Food. It's something we all need to survive. As our species was blooming, food was not science nor art, it was survival. Hunting and gathering go back to the roots of humanity. But over time, our choice of cuisine was evolving with us. New dishes were being made into a myriad of tastes and sensations that we call "culinary arts". Food, over millions of years, has turned from a basic need into an art that satisfies the senses, a science which requires form and creativity, and a blossoming culture. This is the story of how our plates transformed into what they are today.
Explorers of the Plate
Through the centuries, many chefs and cooks have discovered many new interesting dishes, and not all were done on purpose. For example, the raisin. Long ago, it was said that the Egyptians found a grape vine in the baking sun, which shriveled the grapes. After, viticulture became an important part of Mediterranean culture, being used for cuisine, decor and as prizes for sporting matches. In time, it became a large part of Western cuisine, as well, migrating from Greece to Spain, Mexico and countless other countries. Another example is one of the most iconic foods to date: the potato chip. It was invented in 1853 by chef George Crum. An irritable customer complained of a potato being too soft, so the frustrated chef thinly sliced the potato and threw it in a fryer. Amazingly, this sarcastic and accidental dish became a mainstay for years to come. One of the most controversial food inventions was marmalade. It was believed that Scottish housewife Janet Keiller invented the bitter orange jam when her husband brought her Seville oranges, but marmalade had been an existing item far prior, though Janet did tweak the recipe into what it is today.
Yes, folks, you heard correctly. The culinary arts and science, particularly chemistry, overlap much more than one would think. In the past few decades, chefs have worked to pioneer a whole new road for cooking future: molecular gastronomy. Now, what on Earth could that be? It is when chefs use additives, agar agar and soy lecithin for example, to ascend the culinary experience to a whole new level. Pearls, foams and gels packed with enriching flavors and aromas are only some of the many things molecular cooking and mixology will add to the table
However, it wasn't always so complicated. In ancient China, Emperor Shen Nong was walking through his garden, when a leaf blew in his hot water. Impressed wit the taste, the Emperor introduced tea to the world. Centuries later, tea has become a plethora of flavors and mixtures, pioneered by brands like Celestial Seasonings.
Mario Batali is one acclaimed chef who changed history. With eleven published cookbooks and countless successful restaurants, Batali is one of the most renowned chefs in the world.
"Fusion cuisine" is when several different types of food fuse together to create something entirely new. Mediterranean and Asian are a popular combo. There are entire restaurants dedicated to fusion cuisine.