Gastronomy: the art of living Essay Example

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Gastronomy: The Art of Living

Gastronomy: The Art of Living

Gastronomy is defined as the scientific study of food and culture. Gastronomy takes into consideration various aspects of food and culture which are specific to a particular social group. On this point, it is worth noting that culture varies from one region of the world to another. In addition to this, it is important to acknowledge the fact that food makes a very important aspect of culture. For this reason, gastronomy is focussed on studying the eating habits of a specific cultural group. The eating habits range from the types of foods eaten, the method of cooking used, the type of cookery used, the manner in which the food is served and the way in which it is consumed. Owing to the performance bit of gastronomy, it is sometimes referred to as the art of living. Gastronomy is an important element of hospitality and tourism (Gilbert 1992,p..22). When gastronomy is commercialized, it becomes hospitality. On this point, it is worth taking note of famous gastronomies in the world such as the Italian, Chinese, French, African and Indian. Because of this, gastronomy becomes an important tourist attraction; hence its close relationship with tourism (O’Really & Nassau 2007, p.21). The following essay will discuss gastronomyas the art of living. The essay will explain what gastronomy is, it will also outline several provisions of gastronomy, discuss gastronomy as a science and as an art and lastly give the relationship between gastronomy and tourism and hospitality.

The history of gastronomy dates back to two hundred years ago. The word is a French word which has been derived from two Greek works: gastros meaning stomach and nomos meaning law. Therefore, gastrosonomos means the law of the stomach (Scarpato 2007, p.93). Although the word has a long history, its meaning is still disputed owing to its broad coverage. In its basic meaning, gastronomy is concerned about two main elements. The first one is concerned with enjoying the best in drinks and food. On its second meaning, gastronomy is a discipline which is focussed on studying which is related to food including cooking, presentation and eating habits. Therefore, it can be acknowledged that gastronomy reflects eating and cooking. For this reason, it can be noted that it is involved in all activities which are involved in the actual production of food, the method of producing it, the political economy surrounding the production which involves storage, transportation and actual process in, the preparation and consequent cooking, the chemistry involved with the food, psychological and digestion effects of the food to the consumer, choices, traditions and customs associated with food (Scarpato 2007, p.93).

With the developments in gastronomy, there has been the emergence of molecular gastronomy. According to Cousins, O’Gorman and Stierand (2009, p.400) molecular gastronomy have emerged to be a key issue in modern gastronomy and is regarded to as the most recent movement in gastronomy. Molecular gastronomy is a discipline in food science which investigates, explains and uses the chemical and physical changes which occur to the ingredients during cooking in addition to the artistic, technical, culinary, gastronomic and social attributes of food. Molecular gastronomy enables chefs and food experts to explore new ways of cooking (culinary possibilities). This explains the reason as to why molecular gastronomy is sometimes referred to as modern cuisine. Since gastronomy is strongly attached with culture; it is subject to change with cultural changes. This explains the reason as to why there have been several advancements in gastronomy and the emergence of such terms as modern cuisine; all of which illustrate the changes which occur in gastronomy with time. On this point, it is worth noting that globalization; which is the continued interdependence of people around the world has been a major factor contributing to the recent developments in gastronomy. The borrowing of specific cultural elements which includes foods and eating habit has led to the development in gastronomy. As people become eager to explore the gastronomy characteristics associated with other cultures, tourism and hospitality gets a boom.

There are several provisions and principles of gastronomy. Owing to the complex nature of the subject, there are no clear principles which govern the discipline. Each author comes up with his or her own principles. However, all of them show some sort of similarity, which is encompassed by the values of gastronomy. The main principle is that authentic meals must be true to the place (Symons 1999, p.336). On this principle, Symons notes that foods production and preparation is closely related to the place in which it is produced and prepared. The author notes that regions ought to follow the climatic and natural conditions which are associated with the production of the food ingredients. This principle brings out the aspect of place in gastronomy. This explains why specific gastronomic experiences are associated with specific regions of the world for instance Chinese, French and Italian cuisines.

The principles of gastronomy are closely related to its aims and objectives. Just as it is with the principles, there are no clear aims which have been put forward. For this reason, various authors come up with various objectives which they deem dear to gastronomy. Key to the objectives is the relationship between gastronomy and life. The following section will discuss three main aims of gastronomy. One of its aims is to preserve man by providing him with the best possible nourishment. On point, it is important to note that food is one of the basic needs of life. Therefore, man has sought to improve his or her life by making constant improvements in his diet; hence attaining nourishment. From the time man invented fire and saw it fit to cook food, from the ages of food preservation by sun’s heat; the aim of man has been to preserve himself by attaining the best possible nourishment. These activities can be closely related to gastronomy; in fact, they were all aspects of gastronomy, although in an informal way.

The other aim of gastronomy is to give guidance about food to those people who seek it and also to prepare substances which can be turned into food. On this point, it is important to bring into the limelight the modern cuisines which are related to molecular gastronomy. It can be noted that the aim of gastronomy professionals has been to develop substances (cuisines) which can be turned into food. In so doing, gastronomy is able to relate with life. It is also worth noting that there has been a dire need to develop new types of foods so as to accommodate the rising world populations and the declining food reserves. Gastronomy has been one of the key disciplines which have been able to provide the world with amicable solutions on this issue. The third aim of gastronomy is focused on the economic aspect of gastronomy. According to (Scarpato 2007, p.95), gastronomy is the underlying motive behind the winegrowers, the hunters, the fishermen and the famers. In addition to this, the author notes that cooks and other food specialists have a close relationship with gastronomy. On this effect, gastronomy has an economic importance in life in those matters which are related with food preparation which ranges from production to consumption.

From the above, it can be acknowledged that gastronomy is both a science and art of life. With respect to its being a science, it can be acknowledged that gastronomy involves experiments, principles and specific procedures. For this reason, gastronomy is perceived as being a science since it follows scientific principles. In addition to this gastronomy is seen as an art of life. This is because of the fact that it possess the characteristic of an art and that it is directly related to life since it has a major bearing on food which is one of life’s basic needs. With respect to gastronomy being an art, it can be acknowledged that it is performed in that the production, processing, preparation and actual consumption of food are an act which is performed by several stakeholders. Secondly, gastronomy can be said to have been created by humans; just like any other art movement. Gastronomy is believed to have been started formally in 1800. Therefore, the aspect of it being created by humans and not any other supernatural being makes it an art. Thirdly, gastronomy possesses the technical skills of the initiator/maker. On this, it is important to note that various cuisines around the world are specific to the communities or societies which own them (Bratislave 1996, p.22). This makes gastronomy an art. Gastronomy also makes use of creative materials and tools just like any other art. On this point, it is worth noting that the developments in gastronomy are as a result of this creative use of tools and materials. Lastly, gastronomy is reflective of a specific culture, just like any other artwork. From the above, it can be acknowledged that gastronomy is an art of life since it is concerned with food which is a basic need in life. In addition to this, it can be acknowledged that gastronomy has a close relationship with the heritage of a society (Hwang, Westering & Chen 2004, p. 223). Therefore, gastronomy encompasses heritage which in its basic self is an important part of life.

At this point, it is important to bring out the relationship between gastronomy, hospitality and tourism. As pointed out earlier, gastronomy is an important tourist attraction. It can be acknowledged that there are tourists who are interested in exploring the different cultures of the world. In addition to this, it can be acknowledged that in these tourists, there are those who are interested in savoring foods from different cultures. This makes gastronomy an important element of tourism. According to Lin, gastronomy is an important aspect in destination branding (Lin 2009, p.106). The commercialization of gastronomy led to the development of hospitality in the lines of gastronomy; which is also an important element in tourism (Iomaire 2013, p.230).

Concluding, this paper has been able to give a deep insight into gastronomy and its relation to life. The paper has identified that gastronomy is the study of food which ranges from its production ton actual consumption. The paper has found out that gastronomy changes from culture to culture hence the existence of varying cuisines in different parts of the world. From the paper, it has come out clearly that gastronomy is both a science and art. The paper has given several characteristics of an art which are associated with gastronomy. The paper has also given an insight into molecular gastronomy which is one of the recent developments in gastronomy. From molecular gastronomy, it has been seen that gastronomy changes with the changes in human life; just like any other art of life. Lastly, the paper has given an insight into the relationship between gastronomy, hospitality and tourism. From the paper, it can be concluded that indeed gastronomy is an art of life.


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