We kick off this week’s Five with a serious visual feast. Sepia and Tomte Tea put together an absolutely stunning tea degustation, and Eat Show and Tell have captured it in its full, luxurious glory. Sadly for tea lovers (including myself!) this limited event has ended, but there is good news:
— Sepia Restaurant (@sepiarestaurant) March 16, 2013
Eat Show and Tell mention that the events are planned to be quarterly, so look out for the next one.
In the last couple of decades, chefs around the world have been using the science of cooking to explore new culinary landscapes. Although there is an art to it, cooking is also chemistry, and understanding the interaction of ingredients is key to creating a successful dish. In this column Gary Marcus describes how a partnership between the Institute of Culinary Education and IBM is exploring the application of technology to the science of ingredient selection. Although the technology described sounds quite primitive at the moment, it seems inevitable that it will improve over time. The combination of brute computational force with the creative flair of experienced chefs should bring us some exciting new flavour combinations in the years to come!
We’ve recognised the importance of sweet, sour, bitter and salty flavours for centuries, if not longer. But as Amy Fleming points out in The Guardian, western cooking is still puzzling out the “fifth taste”: umami. Though it may not have been explicitly identified, good cooks have found its power through experience. There’s a reason so many Italian recipes use tomatoes, parmesan and anchovies. And I guess it’s the same reason I try to convince unbelievers that anchovies are just like salt on steroids! Seriously, add these little gems to your pizza and pasta sauces and let them work their magic!
Valentine Warner certainly doesn’t have the profile of some of his UK peers (the Jamies, Nigellas and Gordons of the world), so you may not have come across him before. Here’s your chance: he has just launched a new website with a (hopefully growing) collection of recipes. The site looks great, which always helps stir up some inspiration. I especially appreciate the effort to show recipes and ingredients by season: check out the fish and shellfish page as an example. This is no surprise given Warner’s focus on local sourcing in What To Eat Now. Of course it’s not as immediately useful to those of us on other side of the planet, but that’s just the nature of sourcing things locally when they are at their best.
(Via @Good.) I’ll end this Five on a feel-good “human interest” story: that’s the formula, right? In a time where there is much consternation about online slacktivism, an 8 year old in California shows us all how it should be done. Troubled by the plight of slaves, particularly children, young Vivienne Harr decided to do something about it. Her lemonade stand captured the attention of an international audience and has raised over US$50K in the first two months. But Vivienne was not ready to stop yet: her goal was $150K and, of course, she cracked it!