Cocinar: preservación de la cultura

Probar nuevos platillos, experimentar nuevas cocinas; eso está bien. Pero hay algo que me parece incomprensible, incluso triste, en alguien que trata de cocinar algo que nunca ha probado. Nos dice Hervé This, en su libro Molecular Gastronomy:

It is often forgotten that until recently the chief concern of people in most countries, even in the West, was having enough to eat. Gradually scientific research came to concentrate more on foods themselves than on their domestic preparation.

But what about the millions of people who cook every day in advanced industrial countries? We now have access to products that have benefited from advances in food science, but do we know how to cook them? This question has two parts. On one hand, how good are the products we use? On the other, how competent are we as cooks?

[…] This is why I raised the second question, concerning our culinary skills. To answer this we need to ask ourselves how we cook, and we will have to admit that by and large we repeat what we have seen done at home, by our parents or grandparents. When we try out a new dish, one that does not belong to the family culinary repertoire, we have the same feeling Christopher Columbus had setting out to discover the New World. Why do most people find cooking so difficult? Because for most people it is a matter of repetition and habit.

[…] Is it enough to read cookbooks? Certainly not. They are generally little more than collections of recipes, which is to say protocols that relegate cooks to the status of mere executors. Moreover, they contain a great many doubtful instructions.

Si hemos visto cómo se hace y lo hemos comido (y tenemos buena memoria), entonces podemos tratar de hacerlo nosotros.