A Scientific World of Cooking- Post Modernist Cuisine
A Scientific World of Cooking- Post Modernist Cuisine
  • Reporter Chung Yu-sun
  • 승인 2013.03.20 23:34
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Ever tasted a sour yet mild pudding that looks like either fried eggs or caviar? This is a new type of food that can be found at fusion restaurants.
The term, molecular gastronomy, was first coined in 1992 by the Oxford physicist Nicholas Kurti and the French chemist Herve This. Molecular gastronomy, otherwise known as modernist cuisine, is a type of food science that takes account of physical and chemical properties of the ingredients to take a different approach from ordinary cooking. A further purpose of this new type of cuisine is to include social, artistic, and technical components in culinary activity. In this way, we can raise our cooking culture to a higher standard.
The cooking technique is both diverse and complex. One way is to physically mix a variety of ingredients or change the temperature to distort the appearance of the food. In most cases, however, chemical properties are used. When food is heated, chemical changes occur. Using this property, unique flavors that were not present in its natural form can be created.
Moreover, there are numerous ways to heat up food. It may be cooked, boiled, steamed, etc. Depending on how the food is heated, its taste, shape, color, and smell becomes completely different. Like charcoal grilled or smoked cuisine, through the smoke that arose from the fuel, new fragrance and taste can be added. In addition, the chemical substances in the food can be broken apart to create new ones.
If food is heated, more than 1000 types of different chemical substances are made. Surely, those substances are not all good for your health. During the process of cooking on the charcoal grill, or from the smoke, cancer-causing agent such as benzopyrene may arise from heating up the fat component of the ingredients.
Regardless of what we know, we do not have all the scientific knowledge about the culinary process. Because there are innumerably diverse chemical substances in natural ingredients, the chemical reactions that occur when heating the substances are extremely complex. Likewise, people considered the cultural aspect more than scientific knowledge when they cooked. In a foreign culture, the exotic recipe may become the trend.
Recipes are made throughout the years; thus, our traditional culture is smeared into them. It is important to realize this aspect, and to include it in molecular gastronomy.
 Reporter Chung Yu-sun
<Editor’s note> This is based on an article in the series ?cience World?by Professor Lee Duckhwan (physical chemistry, Sogang University).