Cooking changes over time, just like the world. Classical techniques pair with modern ones, and even our way of viewing ingredients varies.
We hear more and more talk about recycling and eco-friendly cooking. French cuisine has taught us a lot: techniques, how to cut and how to chop, but wastefulness is part and parcel of these methods.
For years cookbooks have taken it for granted that only the best part of a foodstuff is used to make a great looking dish. This and other bad habits originating from poor communication continue to end up in tons of food waste every year. In 2016 we cooks should start taking this issue seriously, reducing waste through knowledge and creativity.
It’s a vicious circle: if a chef produces less garbage and puts to better use “uglier”, less noble ingredients that are nearing their expiry date, a major impact would be had on the cost of the dish, and also the sale price, and therefore the average outlay. In a nutshell, high-level cuisine is possible using recycled and humble ingredients.
Take, for instance, my “Zuppa di Cipolla 90%”, a soup made from 90% of a Tropea onion. All of the onion gets used, apart from the outermost skin: the green part to make a stock in which I cook the center of the onion; consistency and beauty derive from the dehydrated leaves and the roots, dried and fried, lend crispiness. The finishing touch? Extra flavor is added from a grilled pecorino cheese panino.
If we don’t change our approach to ingredients and we fail to learn more about their potential, we are doomed to face a hike in costs and waste. Very little is needed to save the situation: all we have to do is begin by knowing our foodstuffs, by gaining knowledge and learning how to make more informed purchases and how to preserve the food we buy. Our health, wallets and planets will all benefit as a result: it’s a win-win situation.