What is gastronomy?

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What is gastronomy? The study of the culture and food of a locality is closely related to gastronomy, especially when it comes to gourmet food. The idea of relating food to science, the arts and society has been around for a long time.

True gastronomy is a highly demanding multidisciplinary art that often examines food in its context, history, freshness, and presentation.

One of the principles of gastronomy is to show that food, in addition to being a science, is an art. Since it understands how the senses contribute to an experience.

For example, a gourmet fully understands what happens when a consumer affirms when they do not like or enjoy a particular food.

Similarly, gastronomy examines what the sociological aspect of food implies, along with the integration of other social science disciplines such as psychology, philosophy, and anthropology.

In the fine arts the role of food is also often examined, be it for the performing arts, sculpture, painting as part of a close look at the function of food in society in general.

Molecular gastronomy

This type of gastronomy is a branch of food science based on the chemical and physical processes created by cooking.

These interactions and processes are manipulated and explored with the goal of producing artistic, flavorful and functional results. These molecular gastronomy techniques are usually practiced through home experiments, as well as in some restaurants.

How does molecular gastronomy work?

This gastronomy works due to the interactions of different ingredients that manage to cause different effects. Each recipe will contain underlying biological, chemical and physical mechanisms that will make a dish turn out the way you really want it.

A common example is: a souffle puffed up instead of turning into a pancake as a result of the proteins that make up egg whites. When these egg whites are shaken, small air bubbles form, which when heated expand.

Combining the heat and set of the egg proteins, as well as the air bubbles, is what causes a puff.

What is gastronomy, meaning, concept, definition
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What is gastronomy, meaning, concept, definition

Sustainable gastronomy

Sometimes the art of food is called gastronomy. It also refers to a cooking style of a particular locality.

Regarding sustainability, it is the idea that fishing, agriculture or food preparation is carried out in a way that does not waste natural resources and can continue in the future, without damaging the environment and people’s health.

This is why sustainable gastronomy is synonymous with a cuisine that takes into account the process that food goes through (origin, cultivation, its process until it reaches markets or establishments and finally, even the dishes).

It is important to note that the UN declared all June 18 as Sustainable Gastronomy Day. It was for 2016 that the General Assembly of this organization made this decision for international observance.

The purpose of this designation is that many more gastronomic industries and even people begin to celebrate the ingredients, in addition to that the seasonal producers, work to preserve the culinary traditions and care about conserving the environment.

Entities such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and UNESCO are jointly facilitating this sustainability project.

Entities such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and UNESCO are jointly facilitating this sustainability project.

Importance of sustainable gastronomy

Among the most important characteristics of sustainable gastronomy is the fact that each culture stands out, which has a leading role as a crucial facilitator of economic growth, social change and sustainable development.

As an individual you can be much more interested in the quality, production, sourcing and purchasing of food. Food sustainability begins with the seed that spreads through all the links involved in the sector, until it reaches the end user.

As a consumer, you can order local food that can be traced and reduce food waste as much as possible.

Some facts show that a third of the food produced worldwide is wasted and more than 800 million people worldwide go to bed without eating anything. This global health crisis situation is expected to increase every day.

Popular gastronomy

Popular gastronomy is understood as the cuisine that the people usually prepare, the one that is cooked in the houses. In other words, traditional cuisine, although it is about another subject, is that type of gastronomy that is based on a set of recipes agglomerated over the years and centuries of popular cuisine.

Mexican gastronomy

Mexican gastronomy is known worldwide, as many palates have experienced and delighted with its wonderful dishes. It is not only the flavor and color of the herbs and spices that give that final touch to Mexican food, but the way in which the succulent dishes are prepared to make them worthy of Mexican gastronomy.

History of Mexican gastronomy

The origins of these foods date back to pre-Hispanic times, where the main ingredient to use was corn, nopales, cocoa, avocado, tomatoes, beans, chili, among many others.

On the other hand, the arrival of the Spaniards caused a miscegenation in the gastronomy of this country, due to the introduction of new ingredients such as sugars, fruits, spices, cereals that little by little were enriching the dishes that today are know.

Thanks to this fusion, the dishes that are currently the protagonists in Mexico and are of great renown and world fame in Mexican gastronomy were born, where mole, chiles en nogada, tacos, carnitas, cochinita pibil, among others.

Typical Mexican dishes

Many of the typical dishes of this country have been declared Intangible Heritage of Humanity, thanks to its wide variety of flavors, below, we will show a list of dishes that today make the Mexican people proud.

Mole: this dish is considered one of the most exotic in the country, it is a Puebla creation, the main characteristic of this food is that it has various types of chilies, seeds, spices, the latter are ground in stone mortars.

This preparation complements a dish that includes meat, mole is a sauce that accompanies it. This sauce is recognized worldwide thanks to its spectacular ingredients and preparation, which makes it an admirable tradition. To give this preparation a sweet touch, a little cocoa is ideal.

Pozole: it is a succulent dish based on broth. It was created for the first time in Cuernavaca, with a main ingredient such as corn and a type of meat is added that will accompany the broth, depending on the region where it is prepared, it can be beef, chicken or pork.

The preparation of this dish consists of cooking the cacahuacintle (large grain corn), then the meat is added, in addition to rich seasonings that complement it and give it that delicious touch such as: lettuce, radish, avocado and chili that cannot lack.

Enchiladas: anywhere on the planet, enchiladas are a well-known dish that has been around the world. It comes from San Luis de Potosí and is made with the famous corn tortillas, stuffed with chicken, beef, pork and cheese.

A sauce made with different types of chili peppers that incorporates beans and cream cheese is also added, which is also accompanied with avocado, lettuce or onion.

The types of enchiladas are different and very varied and everything will depend on the type of sauce that is placed on it, but the flavor is definitely fantastic.

Chiles en nogada: this exquisite dish comes from Puebla, the Augustinian nuns of the Santa Mónica Convent were the creators of this dish to celebrate the Independence of Mexico.

This delicious dish has bright colors in its presentation, which make it a fundamental food of this country. It consists of a poblano chile stuffed with pork or beef accompanied by fruits, while it is covered with a walnut sauce. When served, it is decorated with pomegranate and parsley, which represent the Mexican flag.

In short, Mexico is proud of its gastronomic roots which it has inherited from its ancestors. With these dishes, any palate is enriched with the flavors of this beautiful country and without a doubt, this is how the world knows that it is Mexico.

Venezuelan gastronomy

Another excellent and very popular gastronomy is Venezuelan, there a set of meals is mixed where the flavor and richness delight the palates of all those people who try it.

The practices with the different foods existing in Venezuela, manage to reveal the characteristics of each zone, place or region and constitute values, customs, uses and traditions of the peoples.

All these aspects contribute to the preservation of the identity of each city and town, in addition to minimizing the standardized culture.

The typical gastronomy of Venezuela includes fried bananas, rice and meat, which is usually replaced by fruits of the sea and fish in the eastern part of the country.

The essence of this food is found in cereals (beans, lentils, corn); in tubers such as yucca or potato, as well as plantain and meat stews.

Typical dishes of Venezuelan gastronomy

Arepas: it is about bread for Venezuelans. The arepas are made from corn and can be filled with any type of meat, be it chicken, beef, pork, also with scrambled eggs, ham, cheese, octopus, seafood, there is a great variety for all tastes.

Empanadas: it is a typical food of the eastern part of Venezuela, they are also made with corn flour, but fried and with a slight sweet touch. They are filled with shredded fish, meat, chicken, pavilion, ham and cheese, among other fillings.

Creole Pavilion: considered the typical Venezuelan dish par excellence and consists of shredded meat, white rice, beans or black beans and fried plantains.

Cachapas: it is a tortilla like a two cm thick sweet corn pancake that can be eaten with butter spread and with different types of cheese, in some places in Venezuela it is usually accompanied with fried pork.

Hallaca: this typical dish is traditional in Christmas festivities, it is made with a corn dough, on banana leaves, which is stretched to form a thin cake, on top it is placed a quantity of stew-type cooked meats that include pork, beef and chicken or hen; along with raisins, olives, capers, pickles and strips of onion and paprika.

Then this stew and dough are wrapped by folding the leaves like an envelope, tied and placed in boiling water for an hour.

Quesillo: this is a traditional dessert based on eggs, condensed milk, whole milk, vanilla, a touch of rum and caramel syrup, where all these ingredients are mixed and cooked and finally it turns out to be a kind of curdled delicacy.

Most of these dishes are accompanied with fruit juices (mango, orange, papaya, passion fruit, melon, lemon, pineapple or guava). Another typical Venezuelan drink is papelón with lemon or cane juice with lemon.

Another food that cannot be left out among Venezuelan gastronomy is cocoa, which is known worldwide for its great aroma and flavor. The one most produced in that country is the Creole Theobroma, widely used to make chocolate of the highest quality.

Mayan gastronomy

This time we will talk about Mayan gastronomy, which can be tasted in certain tourist attractions located in the Riviera Maya. In almost all of them, the original Mayan flavor has been adapted to current tastes, although the ingredients that were enjoyed in their origins are still used.

Some of the following foods are the main protagonists in these dishes (meat, corn and chili), which are usually the most predominant in the Mayan gastronomic dishes that are offered to visitors.

Part of the meats used to make the meals come from iguanas, turtles and birds. Later, animals brought by the Spanish, such as pigs, were incorporated.

As for vegetables and seeds, these came from existing crops in the area, such as chili, corn, chocolate, while rice was introduced by the Spanish.

As for vegetables and seeds, these came from existing crops in the area, such as chili, corn, chocolate, while rice was introduced by the Spanish.

It is widely used in tortillas, mixed with chocolate and meats. A Mayan menu can be made up of some appetizers such as: Dzotobichay, which is an omelette with pumpkin seeds and banana leaves or melted tamales.

As for the entrees, they are usually soups, such as Yucatecan lime, Motuleño eggs, zucchini flower, corn, avocado and coconut, among others.

Now it is the turn of the meat, in the Mayan gastronomy they usually use typical animals of the area and many other animals that are raised in the Riviera Maya. An example of this are the turkeys, which were consumed in the area and in some cases domesticated. 

Seafood and fish are also essential, since it is a coastal place and has always had a seafaring tradition. The preparation of dishes based on seafood and fish is a tradition that is part of Mayan cuisine.

Desserts cannot be missing in this kitchen and the fundamental ingredient is chocolate, as well as a wide variety of fruits that are grown in the area. A fundamental element for the elaboration of Xtabentún is corn, which is a delicious typical liquor that is taken at the end of each meal.

Typical gastronomy

In gastronomy the use of specific food ingredients and food preparation methods have been transmitted from generation to generation, these foods are often called traditional or typical.

These typical foods played an important role in the traditions and customs of different regions and cultures for thousands of years, including foods consumed locally and regionally for a long time.

Typical food preparation methods are part of the folklore of a region or country.

That is why typical gastronomy is a food made with the characteristics that clearly distinguish it from other similar products of the same category in terms of the use of typical ingredients or traditional composition, or process method.

Over time, typical foods have been influenced by various factors. One is the availability of raw materials. Therefore, the typical gastronomy is influenced by agricultural habits and location.

A very particular example is that the regions with lower altitude have a different vegetation than the areas with higher altitude; Countries that do not have access to the sea have a lower possibility of fish and shellfish, compared to others that have a coastal zone.

Typical foods have long been developed and most of them are included in people’s daily healthy diet, while other foods fail to meet nutritional needs as they are too high in fat or energy.

That is why today many of these typical foods are being modified the composition of nutrients, to make them more appropriate for this century.

For example, the Mediterranean diet, which has been shown to be of great benefit to health, can function as a model when modifying less favorable compositions of some typical cuisines, encouraging the use of local ingredients.

Characteristics that stand out of the typical gastronomy

The foods with which meals are usually prepared in the typical gastronomy are very easy to find, they are also very nutritious and inexpensive. But something by which the typical gastronomy of the rest can be identified, is that it is based on the following characteristics:

Cuisine of sociocultural reflection: it is the most important characteristic of typical gastronomy. This arises as a result of products from the land of a certain area.

Based on the needs of the people, (influenced by the area where they live and the food they have, that is, seasonal products).

People have been developing different ways of cooking the same product, in this way the popular recipe book arises that identifies different places within the same country or region.

These recipes will pass from generation to generation until they reach the present days.

Basic cuisine: the typical gastronomy is known as a simple kitchen, which has as its essence classic products and lifelong techniques. The food on the fire and the stews manage to extract all the natural flavors of the food.

They were cooked over low heat for hours and for this reason the typical gastronomy constitutes a base on which other types of cuisine arise, such as avant-garde cuisine; As it happens in any stage of life, it is necessary to evolve and in the same way it happens in the typical gastronomy.

Utilization kitchen: in the past our ancestors did not have electrical appliances and technology that currently helps keep food much fresher.

For this reason, one of the characteristics of the most representative typical gastronomy is the use of the products. The same product can be preserved before having to throw it away, with the same food several recipes could be prepared, the imagination in this case is essential to not always eat the same thing.

Read also: Turkish gastronomy; Chinese gastronomy; Asian gastronomy

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