PORK CHOP ICE CREAM BY ADAM RICK
Cooking, like any other art, is catalyzed by creativity. It’s been said that the best way to understand the history of a culture or country is to try the food; and that’s absolutely true.
I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to countries around the world; and every place I go I make a point to try the food, both on the lower and higher end of the spectrum. Across the world, from New York City to Havana, I’ve found that most of the time the most ingenious and creative dishes are often the cheapest.
It’s not hard to turn the best ingredients into a great meal. What’s hard, and what requires creativity, is turning the cheapest and least desirable ingredients into something great. I saw the greatest example of creativity and ingenuity in cooking while I was in Cuba a few summers ago. The most popular dishes in Cuba, everything from Chicharrones to Arroz con Frijoles, were originally created out of necessity; to survive on little.
In fact, most of the dishes we know and love come from working class and peasant kitchens. It’s these kinds of environments, where you have to make due with what you have, that require a special kind of innovation. But in the last few decades or so, we’ve seen that kind of innovation being replaced by a newer, more technical and scientific type of culinary innovation.
Gastronomy, a type of cuisine that blends science and cooking, deals with deconstructed flavors and textures; combining them in ways like never seen before. Who would have thought 25 years ago that restaurants would be turning crawfish into foam or pork chops into ice cream? It just goes to show that there is no end to creating, there is no finite amount of innovations you can make. If you understand the creative process, you will never run out of new ideas.
Creativity is all about taking a new look at things; it’s about getting your head out of the box and thinking of something no one’s thought of before. 300 years ago chefs and cooks created new dishes to be efficient, to make use of everything they had and eliminate waste; nowadays chefs create new dishes for Michelin Stars and Yelp reviews. Whether motivated by Michelin Stars or the need to survive frugally, chefs around the world will continue to see food differently and create newer and crazier things.
We can only imagine what the future of cooking holds.