Though the food world of the past boasted elaborate, strange Medieval sotelties—strange food dioramas and jokey dishes like four-and-twenty-blackbirds baked in a pie, which I write about in Encyclopedia of the Exquisite—it seems to me now that no era has produced a culinary mad scientist like Ferran Adria, of El Bulli restaurant fame (now closed). Not even the baroque Japanese culinary rules of moritsuke come close. Not even Careme, who advanced the cause of French pastry, or Buontalenti, who invented gelato for the Medici clan. (All are in the Encyclopedia!)
Here’s Adria’s menu: Pasta-less ravioli? Carrot-flavored air? Two yards of a single strand of parmesan-flavored spaghetti to be slurped in one go? Wafting a rosemary branch around while you eat scampi, so that you scent your palette, without overloading it by actually eating the herb?
This video below is incredible. I don’t think I’ve seen anything that really explains Adria’s food as well. There’s also this intriguing link to a line of at-home molecular gastronomy kits Adria is putting out. Hmmmmm. A winter in Maine could be made that much more exciting once we get molecular.