I'm having a hard time sitting still at my desk today. It's a good thing we're super busy and short handed. It will help the day go by and if I was bored, as I usually am, I would probably be going out of my mind right now or I'd say "screw it" and surf the web. I'm still kind of on a high from last night's class and I want to just let me mind wander and drift over everything we discussed.
The five cultures we'll be covering in World Cuisine this first trimester will be Italy, France, India, Chinese, and Japan. It would be impossible to learn all there is about any one of these cultures and it's food if we spend all three years studying nothing but it. Instead, Chef told us we will be focusing on the main aspect of the culture and it's contribution to food, particularly as it relates to us here in America.
From Italy we will learn about their passion for food. Italians don't care much for organization or structure because they feel it robs them of the emotion and passion that they have for food. From France we will learn the opposite: structure and organization. The French didn't create classical cuisine but they were the first to write everything down, give everything a name and record it all, so they parented cuisine for the entire world through their organization. India knows more about spice than any other culture could dream to. However, they don't worry much with technique. They cook a lot of things in a lot of similar ways and spend their time more with seasoning and spice. On the other hand, the Chinese are all about technique. Because there are so many people in China and so little resources they had to get very creative with how something was prepared, more so than what was prepared. And lastly, from Japan we will take the notion of perfection. Nobody is more obsessive about perfection than the Japanese. When you look at history and study Japanese sword making, calligraphy, even drinking tea, they perfect everything they do. Sushi is the perfect example. In a nutshell, it's just raw fish and rice. But the Japanese don't accept "just," over decades and centuries they have perfected sushi. Which fish to use, what angle and thickness to cut it at, even the vinegar rice has been (and is being) perfected to no end by the Japanese.
I can't wait to keep digging deeper... (and what will Wolrd Cuisine II consist of?!?)