The Imagination Generation cooks, or Culinary Revolution For The Hell Of It

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Food glorious food, We’re anxious to try it. Its what’s for dinner, whether cool as a cucumber or easy as pie we love our food. Food has been essential since time began. Without food the world would be full of nothing but vegetation soaking up the sun’s energy creating oxygen for no one. But as it is we have a symbiotic relation with vegetation. Animals (including us) eat the greenery, digest it, then return it to the plants as composted food for their roots. So we all benefit from the cycle of life because of the cycle of food. Food has always existed even finding its roots in the garden of Eden. Yea, the forbidden apple the iSin that was as they say the fall of man. More like the rise of man which is why so many of us get hungry after sex. Food has had major impacts to the growth an development of all life, especially humanity. Whether it was chewing the leaves of tree’s or the capturing of some animal we survived on food. Food was so important to our development it can be attributed for the creating of societies. We formed tribes to both procure and protect food sources. With the advent of the agricultural revolution food became power. Whomever controlled the food controlled the masses. Humans learned to grow vegetation at will, capture and herd animals for milk and meat, and create warehouses to store food. At one point food was worth more than money. Why in ancient times you could by a chariot polo team for a few cases of wheat, a six pack, and a cow. Brothels accepted loaves of bread for making it rise and it gave cause for a new phenomenon arose, thievery. With people stealing food from one another and beating each other up or killing for food an important new force needed to be created. The police force formed in ancient Athens where the policeman were paid in what else? Donuts. The police eventually evolved into armies which as Napoleon so eloquently put it, marches on its stomach. He reportedly always hid a taco inside his coat which is why so many photos show him apparently holding his stomach. But that was then this is now, and now it costs a lot of money for a small amount of food. But we pay it because not only do we need food, we friggen love to eat. Home or restaurant, no difference, bring on the food.
Why do we love to eat so much? Properly prepared food can fill us with a plethora of wonderful emotions which is one reason we love to go to restaurants. What is a restaurant? Originally the French term for restoring it referred to the hearty soups that were said to restore ones health. What a great concept, a place to sit, eat, and converse in a Nice setting. Or was it Paris? Whatever, the concept gained ground and a new industry was born. Forks and knives, chopsticks, or fingers, food was bought prepared and served the world over and Auguste Escoffier took it upon himself to develop recipe systems and a set of basic tenets for cooking. That was the late 18oo’s and those laws stood firm for almost a century. Red wine for meat, white wine for poultry or fish (Pick your Poisson). Everything served within the lip of a plain white plate. Everything was standardized right down to the size of cooking utensils. This worked well for many years until a new generation grew up and took over the sauté pans. The imagination revolution was about to break the restaurant industry wide open.
Like most of my generation, I colored outside the lines on purpose. But some of us took it even further, like coloring the tree’s blue instead of green, or making the sun magenta because the word on the crayon looked cool. I was particular to periwinkle myself because I not only did it look cool, the name made me chuckle. It was one of the only crayons that made a daily appearance in the cheesy crayon sharpener on the side of my 64 color box of Crayola. That was the first known instance of thinking outside the box. We were the generation that would stretch the limits of imagination like silly putty, make it bounce around like a superball, and allow it to take flight from balsa airplanes, to water pump rockets, all the way the flying saucer Frisbee. Our entertainment was just as far out, with uncles who are Martians, talking cars, nose twitching good witches, and pretty genies in bottle seemingly common place events an acceptable. We even let our imaginations allow us to believe that a movie star on a three hour boat tour would bring an enormous change of clothes, and once stranded a professor could invent everything on a deserted island except a workable raft. Our minds were open and free and TV opened many dialogues on previously hushed or taboo subjects like racism, drugs, and the all time favorite, sex. It’s the generation that looked to the moon and said lets not just look at it but lets go there and find out if there really is any cheese, let not have a small concert lets have a festival for half a million. It was only a matter of time before some of these new forward thinking creative out of the crayola box coloring kids would grow up an become chefs of the future. Ha Ha.
And we did. The first thing the rebel imagination generation of cooks did was disregard all of Escoffier’s rules. No disrespect sir, your shit was incredible, but we are in the age of culinary renaissance and it was up to us to disregard the rules, deconstruct everything that had been done for so many years and color outside the roasting pans. Sauté the red snapper, throw in some shallots and fresh thyme, hit it with some pinot noir and deglaze. Finish with a touch of fish stock , pinch of cream, and spoonful of raw butter and man oh man you have one tasty ass snapper with a buerre rouge. Red wine and fish?? Blaspheme! We broke all the old rules, decorating our plates with fresh herbs, making wines work with anything, rare duck breast, barely cooked or half raw foods, crunchy veggies, nouvelle cuisine was taking its stand against the old strong brigade system of cooking. Women washing the pots and pans? Bullshit ladies, come on inside the kitchen and show them what kick ass chefs you are. The old regime cringed, knocking the cigarette ashes into their sautoise pans. Sacrebleu, what are zose crazy long hair chefs doing? And what kind of cigarette is zat they smoke? Sorry Charlie, but revolutionaries only want the best tuna, served mostly if not entirely raw. Salads took center stage as entrée’s with hot meats served over them. The imagination generation turned the culinary industry on its pigs ear. Sweetbread day in the morning we kicked some ass back then!
Now I watch proudly as a new generation of rebel chefs begin to take their place in culinary history, sustainable food systems, farm to table programs, and molecular gastronomy are the next new wavers an they have been doing a tremendous job. Women have made their major impact on the industry an in an ever evolving world its up to them to keep our interest in dining, not just eating. Personally I think the industry is in great hands, hope its no0t just my imagination

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