The Art of Culinary Composition
That beloved scent of Vanilla is only possible, because small creatures help an orchid plant to procreate and at some specific point we humans intercept the growth of the fruit capsules, just before handling them quite contrary to what nature could do by itself. The taste of chocolate we love and the joy we know through it are only possible because we have discovered ways to change the taste and texture of the fruits cocoa plants give. The wonderful smell and taste we are addicted to in coffee is the product of our creativity as well, the result of our efforts, knowledge and adventures, while also handling the fruits of the plants to the point short before destructing it with heat.
It seems to be a natural impulse what drives us to create or recreate, compose and recompose, as laymen as well as scientists have done it for centuries.
Mortars and pestles made out of wood and metal are documented as having been the common form in Europe for making coffee seeds into powder between 1600 and the 1630’s. I find it to be the most effective and enjoyable way of grinding until today. A chemical process takes place, different to other types of grinding, mechanical and electronic ones. Even the physical activity needed makes the food/drink preparation become a more intricate and indispensable part of eating.
“The name spice is derived from the word species, which was applied to groups of exotic foodstuffs in the Middle Ages. Herbs have been used since ancient times to flavor foods and for preparing incense and perfumes. Exotic imports obtained from Asia were particularly appealing to Greeks and Romans, who spent vast fortunes on trade with Arabia, which was the center of the spice trade. Rare spices were utilized in cooking as a sign of wealth in Rome, and later in Medieval and Renaissance times, and the privileged developed an exaggerated taste for spicy foods. Indeed, the term spice could include chocolate, coffee, kola nuts, tea, wine and olive oil, since these mouth-watering delicacies are generally imported from tropical or sunny countries into the more temperate countries of northern Europe and North America to give a zestful taste to food products and beverages.”
The Coffee Mortar
Apples – ooo
Arabica Beans (raw) – Coffea arabica – ooo
Arabica Beans (roasted) – ooo
Avocado – Persea americana Miller – This is the fruit which gives me one of the very very very few reasons to use instant espresso coffee in the kitchen. Its soluble quality and concentrated flavour go very well with the buttery texture and nut-like taste of this exotic ‘berry’. In some cultures Avocados are used with sweet components (Brazil), while in others (like Japan, Mexico, Caribean) it is mostly used for salty dishes. I grew up with them in connection with salt, pepper, lemon, olive oil, alone, in salads or as bread spread. Needless to say they have also been victims of my Coffee Universe, so here it goes…
Basil – Ocimum basilicum Not many small plants enjoy such appreciations in the international kitchen, like basil.
Bay leaf –Laurus nobilis – ooo
Bergamot – Citrus aurantium ssp. bergamia – ooo
Blueberries (dry) – ooo
Blueberries (fresh) –
Brussel Sprouts – Brassica oleracea var. gemmifera de Candolle –
Cane Sugar – ooo
Cardamom – Elettaria cardamomum – this spice is for many original coffee drinking cultures a very important part of the coffee taste.
Cayenne – ooo
Cinnamon – Cinnamonum zeylanicum –
Coriander – Coriandrum sativum –
Eggs – ooo
Fresh Milk – milk did not always accompany coffee in cups. At the beginning were coffee, tea and chocolate not consumed in combination with milk. Though in Vienna coffee found much more drinkers interest when mixed with milk
Garlic – Allium sativum – i do not care about my nose, as long as the palate has its joys beforehand
Ginger – Zingiber officinale – ooo
Juniper cones (dry) – Juniperus communis – ooo
Lemon Grass – Cymbopogon ciatrus – ooo one might think, or better said, one might imagine in connection with ones tongue, that the citrus taste is far away from agreeable with coffee taste. Well, this is not true!
… de tal tierra, tal queso
Nigella (black cumin) oil – Nigella sativa – ooo
Nutmeg –Myristica fragans – ONE thing is on top of the list of things i miss, when i am not in the USA – EGGNOG!
Olive oil – Olea europaea – if anybody knows, where i can get this from Israel, PLEASE!!! let me know… It is one of the most wonderful tastes i ever had in my mouth.
Onion – Ailium sepa –
Oranges – ooo
Oregano – ooo
Pumpkin seed oil – this is THE wonderful contribution of the Austrian culture from … to the human palate (besides great health benefits, especially for men)
Pepper – ooo
Red Beet – Beta vulgaris – luckily i was able to set aside my limited childhood’s conception of this wonderful beet. Today it is not this sliced precooked conserve, but the wonderful and rich earthy taste in raw state for salads and bread
Rosemary – Rosmarinus officinalis – this is in its meaning the ‘Dew of the Ocean’, a very particular and strong scent, which has served for many centuries with several symbols and functions.
Rose Water – ooo
Rum – ooo – one of the most loved pleasure products out of cuba and the caribean culture and since it is as loved and as special as coffee and tabacco, these three MUST be the pilars of one of my favourite compositions – “En und jardincito Cubano”
Saffron – Crocus sativus – ooo
Sage – Salvia officinalis – ooo
Salt – it conserves, it destructs, a bit is enough, a bit too much is much too much… Salt enjoys a strong symbolic power – among others – in the bible
Sesame seeds – Sesamum indicum –
Tamarind – Tamarindus indica – this is a strange “fruit”, it has a very light sweetness but the strongest in its taste is its sourness
Tarragon – Artemisia Dracunculus – ooo
Thyme – Thymus vulgaris – ooo
Vermouth – ooo
Vanilla – Vanilla fragans – ooo
Vodka – ooo
Water – ooo
Whiskey – ooo
Wine – ooo –