Kitchen : Cooking is the set of techniques of preparation of foodstuffs in view of their consumption by human beings. The cuisine is diverse throughout the world, the result of local natural resources, but also of culture and beliefs, the improvement of techniques, exchanges between peoples and cultures.
Cooking has thus gone beyond its simple biological imperative of food to become a body of more or less sophisticated techniques, a cultural fact, an element of national or family heritage and identity, an element of value systems, but also a subject. study for social sciences and sociology, even a political and public health issue.
Types of kitchens : Each people, nation or civilization has developed, from local natural resources but also from the character of each society, social evolution, traditions, interactions, different cuisines. The movements of peoples throughout history have caused mixtures and developments in cuisine. For example, European cuisine was enriched by the contributions of the Crusaders returning from the Crusades and, upset by the products brought back from America in the XNUMXth and XNUMXth centuries, which entered into the European tradition (tomato, turkey, potato, etc.). In the XNUMXth century, great French cuisine was developed, which became an “art” and spread throughout what was called the civilized world at the time.
With the almost global European colonization at the end of the 1970th century, the standard of European cuisine seemed to prevail. In the XNUMXs, Nouvelle cuisine developed, giving way ten years later to, “on the one hand, the competition between more and more high national kitchens and, on the other, the confrontation of technical-conceptual cuisine with so-called "supernatural" cuisine. Each time, this gives rise to beautiful clashes between neophiles and neophobes ”.
At the end of the twentieth century, cuisines mixed with contributions from around the world (world food) while large non-European cuisines in turn penetrated Western countries (Algerian cuisine, Moroccan cuisine, West Indian cuisine, Mexican cuisine , Chinese cuisine, Indian cuisine, Japanese cuisine, etc.). Globalization thus leads to transnational cuisines with the internalization of mass food consumption.
From the texts preserved or copied since Antiquity, from objects found during archaeological excavations and, more recently thanks to carpology, we can learn about the cuisine of the peoples of prehistory, protohistory, Antiquity - especially in ancient Egypt, ancient Greece and ancient Rome - and of Europeans in the Middle Ages.
Reconstructions of food recipes as they existed at the time are part of what was called, in the twentieth century, "historical cuisine".
Traditional and classic cuisine : In a glazed earthenware dish, the pieces of meat and earthen vegetables have simmered in red wine.
Traditional cuisine is the preparation of dishes in line with agricultural production, therefore of the culinary tradition, of a valley, of a region, of a country.
It consists, in one place, of preparing local and seasonal food products corresponding to this said place in so-called classic recipes that are more or less complex (eg: the Auvergne hotpot, the ratatouille in summer, the delicatessen in winter, etc.). This cuisine is practiced in households, in commercial catering places that want to be traditional, but also by certain catering chains.
In terms of professional catering (See Classic cuisine), traditional cuisine indicates that all operations (from receiving raw materials to serving at the table) are carried out in a unity of time, place and action. Cooking on site is synonymous.
This definition is entirely theoretical. Many restaurants use this advertising argument which has no definition and legal obligation. Traditional cuisine does not have to mean "homemade". According to RMC, only 20% of restaurants in France are homemade.
Gastronomic cooking : If this cuisine is often expensive, it is because it is the symbol of quality catering and requires significant investments. It is supposed to use exclusively raw products of the first freshness, and often so-called "noble" products (example: scams, caviar, foie gras, etc.). It is often served in the form of a "tasting" menu which offers guests many dishes served in limited quantities to allow them to discover a wide variety of dishes. likes different without reaching satiety before the end of the service.
New kitchen : The name “nouvelle cuisine”, already used in the 1973th century to translate the rejection of old traditions, reappeared in XNUMX in the article “Vive la nouvelle cuisine française” in the Nouveau Guide Gault et Millau.
Nouvelle cuisine favors short cooking and light sauces; it rejects spices and marinades which can hide the taste of the products; in the same way, she contests the association which has become stereotypical of products (meat and red wine, fish and white wine, etc.); it advocates inventiveness in the use of new products, in the methods of cooking and presentation.
She knows detractors in the general public who often judge the portions too small, but influence the evolution of gastronomy in the world.
Molecular gastronomy : The Molecular gastronomy studies the elementary matter composing the ingredients, to optimize the chemical reactions which take place by mixing, cooking, pruning, maceration, etc. It aims to use what the kitchen does chemically to better control it.
- cooking an egg at the exact denaturation temperature of a protein to cook only the white;
- instant sorbet making by immersing fruit juices in liquid nitrogen.
Once the chemical principle has been written and the aromatic bases identified, the recipe can be reproduced identically without any special study or know-how. In theory, the industry should be able to extract the elemental textures and aromas to compete with the great chefs and offer the perfect compositions of synthetic products in cocktails better than the original fresh products. The problem of preserving perishable foodstuffs will be solved by aromatic extraction at the source.
(See Unstructured kitchen).
Solar cooking : Solar cooking appeared in the 70s, solar cooking consists of preparing dishes using a solar cooker or oven. Small solar ovens allow cooking temperatures of around 150 ° C, solar parabolas allow you to cook the same dishes as a conventional gas or electric stove.
Packing : Food preparation can be carried out using different methods, most of which are based on the principle of limiting part of the liquid in a food. Among the main processes, we can mention:
- reduction, which consists of evaporating part of the liquid in a food over low heat, to give it a thicker consistency and / or strengthen its aroma (eg: tomato puree, vegetable puree, etc.);
- the drying and smoking (example: fish, ham and certain cheeses in Italy (scamorza);
- There dehydrationn (example: mashed potatoes, garlic, herbs);
- There freeze-drying (example: coffee);
This preparation phase is called “conditioning for storage and preservation”.
Food selection and purchase : The type of cooking depends on the ingredients available to the cook, but also on cultural and religious habits towards certain foods (such as not eating pork, or applying certain food preparation techniques). so that they are halal ou kosher). See Food prohibited.
To become an integral part of a diet, a food must be readily available (easy to harvest or produce in sufficient quantity), of a quality suitable for human needs, and possibly inexpensive.
However, man feeds himself not only out of obligation (to ensure the development and maintenance of his organism), but also out of pleasure. Consequently, a food will often have to have additional taste qualities, which may be perceived differently in different societies. Eating is also a social act: some people try to avoid eating certain foods that carry a devaluing image (such as rutabagas or rapeseed oil after the First World War) and on the contrary, seek rarer foods and more expensive (such as foie gras or caviar), even dangerous (Japanese fish fugu), and compete in imagination to prepare food in a complex, appetizing and visually appealing way.
The kitchen is also the support and the manifestation of religious, even political positions. Thus, certain cultural habits or certain religions have they put taboos on certain foods (cows in Indians, pork in Muslims) or on certain culinary preparations (such as the separation of meat and dairy products from a animal in Jewish cuisine).
The refusal to consume food of animal origin (by vegans or vegetarians) is often an ethical choice, as is the desire for non-violence towards animals, or that of not imposing a too strong environmental impact on the biosphere (the production of one kilogram of animal proteins being more expensive from an energy point of view than the production of one kilogram of vegetable proteins). These positions are often defended by environmentalists (See also Macrobiotic).
The foods and the preparation methods chosen are also a function of the principles that the consumer wants to follow: in industrialized countries, the demand for food guaranteed from the point of view of food safety (hence the development of labels), produced according to the principles of organic farming, or of nutrition, has been growing in recent decades.
The initial choice of food therefore depends on a large number of variables. For a long time, the first factor was that of the availability of the feed.
- in space: for example, the consumption of mammoth meat in an ecoregion located in northern Europe or of wheat in the Fertile Crescent;
- over time: as food is not permanently available, the harvest periods give rise to harvest festivals in summer, or harvest festivals in autumn; the end of winter is also often synonymous with a period of famine (food lean), and on these occasions all food resources are mobilized (See Gastronomic events).
Culinary habits and techniques were forged on the one hand around the food collected by the picking, by fishing, or produced by agriculture or breeding, but also around available fuels (wood, charcoal).
Today, for the majority of humanity, the foods used for cooking are first and foremost obtained from gardening or food crops. They are mainly of local origin. Depending on the biodiversity of the regions, the foods are more or less varied.
In industrialized countries, most of the food used in cooking is bought from local shops or supermarkets. Sometimes these are foods directly from production, or foods that are already partially processed, or even ready to eat. In the latter case, cooking is essentially reduced to heating the food. Most of these foods are washed and treated at a minimum for better preservation (See Food additives). A small part of the population, however, produces its own food, through gardening, or buys it directly from the producer, on farms or in stalls along the roads. These foods are either directly consumed, or preserved by bottling or freezing.
Due to the multiplication of global exchanges, populations located in economically favored areas now benefit from a very wide variety of foods, at any time of the year. The fruit, previously available only at certain times, can now be found all year round on the shelves, thanks to its production in heated greenhouses, in other countries further south, or thanks to its air transport from the other hemisphere. This permanent availability of certain foods has upset eating habits as well as many rituals, such as the habit of offering an orange in France and Belgium for Christmas, the orange having now become an inexpensive fruit available all year round (see also consumerism). While some welcome the appearance of greater variety in food products, and therefore in culinary preparations, others regret the disappearance of habits relating to the rhythm of the seasons, or advocate locally produced food, which is less expensive. on the environmental level.
Finally, in industrialized countries, it is observed a gradual abandonment of the consumption of certain foods, victims of fashion phenomena, and "forgotten" by the local agrifood industry. Movements such as Slow Food aim to preserve eco-regional cuisine, as well as the plants, seeds, pets and farming techniques associated with it.
Food cooking methods : Cooking almost necessarily involves cooking. The main cooking methods are:
- boil : cook food in boiling liquid.
- Foil : cook food enclosed in parchment or aluminum foil in a heat source (such as an oven or in embers).
- under vacuum : cook food under vacuum in boiling water or in a steam oven.
- steam : cook food in a steam oven or in a steamer over the heat.
- in English : cook food in a large volume of salted boiling water (vegetables, except pulses and starches).
- poach hot start : cook food (example: fish) in a simmering liquid (at the limit of boiling).
- poach cold start : cook food (eg eggs, potatoes, etc.) in a liquid, initially cold, then brought to the boil.
- to stew : cook in a closed container, using the water vapor which emerges from the food.
- braise : cook food in the oven, covered, with an aromatic garnish and a little liquid.
- simmer : cook slowly, keeping cooking at the limit of boiling, over a very low heat.
- sauter : cook with fat in a frying pan, sauté pan, over high heat.
- to fry : cook food in the oven with an aromatic garnish after having browned it.
- fry : cook a food by immersing it in a large quantity of oil (an oil bath) very hot (often at 180 ° C, or even more as is the case with Japanese tempura frying).
- Grill : cook food by subjecting it to direct heat, on a grill or a grill pan.
- to roast : cook food in a hot oven or roasting pan, uncovered, without direct contact with the heat source. By basting with fat during cooking.
Cooking modes to which must be added " warm up "Which, sometimes, allows to finish a cooking interrupted voluntarily or not and" whitewash Which is a pre-cooking intended to soften the food or to extract undesirable substances from it.
Product line : Foodstuffs are classified into categories or "ranges". These are in order:
- So-called “traditional” raw products: carcass meat, untrimmed fish, unprepared vegetables, etc .;
- Canned products (preserves).
- Frozen and deep-frozen products.
- Vegetable products (fruits, vegetables, herbs) raw and fresh, having undergone a preparation which makes them ready for use.
- Pasteurized vegetables presented in plastic or vacuum-packed and kept cold. We sometimes add PCA (Meals in Advance) fresh, canned or frozen.
- Powdered, ionized or lyophilized products.
Preparing the dish : The kitchen allows you to prepare dishes based on meat, fish, vegetables, fruits, cereals, etc. or mixtures of these foods.
Some preparations are raw, others are cooked. Some are salty, others sweet, others still sweet and savory. They can be solid, liquid, frothy, creamy. Some are eaten cold, others lukewarm and others hot.
Depending on the recipes and the circumstances, the consumption of the food can be immediate or postponed.
The recipes can be made from raw products, semi-prepared or prepared products.
- End kitchen: End kitchen or end kitchen differs from traditional cooking by the use of products prepared or semi-prepared in the food industry transported by link. The chef only proceeds to reheating, grilling, frying and dressing the dishes. This cooking method requires only a low qualification of the staff.
- Assembly cuisine: Assembly cuisine differs from traditional cuisine by the use of products prepared or semi-prepared in the food industry and which are assembled by the cook, depending on the recipe chosen, at the time of consumption. This type of cooking greatly reduces the work of the chef.
It is the finish of a semi-processed product (PAI = Intermediate food preparation).
The assembly kitchen can be produced in a maximum cold connection + 4 ° on day-1 and be brought back to a minimum temperature of + 65 ° on day-0 in a regeneration trolley to serve it to the customer. This way of production requires a good mastery of quantitative data upstream with all the intermediaries of the services related to the kitchen. Cuisine produced in a hospital environment with minimal risk associated with the standard HACCP.
- Composition cooking: Composition cooking differs from traditional cooking by the use, as in assembly cooking, of prepared or semi-prepared products in the food industry. What differentiates it from assembly cooking is the cook's treatment of the cooking and finishing of the preparations. The chef therefore retains a more important role.
Cuisine and society : Cooking is originally a natural necessity insofar as, since prehistoric times, humans have eaten a part of raw foods, such as seeds or fruits, but also of on the other hand, indigestible foods without prior processing, such as meats or tubers, which must be cooked to make them edible.
It is also a natural matter, insofar as it is based on the elements of nature available to men (fruits, vegetables, cereals, animals). In each region, its traditional form therefore depends on climatic conditions, local flora and fauna.
Cooking is also an eminently cultural activity, linked to traditions, local know-how, etc. It follows technical, economic and socio-cultural principles.
It therefore tends at the same time to satisfy biological needs, to create a social bond and to provide pleasure. As we say
anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss (1908 - 2009): “Responding to the requirements of the body, determined in each of its modes by the way in which here and there, man fits into the universe, therefore placed between nature and culture, cuisine rather ensures their necessary articulation. It falls under both fields and reflects this duality in each of its manifestations. "
Cooking has even been considered an art.
A cultural fact: The cuisine contributes to shaping the image of a country, its culture, even its tourist attraction. It is thus a factor of national identity and an element of national intangible cultural heritage for certain countries (such as Mexico, Morocco, France and Italy).
A stakeholder in culture, cuisine therefore also becomes a geopolitical indicator. The dissemination of a national cuisine in the world is thus an element (driving force or simple indicator) of the influence of a culture throughout the world. We see it with French cuisine in the XNUMXth and XNUMXth centuries, American and Italian cuisine in the second half of the XNUMXth century, Chinese cuisine, Indian cuisine or Japanese cuisine at the turning points of the XNUMXth and XNUMXst centuries. Conversely, some great powers have never shone through their cuisine (Great Britain in the XNUMXth century, Germany and Russia in the XNUMXth century).
Sociology: In a dark room, sparsely lit by a small corner window, five young children are seated. The three youngest are already eating their soup, the fourth hands her plate to her standing mother, who pours a ladle of soup on it, while the older girl waits, looking at the hen on the bench next to her. Three other hens peck the floor of the room. The tones range from the white of the tablecloth and the shirts to the dark brown of the wall against which the mother's face and arms stand out.
Cooking, practiced above all in the home, seemed for a long time to be a strictly private phenomenon. However, it also spans the social sphere in several ways.
Cooking becomes a hobby that carries the values of a company and reveals its development. The success of the theme of "good cuisine" in France in the 2000s, following highly publicized food crises (mad cow crisis, etc.), through radio and television broadcasts (embodied by personalities such as that Jean-Pierre Coffe), books, cooking lessons, etc., constitutes a major sociological trait: return to traditional values, search for “authenticity”, withdrawal into the private sphere.
Politics: At the end of the twentieth century, cooking became a public health issue involving junk food, fast food and obesity.
Cooking in the arts.
Cooking and Literature: Cooking and food have been extensively covered by fictional literature. Some novels make it a central subject. One thinks of course of Rabelais whose names of the heroes, Gargantua and Pantagruel, gave two adjectives: gargantuan and pantagruelic, which qualify a meal of disproportionate quantities.
Honoré de Balzac (said to be fond of a hearty meal), gives in Les Cent Contes drolatiques, written in the style of Rabelais, many details on the art of eating well. Its prologue moreover announces the "nopces et festins" promised in the appendix to Physiologie du gout de Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1825). He also describes in Splendeurs et misères des courtesanes (1847), the orgiastic meals consumed after the theater at the Rocher de Cancale.
In Le Ventre de Paris, Émile Zola (1840 - 1902) describes life in the old district of Les Halles, where tons of food from the countryside were sold every day for the inhabitants of the capital ...
A more contemporary author, Terry Pratchett (1948 -2015), compares cooking to a romantic madness: "On this cooking site, it feels like an asylum, the madness accompanies the aromas rising from the pots".
Cooking and painting: Represented since Antiquity, kitchen utensils and dishes become subjects of painting in their own right through the fashion of still lifes.
Fruits, vegetables and fish are present in many paintings, but it is necessary to note the particular interest of the artists for the skinned oxen and pigs.
In the twentieth century, figurative and naïve painters again took an interest in cooking and grocery stores.
Cooking and cinema: Many films involve cooking and gastronomy in their scenarios or in their settings.
This regular rapprochement has even given rise to an International Film and Gastronomy Festival in Dijon, to publications such as Le Plaisir Gastronomique au Cinéma by Vincent Chenille and Jean-Luc Douin, or to a thematic cycle on Arte.
Cooking and food have also been the subject of various documentaries.
Restaurants : In the XNUMXth century, meal taken outside the family circle have multiplied. The meals are then taken in canteens, the fast food (fast food), or in restaurants.
Affordable restaurants (for the breakfast, the lunch most often):
- The canteens generally offer low-cost meals in a collective setting (for example, at school, in business, in hospital, in prison, in a convent, etc.). They can take the form of self-service or a buffet.
- The fast food (fast food) Anglo-Saxon, Chinese, Turkish (kebab), Lebanese, have been assimilated to industrialized battery power which presents certain excesses analyzed in the junk food.
- Street food (street food) which often offers small specialties local to take on the run and which are not necessarily bad despite the rudimentary material used.
- The truck stops and so-called "workers" restaurants offering a today's special.
- The chips traditional.
- The bistros countries, which offer either a snack, or a cuisine based on products from "terroir".
Specialty restaurants: The increase in outings and the resurgence of regionalism have brought about the appearance of so-called specialty restaurants: crêperies (Breton), pizzerias, fish restaurants, vegetarian restaurants, but also restaurants of various origins: Mexican, Indian, Greek, Lebanese, Chinese, Moroccan, Tunisian, Turkish, etc.
In cities like Paris, London, Brussels, all origins (national, even regional) are represented by their specialty restaurant. These restaurants provide both a point of reference for foreign communities, but also a showcase and a way to promote their origins. Likewise, at the start of the XNUMXth century, bougnats were the landmark of Auvergnats in Paris.
Outgoing restaurants: Often more chic and more expensive, these restaurants are aimed at a clientele who has the time and the money to eat there. They serve luxury dishes (rare or expensive foods, sophisticated cuisine), with very refined service.
These restaurants are subject to a classification establishing their quality by stars, toques, forks, etc. according to the guides.
La brigade and the kitchen staff: A kitchen can be similar to a military organization as everything is hierarchical, especially in large restaurants.
The person who cooks is the cook, formerly called queux, sometimes also called cook in colloquial language and military slang, or rooster, especially in the navy. This term designates both the person making meals at home and the person whose job it is. There are other more specific names:
- The Chef, chef-coq or maitre queux is responsible for the proper functioning of the kitchen as well as purchases and customer relations.
- The Sous-Chef or Kitchen Assistant replaces the Chef during his absences and is as close as possible to the staff. He is also thebarker (*)
- The party leader is responsible for a single position. Example: the grillardin, responsible for all roast dishes and all grilled dishes. In some kitchens there may be a fishmonger and in some large restaurants there are also 1/2 Chefs de Partie.
- The kitchen assistant assists the chef de partie.
- The apprentice cook who is in training assists the clerk in unimportant tasks.
- The pastry chef is divided into tourier and pastry chef. The tourier takes care of the pasta that goes in the oven. The go-between takes care of the rest. The viennoiserie is not a pastry art but a bakery.
- The baker makes the bread and related products.
- In most restaurants we will be dealing with one or more servers whose hierarchy is sometimes precise (butler, head waiter, etc.).
- Large restaurants often have a sommelier, sometimes from a master saucier.
- The bursar is responsible for stock management (Bursar).
- The diver is the attendant for the dishes and the maintenance of metal dishes and cutlery.
(*) Note that the Head Auguste Escoffier (1846-1935) abandoned the word barker to replace it with "announcer".
Quote from Jacques Dutronc, French singer: “Do you cook? - Yes, the dining room and the hallway too. At the jet ”.