Science and technology continues to improve the way we experience the world around us. Sure, the argument could be made that technology can sometimes remove us from nature, but the things we create can help to improve the way we use our senses to connect with the natural world.
There is, perhaps, no better example of this, than the culinary Jabs Bar trend known as molecular gastronomy.
What is Molecular Gastronomy?
Molecular gastronomy is a culinary niche, a subdiscipline of food sciences that analyzes the physical and chemical properties of food. A term coined by the Oxford physicist Nicholas Kurti and a French INRA chemist name Herve This, this trend takes a scientific approach to cooking that aims to make eating more a multi-sensory experience. Of course, eating is more than taste. We eat with our eyes and what we taste, as a matter of fact, is a combination of taste buds as well as what we can smell. And, also, food has textures.
More importantly, though, molecular gastronomy attempts to analyze and develop dishes that isolate and combine the three recognized components of food culture: artistic, technical, and social.
The fundamentals objectives of molecular gastronomy are:
- investigate the culinary and digestive (gastronomical) proverbs
- exploring and distilling recipes
- introducing new tools and new ingredients
- combining these tools and ingredients with new methodologies
- inventing new dishes
- encourage increased public understanding of the scientific-culinary contribution to society, as a whole
This investigates the tenets of molecular gastronomy by asking questions like:
- How does varying the cooking methods alter ingredients?
- How does varying the cooking methods improve or alter textures and flavors
- How can we more effectively manipulate the senses to alter way we appreciate food?
- How does aroma influence flavor?
- How does the brain interpret signals from the sensory organs in order to inform what we call “flavor”?
- How do seemingly unrelated exterior influences also affect the way we experience food?
What is Molecular Mixology?
With this fundamental understanding of molecular gastronomy it is easier to understand the new trend known as molecular mixology. Basically, molecular mixology adopts many of the tenets and theories of molecular gastronomy and applies it to beverages; and, more intimately, alcoholic beverages. This includes techniques like “spherification” which slightly solidifies a liquid so it resembles small spheres, like peas or caviar.