To the true gastronomic enthusiast, food is everywhere; in the heart, soul, and spirit. But more than that, it is the magic surrounding this realm of food that draws us, boundless lands waiting only to be explored. Your senses are your tools: sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing.
To look upon something requires the gift of sight; colour distinguishes the state of your cooking, and vegetables, once wilted away into yellowed soggy lumps will never again return to their state of fresh and vibrant youth. It goes withint saying, then, that sight is of great importance for those immersed in the culinary path, the one of five keys that place one on the path to mastering cooking.
There is research to proove that our memories are triggered by smell. How many of us can recall moments of epiphany, when familiar aromas from bubbling pots tug at our heartstrings, bringing us back to a yesteryear of home-cooked food? In the culinary world, the gift of smell serves to alert a chef as to the readiness of his cooking; spices that are pan-fried until fragrant, herbs that add delicious aromatic undertones when thrown into main dishes.
Taste-checks: a facet of cooking that many find to be inspirational, when witnessed. The deft dipping of a spoon into a saucepan of hot, deliciously-steaming sauce, and the look of thoughtful consideration worn by the chef thereafter is almost always synonymous with good food. To taste enables one to streamline the dish, thus suiting the fancy of those it is cooked for. Sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and even umami—these flavours are perceptible through the sheer power of taste.
There is a distinct feel, an air that surrounds the kitchen of any top restaurant chef. To cook by feel is a learnt art, where no texture goes unnoticed. There is much to feel on a physical level; the warmth of a frying pan, the textures of your ingredients; wrinkled squash skins and tender cutlets of meat. On a deeper level of understanding, however, it becomes an instinctive artform, one that takes years of honing, and a yearning passion to cook beautifully.
Listen to the soft whistle of fire beneath your frying pan. The faintest whispers of a crackling sound arise from within your skillet as the oil begins to bubble, a slow, rhythmic sound that escalates into a symphonical melody. Then, as food is slid into the oil to fry, it becomes a musical masterpiece; crackle, pop, whizz. To see your food is not enough; one begins to appreciate the music of food when immersing oneself in the culinary arts. It is, after all, a very fine thing.