December 25, 2015

Why is burnt food a big trend now?



We're told it's the craving for authenticity. If you burn your food, on purpose — like with a blowtorch from Williams-Sonoma — you're getting the feeling of reality — like in some poverty-striken rural, peasant-type place in South America.

23 comments:

Oso Negro said...

Appropriation alert!!!

Bob R said...

I had trouble with that flash video, and missed most of it. But it seems to have been made by people who don't know much about cooking. Using a flame to blister the skin of tomatoes and peppers before peeling them is pretty common. The blowtorch has become a more popular tool with the upsurge of sous vide cooking. Sous vide is essentially a precise form of poaching. You often finish it with fast, high heat to give a little crust, caramelization. Some people like a blowtorch. I prefer a really hot cast iron pan. I first saw a blowtorch used for food prep by Julia Child, maybe 30 years ago. She was caramelizing a desert topped with sugar and almonds, I believe. Not a new trend.

Ann Althouse said...

@bob

The video cites the old practice of doing the creme brulee. What's new is burning vegetables and other stuff, including cocktails. To

Ann Althouse said...

And seeing burning per se as meaningful, as opposed to merely tasty.

Ann Althouse said...

There's also a weird discussion of cancer in the end... like, yeah, it's a little carcenogenic, so don't do it too much. Everything in moderation! Just a touch of cancer....

EDH said...

Taste the BERN!

Rocco said...

Burnt is turnt!

Rocco said...

Seeking meaning in burning your food is like seeking love at 2:00am when the bars are closing.

hoyden said...

Burnt food isn't a trend except for people who crave hip and trendy. Otherwise I seek burnt as the holy grail for BBQ, burgers, select veggies/fish, and steak.

I bought a sous vide through the AA AP and made incredibly juicy medium rare burgers. I like the idea of using a torch to finish them. I used a cast iron skillet on an induction cook top burner that did the job admirably but with much grease splatter.

Next time I will use my Benzomatic TS8000 high intensity trigger start torch. Thanks for the tip, Bob R.

traditionalguy said...

Conspicuous Consumption. They show off that it is not microwaved.

Bob Boyd said...

Food burning. It's the next best thing to a year in the Peace Corps!

rastajenk said...

Alton Brown said several years ago, "Char is not a flavor," and not something to be hoped for.

mezzrow said...

Char is delicious, if it is the Arctic variety. Noms.

Sorry, Alton.

Rob said...

Jeffrey Tambour is great, isn't he?

Char Char Binks said...

Char is the best!

JAORE said...

Contributing to Global Climate change, eh hipsters?

EDH said...

Now it's time for... "Cooking! with Al Pacino".

Yancey Ward said...

Hey, maybe some day E. Coli poisoning will be seen as authentic again.

LTMG said...

I suppose I'm a trend pioneer. I was burning my food many years ago. Still trying to get that stainless steel pot clean.

Quaestor said...

Food-burning restauranteurs will be shocked and out the money when I return and refuse to pay for any burnt food presented on my plate.

Eric said...

This is the second go around for burned food. For awhile there was a Cajun fad in my area - blackened fish started it. After awhile restaurants started burning everything and calling it Cajun.

aritai said...

Re: E-coli and charring and burning food, topics that hit my hot buttons. Consider the genomic path of our evolution. Which starts with our detritivore ancestors rarely being able to scare away the largest carrion eaters, to carrion eaters ourselves smart enough to arrive after a more able carnivore ran down and killed its prey, to our emergence as first class carnivores once we added the leverage of tribal communities to our intellect and found ourselves floating a sea of game too plentiful and too stupid to avoid our skills in herding and killing, to much later arrive at today’s prefer-not-to-be-an-omnivore humanoid that evolution enabled to convert small amount of sugars into fats with little harm. In the not too distant past what today's meals would have been called a starvation diet. So until we can find a way to not overtax our insulin system with grains and starches, odds are a large number of us that survive to old age will be cursed with diabetes and cancer and other, less terminal curses, but still curses due to our need to convert sugars to fat. Which imo means the best foods for most of us are still the carnivore’s meal. Mostly saturated fat, not cooked beyond the minimum safe temperature to kill off the worst parasites though if we knew more and how to sort them we’d leave a few to help train our immune system rather than leave it to attack us, where a variety is necessary for at least of few of the species to survive the next horror. Something that killed most all of us around 400,000 years ago if the Mitochondrial Eve theory holds. If I disease and not an asteroid or volcanism or q mini-ice age we’re fortunate we didn’t all eat the same foods. For those that can stomach it, irradiated raw meat and offal are much better for you. Maybe a cookie a week. No reason to eat non-irradiated bean sprouts ever, given E-coli evolved to live there, no matter how trendy they are or how good they taste or how carefully they are grown. Irradiation of all perishable foods not immediately eaten after being cooked to the minimum safe temperature would save many more lives than it costs in dollars and a few lives. And given variability in cooking, I’d irradiate everything unless it was a known bug necessary to educate our immune system. Until everything is irradiated bugs of some sort will always be there, so we know at least some of us will survive. The good news is that our rush to an ever more sterile world is offset by the rise of organic farming, which mean at least some of us will have a challenged and trained immune system when catastrophe strikes. Pica, including children playing in and eating dung and dirt no matter how revolting we find it is a good thing for the species writ large.

Until we get to uniform, standardized irradiation worldwide, I ask whomever is preparing my food to cook it to the minimum safe temperature. i.e. leave our meat mostly diet (when we could find it or be wealthy enough to afford it) as nature evolved It for our scavenger and later carnivore ancestors, with the exception of searing for taste. Ignore the FDA food pyramid that has harmed, if not killed so many. It started with the best of intentions to save future Eisenhower’s and the rest of us 3+ pack-a-day addicts from heart attacks, which autopsies showed were caused by fat in our arteries, so it must be fatty foods responsible for clots, little did we know it was fat we synthesized internally when we moved to sugars as a primary food, to say nothing of how good sugars taste, how inexpensive they are, and so easy to become addicted. We need a lot saturated fat to survive, but we’d be a lot healthier if we ate it rather than forced our bodies to manufacture it.

Here’s wishing you and our host a safe and glorious new year. Maybe in 2016 I’ll figure out why TSA uses checkpoints found in Supermax prisons and points them in the other way Ooops. Nativist comment. Modernity isn’t always a blessing, especially when process overwhelms intellect and judgement, usually to protect the elites from both responsibility and shame.

jaed said...

You'd think these people had never heard of the Maillard reaction.