Someone asks me how to begin learning with note by note cooking? The answer is given in my book "Note by Note Cooking" (Columbia University Press), but I feel that it would be useful to give some information here.
Let's begin with a simple observation: food can be made of parts or can be only one piece, but this piece and the possible parts have :
- a shape
- freshness, pungency...
Accordingly, it is a good advice de plan theoritically, in advance, the various aspects.
Moreover, it is always good to design first the consistency, and then decide for the other aspects.
Let us begin with one simple example: the dish called "dirac", which is indeed an artificial meat.
1. The consistency will be obtained by 3 parts (spoon, for example) of proteins, and 7 parts of water.
2. If this dough was cooked in a frying pan, it would make like a hard pancake. Obviously, something is missing : fat (remember that meats includes a lot of hidden fat).
3. In the previous dough, let's add 1 or 2 parts of oil (triglycerides). If you cook now, the consistency is much better.
4. Of course, the fatty dough does not have much flavour. Let's add some monosodium glutamate (meaty taste), glucose (long taste sensation), salt (sodium chloride). Now the product has some taste.
5. Adding odorant compounds? This is easy, as these compounds are generally soluble in oil.
6. Freshness and punguncy: don't forget it. My friend the 3 star chef Emile Jung advises to make dishes with 1 part of violence ; 3 parts of strength ; 9 parts of softness. Here the violence can be given by a solution of piperin (the main pungency of black pepper), or a solution of capsaicin (the main pungency of chili), or allyl isothiocyanate (like in wasaby, or horseradish, or mustard)...
7. Don't forget the color: a tiny quantity of a colorant, or of a mixture of colorants (food quality), and it is done.
8. About nutrition ? You have here proteins, fats, sugars... but you could add some cellulose ("fibers"), or vitamins, for example.
9. Now you pour your dough in a frying pan, with high heat, and you get a dirac.
Easy, no ?