Posts tagged gastronomy
When North Korean leader Kim Jong-un meets with his South Korean counterpart this week to talk peace on the peninsula, he’ll also be getting a history lesson in inter-Korean relations as told through gastronomy. As the leaders prepare to meet on April 27 at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), Seoul’s presidential Blue House today (April 24) released the menu for the post-summit dinner. The ingredients used represent meaning to those attending the summit, and also honor those who have worked to reunify the Koreas in some way, according to the Blue House
The government-financed Thai Delicious Committee, which oversaw the development of the machine, describes it as “an intelligent robot that measures smell and taste in food ingredients through sensor technology in order to measure taste like a food critic.” In a country of 67 million people, there are somewhere near the same number of strongly held opinions about Thai cooking. A heated debate here on the merits of a particular nam prik kapi, a spicy chili dip of fermented shrimp paste, lime juice and palm sugar, could easily go on for an hour without coming close to resolution.
The number of foodpairs a recipe generates increases exponentially with the number of ingredients. A typical cookbook (and the ones we use here are all modest one) yields anywhere between 700 and 2500 pairs, the number of connections when comparing three books is large and a really meaningful way to visualize a foodpair comparison we have not yet found. Instead we have turned to using the Jaccard Index, a simple formula for comparing similarity in datasets. If two book are absolutely similar (a book compared with itself) the index is 1, if the books are completely dissimilar the index is 0. So how higher the number how greater the similarity.
With a small sample of Piddocks, wrapped in seaweed and chilled to preserve them, we began to investigate the luminiscent properties of the Pholas Dactylus. The eyes must first become accustomed to total darkness for a few minutes and then the dull greenish blue glow of the opened mollusk becomes apparent. The glow is quite strong, clearly illuminating a glass of water and surroundings, and can last perhaps one day. The blue light offers a window into the world of the Piddock, a creature which spends its whole life in darkness, shunning daylight. Hands glow blue after touching the moist body of the Piddock, and if the raw Piddock is placed in the mouth the tongue and breath also glow blue, as indicated by Pliny in ancient Roman writings about the mollusk. The taste of the raw Piddock is equally as indescribable as this strange luminescence; an extreme chemical taste, perhaps stony or mineral, deep and prehistoric, very far from the usually mild seafood experience. All forms of cooking destroy the luminescence, though the raw Piddock can be preserved by freezing.