An interesting post on the development and applications of molecular gastronomy (MG), both as a term, but also as a phenomenon at Martin's khymos. Most of the relevant links are found in that post as well. Also, many of the comments are relevant and interesting, making the post more complete.
Has MG reached a point of matureness in the sense that it might have some real impact on peoples cooking in general? As mentioned in Martin's post, it has already to a certain extent, such as sous-vide cooking. However, some of the more spectacular applications (foams, alginate spheres etc.) combined with misuse of the term in media has resulted in the term being discredited. In my opinion, the name is not the main thing (although its ok to avoid misunderstandings and establish a common ground languagewise as well). I'll continue using the term until a better alternative gets the main foothold.
"Iberico on window pane". Photo: Naturlegvis/Erlend KrumsvikHowever, I'd be somewhat surprised if we don't see more of the results from MG/research reaching a general public soon. Hopefully, some of the "less spectacular" but more "relevant" or "useful" knowledge might hit the domestic kitchens in not too long. The real test for me is: is this knowledge so relevant to the everyday citizen that I should teach this to my preservice teacher students attending our Food & health courses? A few examples from the top of my head:
- Alginate/hydrocolloid spheres (specifically)? No
- Sous vide cooking? Yes if the focus lies on the method rather than specialty equipment
- Application of knowledge about maillard reactions? Yes/probably
- Application of knowledge about umami taste? Probably
- Dispersions in food and everyday life (two posts)? Yes
Many cookbook recipes might be rewritten just slightly to incorporate this knowledge, giving more flavourful dishes. Furthermore, this knowledge is something that the domestic cook might adopt rather easily. I'd be really happy to see something like this making it into the domestic kitchens around. In that case, MG (or whatever one prefers to call it) does indeed have had an impact.
References (not comprehensive)
Ubbink, J. et al.: "Molecular gastronomy: a food fad or science supporting innovative cuisine?", Trends in Food Science & Technology, 2008, 19, 372-382
Ubbink, J. et al.: "Molecular Gastronomy: A Food Fad or an Interface for Science-based Cooking?", Food Biophysics, 2008, 3, 1557-1866
Martin Lersch (khymos) on definitions of Molecular gastronomy
Kroger, M: "Editorial: What's All This We Hear about Molecular Gastronomy?", Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, 2006, 5, 48 - 50.
This, H. :"Molecular gastronomy", Angewandte Chemie, 2002, 41, 83-88.