Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The Great Debate: The End of Cuisine as We Know it?

For thousands of years humans have developed the style in which we lead our lives. Its ever changing, constantly adapting, sometimes falling backwards as our ideals, feelings, and lifestyles change.

Food is no different.

Since the rise of the first civilizations on the planet we've been adapting and changing the way we view food, cook food, and the social interaction of food.

The dictionary defines Cuisine as:


1. a style or quality of cooking; cookery: Italian cuisine; This restaurant has an excellent cuisine.

2. Archaic. the kitchen or culinary department of a house, hotel, etc.

While in a literal sense this is correct, there is so much more to cuisine. Geography, Terrior, Social Interaction, Religion, and Availability/Trade/Commerce all pay huge rolls in what makes cuisine.

Since the dawn of restaurants we've defined cuisine as what Chefs are making, what's hot and not, and what people are willing to eat. Gone idle by the intervention of interstate commerce, refrigeration, and preservation Cuisine has adapted and changed to fit our day to day needs.

Now on the preverbal twilight of Haute Cuisine, and the rise of the Fast Food Nations we stand at a very frightening time in Cuisines torrid history..

So my question to you is this.

Do you think Cuisine is dying out?

Do you think the ideal of Cuisine being strongly tied to the land, the environment in which we live and obtain our basic animal needs is giving way to something new, something different?

Poll added to the sidebar, Feel free to comment and vote!

Alot of people seem to be voting No to the question, please leave a comment as to why your voting yes or no.


methadoneklinic said...

so why do terms need to be so concrete? Is it unreasonable that the term "cuisine" might evolve as human perception and expectations evolve?

Either way, the subject text sounds so "doom and gloom". Perhaps you should title this post; "The Rise of Vintage Cuisine". :)

The Foodist said...


The idea of true cuisine, the time tested truth of the word and not what we today consider cuisine, is kind of both a general term and set in stone.

Its much like the word Haute Cuisine. The term gets thrown around so much that its lost some of its original intended meaning.

As far as doom and gloom, its sad to say, but it is rather doom and gloom. Weve become a nation that relys on ready to eat meals and spends more time eating at chain restaurants then we do around a dinner table.

Cuisine is about taking the time and effort to create something worthwhile from where you live on your table. Its social interaction as well as ingestion.

Were caught in almost a twilight zone when it comes to honest to god cuisine. The food network during prime time will tell us "oh you can cook a meal in 30 minuts using these canned and prepacked goods" then an hour or so later tell us "heres where you find the best southern BBQ in the USA".

No one learns to cook from their parents or grandparents anymore, we turn to magazines and tv to teach us what "works". If you want to be really good cook, society tells you to shell out 65 thousand dollars to attend culinary school.

Its not without hope. The foodies are up in arms and beginning a movement to return to the land, to return to the table, and to return to our kitchens.

It doesnt have to be doom and gloom, but it will take some effort to make that silver lining appear.