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Pretentious Pretend food for the rich and bored

  1. Apr 26, 2009 #1

    Evo

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    I'm a bit alarmed by the trend in creating something that tastes like food, but is not food.

    There are actually restaurants that only serve non-food. :bugeye:

    These people go to incredible lengths to create items that smell and taste like real food, but don't actually have any substance or nutritive value. I can't tell you how proud this makes me. A world faced with hunger and malnutrition and we have people spending obscene amounts of money to experience something that merely mimicks food.

    Riight.

    http://gourmetfood.about.com/od/chefbiographi2/p/ferranadriabio.htm

    I want to pay $100 for beet root vapor. :surprised
     
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  3. Apr 26, 2009 #2

    Math Is Hard

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    Ever go to La Colombe D'or in Houston? I had a teeny-tiny, insanely expensive meal there once.

    We stopped for Mickey D's on the way home.
     
  4. Apr 26, 2009 #3

    Evo

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    :rofl: No, I haven't.

    I don't mind paying for good food, I don't think I could pay for foam and vapor.
     
  5. Apr 26, 2009 #4

    Moonbear

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    Some of the food actually looks pretty interesting. http://gourmetfood.about.com/od/chefbiographi2/ig/The-Food-of-El-Bulli/

    I'm not sure where you got the idea it's not nutritious. I don't see anything there to suggest it isn't, just that it plays with things like texture in addition to flavor. Maybe you heard something somewhere else to suggest it's not nutritious?
     
  6. Apr 26, 2009 #5

    Evo

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    No, it's not just texture. It's using artificial ingredients to mimic food. How nutritious can a teaspoon of foam be? Or vapor? There is basically no food there. The idea is to ''imitate" the taste and smell of real food.

    I've watched these people making these things for a couple of years now.

    Powders, alginates... i'll find videos to show you. My connection is really slow, so be patient.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2009
  7. Apr 26, 2009 #6
    This is something to try out a couple of times, not live off. Artificial flavors can taste better than real food.
     
  8. Apr 26, 2009 #7

    Evo

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    Here is an example.

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  9. Apr 26, 2009 #8

    Math Is Hard

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    At least there's some kitty grass on the tables for appetizers. nom nom nom
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  10. Apr 26, 2009 #9
    Culinary world gone mad.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  11. Apr 26, 2009 #10
    Kinda like this stuff. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diet_Coke" [Broken]

    Hmm. Remind me to ask if I could find a Diet Coke, instead of a regular Coke next time I visit the slums of Guatemala...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  12. Apr 26, 2009 #11
    At the level of El Bulli, food becomes an art and experience more than a focus on sustenance. The whole "World full of Malnutrition" argument and misuse of resources is kind of moot when you consider what goes into the resources of a painter, sculptor, or musician. In fact, you could argue that anyone who eats anything other than basic combinations of vegetation that are locally grown are indirectly killing their fellow man. After all, the energy and resources saved by eating corn and beans, or tofu and and rice, or insects and wheat could be used to fund programs that feed the starving.

    While I haven't been to El Bulli, I did plan a week vacation around (and flew cross-country) to eat at The French Laundry last year. Crazy? Well, to some people food is an important form of Art - one that encompasses a basic need and is lifted to levels going far beyond that need. Similar things can be said for clothing and a fashion show in Milan, or shelter and Architecture.

    Texture is very important in good cooking - even with something as simple as rice or bread. The cool thing about El Bulli is that it focuses on altering the textures of the familiar. Think of Charlie and The Chocolate Factory with it's lick-able wallpaper, chocolate rivers, roast beef chewing gum, and fizzy lifting drink. Most cooking methods we use today are utilized for texture. You could eat a raw diet, but most people prefer the altered physical states of their food. Iced cream, fall-apart tender roasts, crisp-skinned roast chicken with a juicy interior, pasta/dumplings/bread rather than flour and water porridge, etc.

    The fact that Adria actively explores and uses science to further his understanding of texture makes me even more excited about future possibilities. For instance, minimizing the size of crystals in ice cream by quickly freezing using liquid nitrogen (making it ultra-smooth without the use of chemicals), or using various gelling agents (found naturally in a less concentrated form) to make hundreds of apple-flavored caviar - gelled apple juice that pops in your mouth with a liquid center.

    While I'm one who buys few processed foods, there are some processed goods I buy for the textural stimulation - seltzer and panko bread crumbs to name a couple. I don't mind using chemistry in my cooking - so long as it's not used as a means to replicate or cheapen a process or ingredient than can be had in a more pure or natural form. Artificial flavored and/or thickened jam for instance. I buy from a local farm that reduces a couple pounds of strawberries and a couple tablespoons of sugar down into just a few ounces of jam - no added pectin or red 40. It's as thick as any pectin-thickened jam you will find at the grocery store (or even most co-op and Whole Food establishments). On the other hand, every now and then I'll get a pack of strawberry pop-rocks... :tongue2:
     
  13. Apr 27, 2009 #12

    russ_watters

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    Ok, but it doesn't say anywhere in any of what you've linked that these restaurants don't serve actual food. One of the main features in the YouTube link was an actual pancake with actual maple syrup.

    Where did you get the idea that there are "restaurants that only serve non-food"?
     
  14. Apr 27, 2009 #13
    I believe that the non-food items are usually used to compliment real food. I remember one of the contestants on Top Chef was infamous for making foams in just about meal he produced lol. All the other chefs were eventually graoning and rolling their eyes every time he pulled out another foam.
     
  15. Apr 27, 2009 #14
    Ahahahah!
     
  16. Apr 27, 2009 #15

    Evo

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    DC's "Mini Bar" is a good example. The "food" is created, not for sustenance, but for entertainment. The goal of this type of "food" is to use various chemicals to take actual food and create tastes and smells that "remind" you of the original food, with hopefully more of a "bang", or somehow modify it into something "different". Non-food is my take on it. I guess you could call it "entertainment food". The place only sits 6 people and they only take reservations from the person that phones in at exactly 10am, 30 days prior to the day they want to be there. The whole thing is a gimmick, a pricey gimmick, but different strokes for different folks, eh?
     
  17. Apr 27, 2009 #16
    we need more pretend food for the obese.
     
  18. Apr 27, 2009 #17
    Reminds me of this book my daughter brought home last year, but dangit if I can't remember the name of the book! It talked about all the chemicals they add to food to make the texture better, taste better, smell better, etc. Like the fact that they basically "shellac" cereal so that it doesn't get soggy in milk, what makes McDonalds french fries so good, etc. It was disgusting. Much of it I knew, some was new, some was revolting.
     
  19. Apr 27, 2009 #18
    Wasn't this a subplot in "Good Omens" by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman?
     
  20. Apr 27, 2009 #19

    lisab

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    Was it "https://www.amazon.com/Fast-Food-Nation-Dark-All-American/dp/0060938455""?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  21. Apr 27, 2009 #20

    russ_watters

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    Ok, and I agree overly expensive restaurants are mostly a gimmick, but wht I got out of your first post was that if you go to one of these places, you need to eat dinner when you get home.

    Personally, though, I don't care if my cherry coke contains any actual cherries, if my Doritos contain any actual cheese, or if my breath mints have any calories.
     
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