Words Nafeesa M.
Header Credits Alifyah M. (@alifsmurt)
Cooking: Experiment vs. Exact Science
The Art Of Cooking Science
I still remember the day I decided to explore my art, try something new, something more abstract. I had my target in mind, it was for someone special and I was desperate to make it suit their taste. Painting sunsets was my thing, but that day I planned on making the sky convey a different message, something unusual, something unheard of, something intended for one particular person. A piece of art that would allure them into befriending me. An image that would convey my love.
What I learnt that day was the thrill of trying something new, of breaking the norm and exploring the beauty of those same colours, the magic of the same old brush. The possibilities of a tool in the hands of a creative mind. I realized the importance of experimenting after conquering its knowledge. I realized the importance of the first step, the vital step that serves as the purpose to ultimately lead to the main goal – being able to explore. That is when I knew – I became an artist, I became an explorer.
I am an academic writer. Each paper is a new hypothesis in a writer’s mind that he will further prove, contribute to the field of research using his tools of knowledge to experiment something new. Abiding to the established rules, into the galaxy of prospects, I am an explorer!
I am an architect. I study and learn the needs of those I’m building for, understand what comforts my clients; I harmonize their culture, taste, status, mood and wants and create a haven. I’ve never quite built two structures that are the exact same. This perception – of adapting my structures according to every individual by learning from nature – has given birth, inside me, to an explorer!
I am an orator, with the Lego of words I have the possibility of creating artwork that can captivate my audience, grip their hearts, feed their minds and turn them into worshippers despairingly demanding more. Never have I ever delivered the same speech to two different audiences. The pleasure of playing with words, the countless possibilities of images those combinations can portray, has made me an explorer!
I am an artist, an academic writer, an orator, a therapist, an architect and much more, all because I cook! The common overlapping closed curve in the Venn diagram of all these professions is the ultimate skill of experimenting in each project; every single profession is all about exploring, just with different mediums and in different forms.
Cooking becomes an art if it transforms into experimenting, it’s not just a chore then, and rather a way of life that teaches you how to look at the world. An art, one of the few that indulges all your senses, teaches you to be more mindful, to enjoy all the possibilities, to get lost in the beauty of its colours, to let its aroma transport you into a perfect world, and to let it’s taste hypnotize you. This mindset in the kitchen is actually a lifestyle. Trusting your knowledge and being equipped with the skill enables you to dive into an ocean of possibilities and explore a world unknown. It blurs the constraints of boundaries into a vast stretch of innovation, it makes each day exciting, each meal a discovery. To unlock what ‘may be’ on the basis of what ‘already is’.
If you are what you eat, you have all the power to customize the people you feed. You can be a therapist with the soothing hugs of your meal, an orator by the statements your style makes, using the magic of each ingredient like a play on words that mesmerizes the audience. A dish can be a perfect dress, tailored to fit and suit a specific being. A chef is a fashion designer, after knowing the science, he creates his own unique trademark! He has a new theory in his mind and with his experiments he tries to prove his statement. He is an architect, who knows the science of building, and knows the fundamental rule of the learnt science – not stick to an exact formula. He knows the crucial concept of progress, change, and transformation that can only be earned seeking the unknown. Being creative with flour has given us countless varieties of breads, thinking out of the box with bread and left-over gravy has given us our favourite pizzas. Experimenting with the possibilities of eggs can provide your family with a different breakfast for at least a year (cheating once and twice by repeating it, with thin chances of getting caught!). A cook is he who starts exploring, when following with precision he’s still an apprentice.
A cook with such a curious mind is a gift to the world. It is he who is the reason for advancement, with each rising sun he knows that math and science are tools that foster one’s own creativity. It is he who stepped on the ladder, stood on the first step, learnt the exactness of cooking, and was brave enough to reach where the ladder was supposed to lead him whilst many stayed on the first step settling with the daily chores of chopping, mixing and washing. He found the ultimate unnecessary necessity by being creative with his knives and pans, he found the extraordinary in the ordinary, and he found life when others were just living. He was a cook and never failed to see the world as a possibility of something temptingly delicious! Cooking made him an explorer!
After knowing the science of 2+2=4, you can whip some 1, add a pinch of 1 in it, add a smoked 1 for flavour, and sprinkle some 1 on top of it with a magical smile to have some delicious varieties of 4!