The FUTURE in American Cuisine by: Vincent Guerrero

18 12 2008

Within the last fifty years, American cuisine has changed in leaps and bounds. With the addition of readily available culinary knowledge, via Julia Child, and improvements in the type, quantity, and quality of available ingredients, we’ve seen not only American cuisine but Americans’ knowledge of cuisine explode.

But the question is this. Now that we know where it came from, can we know where it is going? With the plethora of new styles and techniques of preparing and cooking food, can we know where American food is going?

To know for sure, I think the answer is a resounding no.

But this is where I think it is going.

From the small amount of time I’ve spent at school, listening to instructors and students alike talking about new and fascinating restaurants and trends, this is my take on the history of American cuisine.

One of the styles growing like wildfire is what is commonly known as molecular gastronomy. That title doesn’t quite define what the style of food is though. According to Dictionary.com, molecular gastronomy is:  the application or study of scientific principles and practices in cooking and food preparation. But the style known as molecular gastronomy seems, at least to me, to be the use of a scientific knowledge of chemicals, tools, and processes to manipulate food in ways that that food couldn’t, under other circumstances, be manipulated.

That may be a bad definition, but it seems to make sense to me.

 Molecular Gastronomy has taken a strong foothold in the American mind, and for good reason. It is so different than anything most people are familiar with. It’s new and fascinating. It’s colorful. It also takes real skill and knowledge to pull of correctly, and some of the world’s best restaurants practice these techniques regularly. They are constantly pushing the envelope to try and find new techniques and processes to achieve new end products.

But is the cuisine of the future going to be composed mostly of foams, airs, and ice that melts warm in your mouth?

I think not. People love meat and potatoes too much.

I think that American cuisine, like all things American, will be a melting pot of different styles and cuisines, into something that is unique in its own way. I think that “molecular gastronomy” will continue to play a big role in our cuisine, but I don’t think it will remain how in its current state forever. I think that most things move to simplicity, and I don’t consider food any different. I think that in the future, chefs will use modern scientific technique to prepare simple, yet perfectly executed food. I think that a marriage between these two seemingly opposing styles is inevitable.

And I can’t wait to see it.

Of course, I am no oracle. I can’t see the future, and all of this could be absolutely wrong. But looking at our history, and that of other countries who are far and away older than us, I think this is a likely outcome. 

Vincent Guerrero

 

 

 

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