Molecular Gastronomy: the rebirth of a passing fad
What is molecular gastronomy?
Molecular gastronomy is a modern style of cooking that takes social, artistic and technical elements into account. Although formally defined in 1988, “molecular gastronomy” goes by many names (e.g. modernist cuisine, progressive cuisine, multi-sensory cooking and experimental cuisine) to avoid sounding too pretentious. This avant-garde form of cuisine takes a scientific approach to cooking and results in creative food innovations meant to surprise and delight the senses. Ever have a spoonful of apple-flavored foam, or bite into transparent ravioli? These are just a couple foods made possible with this science-based method. Some of the more popular techniques of molecular gastronomy use:
- liquid nitrogen (e.g. dragon’s breath) or dry ice (e.g. Vegas bowl)
- carbon dioxide bubbles (think Pop Rocks)
- foams (to add light textures or flavor without density; e.g. cloud eggs)
- gels (to add flavor and visual accents)
- spherification (to make liquid-filled spheres/pearls/caviar)
- syringes (to inject foods with unexpected flavors)
- edible papers and inks (Edible menus anyone?)
- anti-griddles (to flash freeze food)
nationwide (U.S.): “popping boba” toppings at Yogurtland📷: Yogurtland on Facebook
Chicago, IL: pretty much everything at Alinea 📷: Alinea on Facebook
Although it can seem intimidating, it is possible to make your own meals using molecular gastronomy techniques. Even if you’re a complete novice, all it takes to get started is this molecular gastronomy kit and some experimentation. Have fun!