Gastronomic Cocktail

There are questions that have no answers, but still must be asked. Not simply for vain pseudo-intellectual appearances, which we humans are so inclined to fall victim to, but rather simply and honestly because they make us think and reflect. This is the case in trying to guess the future of flavor, as if flavor had one single future… Infinite possibilities exist.
The word that best defines the apex of gastronomy is “immaculateness”. Of course, the tools we use and the simple techniques that are employed can determine different outcomes within this notion of immaculateness. A red prawn, to use a universal example, changes substantially if we boil it compared to when we grill it, but without altering its immaculateness. Another variable that we must consider relative is when we cook the prawn for one or five minutes, whatever the technique might be, we will obtain results that are different in flavor, texture and even color. What is immaculateness then? An easily definable concept that changes with time, something transitory, and moreover it can have multiple interpretations in every time period.
No one, a priori, argues about immaculateness, just like no one, a priori, argues about purity.
Of course we might wonder, “Does a true, full, natural palatal experience exist?” Yes, obviously, but not 100%. Cuisine in itself transforms the nature of things, their purity… their immaculateness. As soon as man intervenes with criteria and a process, regardless of how simple it might be, he transforms the product, preserving certain intrinsic qualities in different ways. Grilled turbot is different than when it is boiled or braised. The distinct methods incite diverse reactions on the skin, among other elements in the fish.
The natural elements of products, their purity and their immaculateness have millions of interpretations. These include some processes that precede the preparation. Salt is a miracle. Isn’t salted cod better than fresh cod? The same can be said for the smoking technique. Smoked salmon continues to be the greatest culinary expression of that particular fish. Then we have cured products, the most glorious being cured ham.
Cuisine should be itself nature, purity and immaculateness; however, this axiom does have an exception. Better yet, millions of exceptions – millions of exceptions to be researched and developed. All of them are worthwhile as long as they exalt the ingredients being used… And that is the challenge: to intensify the delicacy and flavor of a product justifies certain losses in other aspects of the ingredient, if the end justifies the means.
The truly difficult thing with regard to this philosophy is to magnify already stellar products. The more delicate they are, the more difficult it is to improve. For instance, to make a white truffle smell better cooked than it does raw. To make a slice of Joselito ham taste better prepared than simply by itself: to reach culinary firmament. Culinary firmaments such as converting caviar into something superior to what it is in its natural form.
Truth doesn’t exist. Truths are temporary. They are so circumstantial that they are conditioned by “social realities and necessities”. Artificial eels will out live eels, caviar-like herring paste balls, crustacean-shaped surimi in the form of lobster, etc. Research will change our palates. Pudding has been implanted as a taste among children, along with other dairy products that have become our daily bread which are sold to us perfumed with “flavor enhancers”; products that are little by little transforming our appreciation of flavor, sometimes for better, sometimes for worse.
Anything goes if it improves the product. Even if the palate doesn’t have the capacity to notice the difference. When an ice cream is as delicious with frozen juices as it is with fresh fruit, when we can no longer notice that the pork cheeks have been pre-cooked and vacuum-packed, when a cod, injected and frozen, is superior to a traditionally salted one… that will be a most welcome day.
This discussion about flavor requires a synthesis.
May we let go of our prejudice. The gastronomic cocktail can produce brilliant exceptions. For now we only have Coca-Cola, and its drinkers to confirm it. But the future will be in plurality.