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CHAPTER 6

CULINARY RESOURCES EXPLAINED IN DETAIL

Food products: the starting point for the culinary equation

We now consider the food products that we use for cooking – which we may call simply ‘products’ – with the understanding that they are the prime and essential resources without which no other resources can be applied. The culinary equation starts with these. To make this easier to understand, we observe what types of product exist and create a basic system of classification for them.

 

Once you can imagine how to cook a product, what do you need? The tool that allows you to do it!

The invention and design of a tool was what first allowed humans to observe and transform available products. Since then, tools have continued to evolve as resources; they have become indispensable and increased in number and variety hand in hand with the evolution of cuisine.

 

Without technique, no product or tool can be of any use; technique is an essential resource for cooking

None of the above would make any sense, and it could not be called ‘cooking’, without the techniques which, applied with a tool to a product, end up making the culinary equation possible. Thousands of techniques exist, as many as there are elaborations. We focus here on understanding them better as culinary resources.

 

Going beyond fire and heat, we need energy in order to cook

There are many methods of cooking; whichever one we use, we require energy, which comes from different sources and in different forms. Don’t make the mistake of associating energy only with heat, and heat only with the cooking of food. There is a very broad range of possibilities.

 

What energy sources are used in cooking?

We focus on all the possible sources of energy we know and analyse their presence in cooking.

 

What forms of energy are used for cooking?

We complete the subject of energy by analysing the ways in which it is manifested (often by being transformed) and how cooks use it to ‘elaborate’ or produce.

 

The time we spend cooking is a necessary resource, but also a quantity that dictates how cooking is done

Time has a dual role in cuisine: it is absolutely necessary as an indicator, but it also an essential resource. Depending on the time of day (indicator), we cook one elaboration or another, but also depending on the time available for cooking (resource), we decide what to cook and how to cook it.

 

Cooking in the private and in the public spheres: similarities and differences between the two great culinary scenarios

Considering location as a factor that can mark substantial differences between one cuisine and another leads us to speak of two major spheres, the private (the cradle of cuisine) and the public (encompassing the fine-dining sector).

 

The term ‘kitchen’ refers to the space in which we cook and ‘cooker’ means the appliance used for cooking

Within the framework of the resources considered to this point, the kitchen is considered the space within a home or restaurant in which we find the cooker, a tool used for cooking.

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