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Molecular Gastronomy: Shhhh!… Don’t Say That Out Loud!

By Dylan Rogers | September 2, 2011

Photo: Garrett Ziegler

What is “molecular gastronomy“?  First off, careful who you say that to, and never call anyone of the food community a molecular gastronomist.  They might brand your chest with a giant, scarlet “MG” letting everyone know your mistake. But what kind of witch craft could cause such a reaction?

Well, it should be easy enough to figure out, right?  Gastro deals with the digestive system.  Astronomy is the study of the stars.  At one point in time astronomy was connected with astrology where the stars divulge the meaning in our lives. Molecular Gastronomy is then the study of our gastro-intestinal make-up that provides a map to our true selves. I’m guessing that a molecular gastronomist then must be a skilled, clairvoyant shaman that can read your future through your gastro-molecular constellations. “Just right of your bellybutton, you’ll notice your Gastric Taurus is rising.”

In fact, molecular gastronomy is nothing of the sort. It literally means cooking, or the chemical changing of food through temperature shifts causing differences in flavor and texture. But more recently, it refers to amazing technological innovations in the food world.

Ferran Adria, the master chef of the restaurant El Bulli, created a martini roughly the size, shape, and consistency of an olive. It is a spherical “gel-capsule filled with olive juice and vodka or gin that bursts in your mouth. Other creations include banana jelly with nutella powder, mango ravioli, shrimp noodles, and chili-cheese nachos that taste like dessert.

The fact is that chefs detest the term molecular gastronomy. It connotes a scientific coldness and distance to something that they passionately love and are intimately involved in. It is like calling an art two-dimensional ocular- subterfuge (all the romance right out the window).

Though I will attempt to remove “The MG Word” from my vocabulary, I cannot help but discretely move to the edge of my seat in anticipation of the next invention. I am hoping for a steak that tastes like chocolate pudding and gummy bears or a cappuccino that tastes like a meat and bean burrito. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

 

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