With the dietary landscape continually shifting to include new trends and recommendations, it can appear a confusing task trying to sort between what is unsubstantiated fashion and what is actually practical advice.
While the gastronomic cuisine is an established phrase, its original concept has been obscured behind a barrage of contemporary advertising and promotion leaving many people unsure as to what it actually defines.
While the word gastronomy has recently been hijacked by chefs and restaurants looking to refresh their personal branding, the term actually has a much deeper meaning which underlies an important aspect of our relationship with food.
It is the link between several aspects of our diet, from the content and balance of nutrients in a meal to the way in which this is served. Encompassing what sustenance our bodies require and how this is best delivered, it also includes the way in which we cultivate individual ingredients and is the common thread which connects our every interaction with the food in our lives.
This branch of food science also dates back much further than recent trends suggest, with studies being dated back a far as the mid-1800’s. However, any question and consideration we make towards the effect of what we consume can arguably be placed under this term. This means that since man first considered which berries are safe to eat and how meat can be prepared, we have actively applied gastronomic thinking into our everyday lives.
What it entails
A gastronomist studies food science to provide not just a dish which delights the senses, but also something which can substantially improve the nutritional value of our food intake to provide a healthier overarching diet.
Because it is such a broad term, this includes everything from agricultural techniques used to produce food including GM manipulation, the use of pesticides and fertilizers, and the methods of harvesting, through to the way in which we process these food sources to achieve the best possible product.
While the common perception of creating food in interesting and appealing ways is true, another important aspect of this culinary science is the study into how our bodies absorb and digest the food we eat and how we can match the energy and nutrient needs of our bodies with the times and meals that we eat.
Mixing science with sociology, history, economics, biology, and cultural differences, it is a safe assumption that there are many facets to this increasingly popular term.
Much of the modern attention in gastronomic cuisine focuses on a small subsection known as molecular gastronomy. This is a relatively new discipline which has experienced a booming surge of interest due to its involvement of innovative ideas and general food experimentation.
Much like Nouvelle cuisine which came before it, molecular gastronomy is a self-styled variation of new cooking styles and while it is quite rightly regarded as a modern style of cooking, it often exposes old techniques as the most suitable approach to use.
Therefore, the appropriate way to think of this specific field of gastronomy is a method of researching the changes which undergo food as it’s processed through cooking, both physically and chemically.
Therefore, it concerns itself with comparing the various different techniques and styles of food preparation within the three commonly accepted areas of cooking, which are:
While Molecular Gastronomy serves an important role in making good food interesting again, it can still be perceived as an elitist pursuit which is out of the reach of a working-class budget. While many of the leading names in this movement use equipment and techniques which are not suitable for an everyday family kitchen, there is still a lot of things which we can take from this area of food preparation.
Putting it all together
With Gastronomy as a whole, it can be difficult to encapsulate everything together due to the expansiveness of this far-reaching concept.
From the experimental and sensory way in which we interact with our meals through to the food manufacturing industries, the government policies which affect all aspects of the food chain, and back down to the grass roots of urban farming, each small area plays an important role in its own right and should be respectfully regarded accordingly.
Further, then treating these components individually, it should be noted that they’re all ultimately linked and that affecting one aspect can, therefore, have consequences on the others. Whether this is in the way a plant is nurtured to produce an ingredient of higher quality to enhance the dining experience or in the way that cooking styles and favored ingredients will affect demand on the supply of certain food types.
In treating these food chains as the linked systems which they are, we can then begin to move the way in which we consider our dietary needs forward and evolve these processes surrounding this into a position of support. Whether you work on a farm or in a kitchen, or simply create your own cooking vlogs, understanding the wider implications around your field will help fit your part of the puzzle into place.
Under the whole umbrella of terms and fields of specialty which lie beneath the turn of phrase that is gastronomic cuisine, there’s a multitude of different benefits which we’re able to take away from this line of thought.
Whether it’s applied in the context of creating a nutritional diet to enhance the attributes of a sports team, assist with the medicinal and healing treatments of patients or used to tailor a suitable menu for school lunches, there are very defined end targets which we can see and focus upon.
To achieve this, we need to study much more than simply the creation of a menu or a list of ingredients to form a suitable recipe, we need to take a holistic approach to every stage of the process from seed or pond to plate and digestion. In doing so, we will reap more benefits than those gained from any individual area.
While combining all of these elements together is a tall order, becoming more aware of the whole chain which links them and growing this understanding can help small steps be taken in the right direction. This can then lead to a bespoke and regulated diet which will help the human body function more effectively both physically and mentally.
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