. I recently obtained the 2003-2004 and they are absolutely awesome. I am puzzled on how they could top this latest effort.

I am not surprised that they are going for the 2003-2004 translations first (as opposed to the 1983-1993. I am under the impression that the reception on the first volume has been lukewarm compared to the others.

Arley Sasson

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  • 2 weeks later...

Amazing stuff here. Goes to show that the most avant garde cooking still has to come form the basic love of ingredients. I love the idea that an artichoke is as valuable as a truffle. Can't wait for more!

food has it over sex for variety

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I come to this site seldom. After a long absence, and then reading this impossible gush about El Bulli (I always start singing "Wolly Bully" in my head every time I hear "El Bulli," that helps offset some of the pretentiousness), I'm reminded why my visits are so infrequent.

Perhaps the worst thing is that, in writing about Wooly Bully, the English language becomes so bastardized, so devoid of the real meaning of words. And no, an almond is not equivalent in importance to, say, a strip steak. Foam is also not the way to get at the essence of a dish, unless we're perhaps talking about milk shakes.

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Regarding the fruit sex issue (which is a title impossible to ignore), isn't the sex related to the plant and not the fruit? By definition the fruit is an ovary, a seed surrounded by a "womb". My food science wife grossed out a nephew eating an apple once with this bit of information.

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