We think a lot about “molecular gastronomy.” This is in large part because we are a giant nerd, and we like science, and we like the intersection of our day job (food) with our hobby (being a giant nerd), and we like being able to dropjaw our friends and loved ones by casually mentioning things like the Pacojet like it ain’t no thing. We mentioned recently to a friend that we have an upcoming reservation at Alinea and reveled almost as much in their stunned reaction to our description of Grant Achatz’s mechanisms as we are revelling in the gastronomic excitement that is sure to come.
We recognize the inherent absurdities of the genre, too, though we are inclined to come to its defense more than attack it if we encounter it in a dark alley. So it was with delight that we read Michael Nagrant’s meditation on nerd-friendly cuisine on HungryMag. Nagrant is a contributor to the Alinea cookbook (the same one being blogged by Carol Blymire), so he has an intimate, thoughtful take on this sort of concern:
When I’d first heard [the phrase “postmodern cooking], I thought the problem with some of postmodernism is that it often reinforces or mimics the alienation of the world, leaving us more cold and unsettled than we were before. Food at its worse has always been basic sustenance, and at its best, comfort and amusement for the soul. Combining postmodernism with culinary technique, it seemed to me, threatened these connections.
Of course, Nagrant’s thesis is that these connections are, rather than being threatened, in fact enhanced by pushing the boundaries of what’s considered “cooking,” what’s considered “presentation,” even what’s considered “food.” Read up.
[Image via Achewood]