The Future of Gourmet Food

     We have taken a journey through the history of various gourmet foods, exploring their origins, influences, and creators, while also focusing on some simple classics, such as spaghetti and meatballs and crepes. After covering hundreds of years of delicious foods, we have arrived at the modern day. Welcome to the age of acai bowl, sushi burritos, rainbow bagels, and trendy toast. Food has become a synonym of art rather than solely a source of energy. It is a form of expression of sentiment as well as a culmination of history and culture.
     We communicate, make connections, and transmit ideas through food, leaving a culinary trail that runs parallel to the evolution of our society. Our history, as well as that of our food, reflects a change from a once confined society with a strict set of social norms, to a very open and relaxed environment. As technology has advanced, so has our food accessibility. Personally, one of my favorite technological advances regarding food has to be Uber Eats. It’s every lazy foodie’s dream because right at your fingertips is an unlimited access to gourmet food. Can you imagine being able to enjoy a delicious, mouthwatering NY Strip Steak at 11:00 pm without even putting a pinky toe out of your comfortable home? You can also enjoy diverse meals with Indian, Italian, Mexican, French and Asian backgrounds. The only downside to Uber Eats is that the luxury of the dining experience is lost. However, this is a small price to pay when compared to the limitless opportunities available for enjoying a food for almost any occasion. For me, as a die hard sushi aficionado, ordering a couple of sushi rolls when I have a night of intense studying ahead of me is not only a guilty pleasure but a necessary reward that would be impossible without Uber Eats.
     In our modern society, we take the luxury of food accessibility and being able to choose our diet off preference for granted. Our accessibility to such vast amounts of food signifies just how much this industry has grown and how it has significantly influenced our culture. Gourmet food used to belong solely elite, while the everyday citizen’s diet would be rationed and dictated by the government. As time passed, society restructured itself, and homemade meals became the staple in every household where women ruled the kitchen. Now, we live in a time of food liberty and expression, with an excess in choice and availability. We should all be grateful for globalization’s tremendous effect on reshaping our understanding of food.

To satisfy your every craving, I leave you a list of trendy gourmet spots in Atlanta:

For a piece of Paris right in Georgia visit Bistro Niko.

For some delicate and creative sushi rolls, bowls and burritos visit Boruboru Sushi.

For a traditional southern brunch visit South City Kitchen.

For a prime cut of meat visit American Cut.

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Julia Child: A Culinary Revolutionizer

One of the most iconic protagonist of French cuisine has to be Julia Child. Many know Julia Child as the woman who introduced the art of French cooking to Americans, but few know her story and how she became the woman who inspired a culinary revolution.

Julia McWilliams was born on August 15, 1912, in Pasadena, California. Her parents’ wealth allowed her a very privileged life. She attended the elite Katherine Branson School for Girls. In 1930, she enrolled at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, so that she could realize her dreams of becoming a writer. However, when everything she wrote was deemed unacceptable for publishing, she began to rethink what she had always considered her vocation. After graduating, she worked in advertising, only to be fired (“Julia Child”, 2014).

In height of World War II, Julia volunteered as a research assistant for the Office of Strategic Services, where she dealt with confidential communications. There she met her husband Paul Child and they married after the war ended. In 1948, the US government reassigned her husband, causing her to move to France where she developed an affinity for French cuisine. At Le Cordon Bleu she was trained by some of the most influential chefs in the world. There she met Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle, with whom she collaborated to form the cooking school L’Ecole de Trois Gourmandes (“Julia Child”, 2014).

After their glowing success in founding a cooking school, the trio began to write a cookbook. In 1962, Mastering the Art of French Cooking was published, simplifying French cuisine for the everyday American cook. Following her cookbook’s success Julia became a television icon in her popular cooking show The French Chef.

Child received a lot of criticism for removing much of the finesse and delicacy out of cooking, portraying the realistic physicality and roughness it demands. Nevertheless, she was always seen as with authority for cooking advice. In 1993, she became the first woman inducted into the Culinary Institute Hall of Fame. In November 2000, following a stellar 40-year career filled with gourmet food and culinary fame, France bestowed Julia with its highest honor: the Legion d’Honneur. Her journey ended shortly after this; she died in August 2004 of kidney failure, two days before her 92nd birthday (“Julia Child”, 2014).

Julia Child is an icon as interesting as she was influential, shattering stereotypes and bridging two distinct cultures through food. She educated the American public in the art of French cooking and revolutionized the accessibility of gourmet food. She discovered her passion at a time many claim is too old to begin a new career path, but she followed her heart. She worked tirelessly to become an accomplished and regarded figure in the culinary field, which was heavily dominated by men.

Despite her wealthy background, Child emanated sincerity and humility, educating her vast audience but also having fun (Ferray 95). While Julia Child’s purpose was to provide the necessary knowledge for cooking and demonstrate proper technique, she always included a life lesson in her shows to inspire her viewers. She was energetic and committed to connecting with her audience. She was a true food aficionado, not a Hollywood made chef like many of the one’s today (Finn). Julia Child did not only leave us with delicious, easy recipes for Cassoulet, Soufflé, Bouillabaisse, and Boeuf Bourguignon, but also a life philosophy of chasing dreams with dedication and vivacity.

For me, Child’s legacy reminds us of how we should all live, as she said: “Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.” By finding something you love, you will make a difference in the world-which is precisely what she did through her recipes.

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Works Cited

Ferrary, Jeannette. “Child of Her Times.” Gastronomica, vol. 12, no. 3, 1 Aug. 2012, pp. 101–104. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/gfc.2012.12.3.101?ref=search-gateway:3497a40101399d181f02d087ad268017.

Finn, John E. “Julia.” Gastronomica, vol. 7, no. 4, 1 Nov. 2007, pp. 95–97.JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/gfc.2007.7.4.95?ref=search-gateway:9a99e77313c01246951e317a2c9de6c0.

“Julia Child.” Biography.com, A&E Networks Television, 12 Aug. 2014, http://www.biography.com/people/julia-child-9246767#synopsis.

French cuisine   

“The City of Lights,” “Paname” and “City of Love” are the most common names for this great city: Paris. Paris is known for being a famous capital, but one of the most important aspects of its richness, which is often overlooked, is its culinary value. Its cuisine influences other areas of life such as politics, economics, history and research.

The influence of Parisian food dates back to the Old Regime when the monarchy’s food regulation policies dictated citizens’ lifestyle choices. During the reign of Louis XIV, the aristocracy would celebrate twelve-hour feasts with over ten different dishes served. They were the epitome of the culinary arts in those times. Such elaborate feasts were only available to the elite, but others were also able to enjoy exotic foods and spices, such as the kumquat fruit and yellow saffron, brought back from Africa and Asia by explorers. These foods were quickly incorporated into the French diet(Claflin 110-112).

The French can be described as extremely sophisticated when it came to their cuisine. They paid close attention to the growing and preparation of their food. It was such an important aspect of a person that it reflected their heritage, region of birth, social status, and health. Food helped shape cultural centers thanks to markets that were strategically placed to unite citizens through a shared love of cuisine.

In modern times food still plays key roles in tourism and culture. From the many world-renowned restaurants and chefs, Paris, has one of the biggest influence in the world’s food choices. Some of the iconic foods that have influenced gastronomy around the world include the classic French baguette, crepes, escargot, Croque-Monsieur, quiche, soufflé, and countless others.

Crepes are definitely regarded as a French staple. These thin delicate pancake can be found almost anywhere in France, from the streets, to bistros and restaurants. They date back to the beginning of the 20th century, but today are as popular as ever. Here I have my favorite crepe recipe for anyone who is looking to add a more exquisite plate into their diets.

Recipe:

What you need:

Base:

1 cup flour

2 eggs

1 cup milk

1/4 cup water

pinch of salt

4 tbsp butter

For sweet version:

1 tbsp of sugar

1/2 tsp of vanilla extract

Guava

Cream Cheese

Nutella

Strawberries

Dulce de Leche

For savory version:

Salt

Pepper

Ham

Swiss cheese

What you do:

Sift the flour. In a separate bowl whisk the eggs and other wet ingredients together. Next, add the liquid to the flour a little at time whisking as you go to make a smooth batter. Melt 2 tbsp of butter and stir into the mixture. Depending if you want sweet or savory you may add sugar and vanilla to the mixture or salt and pepper.

Melt the remaining butter in a pan, get it really hot and then turn down the heat to medium. Add 2 tbsp for each crepe. Tilt the pan to spread the batter. Cook the crepe for about one minute. Use a spatula to loosen and then flip it over and cook for about 30 seconds more. When done build your own with your preferred toppings.

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Bon appetit!

Works Cited

Claflin, Kyri Watson. “The Insatiable City.” Gastronomica, vol. 4, no. 3, 1 Aug. 2004, pp. 110–112. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/gfc.2004.4.3.110?ref=search-gateway:0bb047e6bec72fcbeb7fb01ef63ae339.

 

From Italy to America: Spaghetti and Meatballs

 Italy has always been regarded as one of the cradles of civilization. The Romans left an abundance of legacies but perhaps one of their most significant, but least regarded, is food. Gourmet Italian cuisine arose from elaborate dinner parties between Roman elites that could last up to eight hours (Raff). The Roman Empire’s strong trade relations created a diverse diet accentuated with different Asian spices and a wide array of meats. In this way, classic Italian flavoring is the product of blended cultures. Meanwhile, the commoners had to rely on a more modest sustenance of native grains, fruit, and vegetables (Gray 222-223). Climate, soil, and trade dictated available foods, shaping what eventually became traditional Italian dishes. Pasta quickly became a food staple as it was well suited to the arid climate, easy to make, nutritious, inexpensive, and had a long shelf life.

     The Italian cuisine we are exposed to nowadays is usually not this authentic Italian cuisine that dates back to Roman times, but a different style of food called Italian American. Italian American cuisine emerged due to the millions of Italians that immigrated to the United States between 1880 and 1924. Most of these immigrants tended to be poor laborers from southern Italy who sought to better their living situations (Cinel 9-15). The vast availability of different ingredients broadened the Italian diet, causing a change in the staple foods. We have this to thank for many of our delicious dishes, perhaps the most famous of all being the gratifying meal of spaghetti and meatballs.

     Contrary to popular belief, spaghetti and meatballs is not an Italian dish but an Italian-American staple. It emerged along with the influx of Italian immigrants, as the ingredients tomato sauce, beef and pasta became abundant and inexpensive in the United States.Since this signature Italian-American dish provides a hearty meal for a reasonable price, it is one of the best meals for college students on a budget. My recipe includes ingredients that lower the usual cost of the dish without holding back on flavor. The extra add-ons of parmesan cheese and arugula can be substituted depending on your preference.

Ingredients

Pasta:

4 pounds of spaghetti
For the meatballs:

1 ½ pounds of ground pork
2 ½ pounds of ground beef
2 cup bread crumbs
¾ cup Parmesan cheese
4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of garlic powder

1 teaspoon of dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon of cumin
2 extra large eggs, beaten
For the sauce:
3 tablespoon olive oil
2 onions
4 teaspoons minced garlic
3 (28-ounce) cans of crushed tomatoes
4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

¾ cup of tomato sauce

2 bay leaves

For garnishing:

Parmesan cheese

Arugula

Directions

      Add the ground meats, bread crumbs, oregano, Parmesan, salt, pepper, garlic, eggs, and cumin in a bowl. Combine these ingredients gently using your hands and form the resulting mixture into 1-inch meatballs. Pour olive oil into a large skillet to a depth of 1/4-inch. Heat the oil for a few minutes. Carefully place the meatballs, six at a time, in the oil and brown them well on all sides over medium heat. When doing this be sure not to crowd the skillet. Remove the meatballs and drain any excess grease. Place them on a plate covered with paper towels. Do not discard the oil as you will use it for your sauce.

     To make the sauce add the onions to the skillet and sauté the mixture over medium heat until softened. Add the garlic and cook for a couple of minutes over low heat. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato sauce, bay leaves, salt, and pepper.

     Add your browned meatballs to the sauce, cover, and simmer on a low heat setting for 30 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked. While they are cooking, boil your pasta following instructions on the back of the packet. Once the pasta is cooked, mix the spaghetti with the sauce and meatballs. Serve warm and topped with fresh arugula and grated Parmesan.

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Works Cited

Cinel, Dino.. From Italy to San Francisco: the immigrant experience. Stanford, Calif. : Stanford University Press, 1982. http://hdl.handle.net/2027/heb.00517.0001.001.

Gray, E. W. “The Journal of Roman Studies.” The Journal of Roman Studies, vol. 60,  1970, pp. 222–224. http://www.jstor.org/stable/299440.

Raff, Katharine. “The Roman Banquet.” In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000.                    http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/banq/hd_banq.htm 

Gourmet food

     What is gourmet food? When did we go from being hunters and gatherers to culinary masterminds? Gourmet food has always had the reputation of being something exclusive to the elite. Royalty, aristocracy, celebrities, and food critics were the only ones who could indulge in these luxuries. But as time has progressed, so has gourmet food’s availability to the public.

Technology, such as the TV, the Internet, magazines and social media, has made knowledge about highly esteemed gourmet food available to everyone. This food revolution began around the 1960s in the United States. While Europeans intensely focused on food as an art form, Americans preferred more casual home cooking methods instead of fancy and innovative culinary creations.

 In order to bring new flavors to American cuisine, a boom in cookbooks and cooking shows overwhelmed the media. This huge boom in food education made Americans aware of the beauty of international cuisine and intrigued them to experiment with more European flavors in their cooking. An influx of immigrants and broadening of diversity in the United States during this time helped shape the food identity we see today in America.

As women joined the workforce and broke away from the cult of domesticity, a demand for quick, cheap, and accessible food caused a new food revolution. The growing fast food industry of readily available frozen meals and drive thru overshadowed the traditional recipes and home-cooked meals. Cheeseburgers, pizza and Chinese take out became staples in every American household. In Foodies: Democracy and Distinction in the Gourmet Foodscape, Johnston and Baumann explain this phenomenon by stating that food is democratic, meaning that popular food will always become the most prominent in society.

 In our day and age of sushi burritos, rolled ice cream, and cronuts the importance of trends and popularity is clearly evident. In addition to the evolution of our taste buds and preferences, so has our definition of what a food lover looks like evolved. A typical food aficionado fifty years ago would have probably looked like an older experienced food critic; today it is what we would call a foodie. A foodie is a person who loves to prepare, discuss and contemplate food (Johnston and Baumann 2, 4). Today this could be a young hipster college student who uses too many hashtags in their picture of a chai latte. This is one of the beautiful aspects of the history of gourmet foods: its ever-changing state and accordance with the times.

       To truly understand the depth of gourmet food in America and its evolution, we need to journey back to some of its most significant influences: Europe. I urge all you foodies to join me as we discover the fascinating history, greatest influences and principal protagonist of some of our favorite recipes and food trends.

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Works Cited

Johnston Josée, and Shyon Baumann. Foodies: Democracy and Distinction in the Gourmet       Foodscape. New York, Routledge, 2010.