Molecular gastronomy- already outdated in a food culture with an ever-shortening attention span- was known for deconstructing dishes and presenting them anew as foams; solids as liquids; cubes as spheres; cold as hot and vice-versa. But all that required complicated cooking techniques and expensive equipment. When we can now genetically-engineer an industrial tomato to taste like an heirloom, how long will it be before we can grow plants and animals as foams, spheres, liquids, or simultaneously hot and cold?
Let’s hope the growing (pun intended) interest in local, seasonal, organic and sustainable agriculture can hold our attention awhile and resist the allure of technology. Let’s keep food slow, and keep it real!
Here’s an excerpt from a dystopian restaurant scene in Fourth World:
“Welcome to H,” said the menu, pronouncing the letter “ahhhsh” in a langorous, caressing way. “Tonight’s special is the ‘Tout Not Sashimi’, a crudo mousse translated from the recombined genes of three extinct species: Pacific tuna, Monterey cypress, and arctic walrus. We are also featuring the rare Atlantic codling, where Chef Hubert cooks a recently living fish. Farmed off the low-mercury coastline of the Greenland District, our codling is spin-poached in a bold, yet contemplative, bath of piscine neurotransmitters and herbal amino acids, garnished with just a soupcon of white Eurovin foam.”
“Eurovin foam?” Cira was aghast. “But Eurovin’s not even made from grapes! It’s a fermentation product of recombinant seaweed.”
“So? Seaweed goes with fish.” The menu had dropped its accent, and now sounded like someone from New Jersey. “You want wine made from grapes? Try the Quarantine Zone!”
“Menu, read only.”