Pretentious Pretend food for the rich and bored

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  • #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.

Molecular Gastronomy:

In the late 1980's, Adria began performing cooking experiments which would forever change El Bulli's place in culinary history. Adria's experiments are often associated with Molecular Gastronomy, the application of science to culinary practices and cooking phenomena. His creations are designed to surprise and enchant his guests but the importance of taste is always the ultimate goal.

Culinary Foam & the Future:

He is best known for creating "culinary foam", which is now used by chefs around the world. Culinary foam consists of natural flavors (sweet or savory) mixed with a natural gelling agent. The mixture is placed in a whipped cream canister where the foam is then forced out with the help of nitrous oxide.

In keeping with the creative goals of El Bulli, the restaurant closes for six month each year during which time Adria travels for inspiration and performs experiments and perfects recipes in his culinary lab, El Taller.

In 2006, after many years as number 2, El Bulli moved to the top spot in Restaurant magazine's list of best restaurants in the world. Still a young man (44), we can expect to see many more great things from Ferran Adria. They will most undoubtedly be unexpected yet wonderful things.
Riight.

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

I want to pay $100 for beet root vapor. :surprised
 

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  • #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.
 
  • #3
Evo
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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.
:rofl: No, I haven't.

I don't mind paying for good food, I don't think I could pay for foam and vapor.
 
  • #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?
 
  • #5
Evo
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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?
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.
 
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  • #6
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This is something to try out a couple of times, not live off. Artificial flavors can taste better than real food.
 
  • #7
Evo
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Here is an example.

 
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  • #8
Math Is Hard
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Here is an example.



At least there's some kitty grass on the tables for appetizers. nom nom nom
 
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  • #9
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Here is an example.



Culinary world gone mad.
 
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  • #10
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I'm a bit alarmed by the trend in creating something that tastes like food, but is not food.

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...
 
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  • #11
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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:
 
  • #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"?
 
  • #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.
 
  • #14
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At least there's some kitty grass on the tables for appetizers. nom nom nom
Ahahahah!
 
  • #15
Evo
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Where did you get the idea that there are "restaurants that only serve non-food"?
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?
 
  • #16
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we need more pretend food for the obese.
 
  • #17
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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.

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.
 
  • #18
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Wasn't this a subplot in "Good Omens" by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman?
 
  • #19
lisab
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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.

Was it "https://www.amazon.com/dp/0060938455/?tag=pfamazon01-20"?
 
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  • #20
russ_watters
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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?
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.
 
  • #21
lisab
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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:

I've never eaten pretentious pretend food. But I have eaten at restaurants that sell real food, and employ pretentious people who pretend to be wait staff.
 
  • #22
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I've never eaten pretentious pretend food. But I have eaten at restaurants that sell real food, and employ pretentious people who pretend to be wait staff.
:rofl:
 
  • #23
turbo
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I've never eaten pretentious pretend food. But I have eaten at restaurants that sell real food, and employ pretentious people who pretend to be wait staff.
When some kid comes up to your table in a white shirt and black pants and says "I'll be your server tonight" it's hard not to say "Duh!" When he comes back later with a pepper-mill the size of a wine-bottle, and wants to carefully meter the ground pepper onto your meal, he should get another demerit. Do snooty pretentious people get bigger tips?
 
  • #24
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I would love it if

- they are cheaper
- have more nutritional value (even of things that I don't prefer to eat)

than the real food
 
  • #26
chroot
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I listened to a public radio program this weekend (IIRC), on which someone called for the creation of a device. The device would be programmed with information about its user, such as his/her weight and lifestyle. The device would be used to scan barcodes at a supermarket, and would then tell the user whether or not it was okay to eat the item.

Modern people have been growing, catching, and eating food for many thousands of years, depending upon exquisite senses to know which foods are healthy and which aren't. But... we now live in a world of incredible luxury and excess, our food created as if by magic and delivered to us under plastic wrap and in colorful boxes covered with cartoon mascots. Instead of trying to reverse this trend, our scientists want us to completely off-load our entire understanding of food to some machine that we must carry with us at all times.

Is that concept as disgusting to everyone else as it is to me?

- Warren
 
  • #27
Evo
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I listened to a public radio program this weekend (IIRC), on which someone called for the creation of a device. The device would be programmed with information about its user, such as his/her weight and lifestyle. The device would be used to scan barcodes at a supermarket, and would then tell the user whether or not it was okay to eat the item.

Modern people have been growing, catching, and eating food for many thousands of years, depending upon exquisite senses to know which foods are healthy and which aren't. But... we now live in a world of incredible luxury and excess, our food created as if by magic and delivered to us under plastic wrap and in colorful boxes covered with cartoon mascots. Instead of trying to reverse this trend, our scientists want us to completely off-load our entire understanding of food to some machine that we must carry with us at all times.

Is that concept as disgusting to everyone else as it is to me?

- Warren
It's depressing. Heaven forbid that people be held accountable for their choices of what and how much they eat and if they exercise.

But how would the machine know that if I buy 5 pounds of beef that I'm not feeding 12 people? Or that I am freezing it in small portions to be prepared in a number of meals?

I did rather like the idea that people ordering at restaurants be required to do so standing in front of full length mirrors while a scale announces their weight via the public address system. I know that would make me think twice about ordering that fried food special weighing 3 pounds. :tongue2:
 
  • #28
Wasn't this a subplot in "Good Omens" by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman?

Yes, I believe Famine was making food without calories or some such.
 

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