People get confused by our voices on the phone. During the time I worked in pharmacy, operators where desperate as they thought they are calling the same place again. By coincidence, once we both picked up the phone in the pharmacy but I was on the other side of the city. We studied together at the university, Faculty of Pharmacy, for 5 years, not to mention our childhood during which we spent every single summer together. Today it is still a bit like before and still a but different. The truth is, that we couldn’t fit one air mattresses and also we would not dare to jump in to the muddy oxbow lake behind the cottage. It used be a big adventure for us. During our road trip to Tuscany we felt into passion of food and since it haven’t stopped. Our first discussions about food started somewhere during our childhood while roasting potato chips on an old rusty hatch of green barrel coming from the factory in Nove Zamky. How about today’s hysteria around fumes and carcinogens! Today, we have a good laugh about it, remembering my mum who wasn’t laughing when she saw us eating what we baked.
The faculty of pharmacy left us with some deformations but on the other hand we left some remarkable traces in the school too, and some professors will not forget. Kiro loves food and music. He sees in the connection in both. He tries to play on everything he can, and it is the same with the food. He tries many cuisines and tastes. Music and a taste have the same time track. In both cases they leave in me a certain trace which records a certain memory. It is important for me to listen to a lot of music and taste everything during my trips around the world. It is enough to hear some tunes and taste them in my mouth, those show me the certain information or a story I lived. A taste changes to hearing and sight, and tunes change to taste and sight.
Only now we realize how much we took from our school to the kitchen. I would not think that before. While cooking we talk about Pharmaceutical Technology, biochemistry and microbiology. For some, it can sound strange, but the truth is that the modern cuisine needs all these disciplines. When cooking on a high level you cannot use the methods of trial and fail. Nowadays, chefs invest money into higher education at the universities to understand biochemical and microbiological processes which are common in meal preparation. Everything has rules even though you want to improvise while cooking.
Pharmacy lab in the kitchen „For me the emulsion has most often a galena form which I use in the kitchen“ Kiro says. Emulsion consists of 2 insoluble fluids. Using the right emulsifier these 2 fluids will connect to emulsion. A good example is cold sauce vinaigrette. In the recipe you ll find as the first step to mix oil and vinegar. Mechanical breaking of vinegar drops to small ones; it has to disperse in the oil. You connect liquid phase with a fat. This emulsion will not mix until you start to add mustard slowly. And then you speed up the mixing. Emulsifier decreases the surface tension of vinegar molecules and like this it bonds molecules of fat. Using principle of emulsification we prepare all cold sauces. The most commonly used emulsifiers used to cook are flour, butter, milk, egg yolk, cream, mustard, mayonnaise.
Not only is a work with the whisk but also a melting point important. So called Maillard reaction is part of chocolate cooking, a reaction of sugars and protein creating caramel color. Apart that, during this reaction an acrylamide is formed, a substance produced by increasing temperature which is toxic and potentially carcinogen for a human body. Using high temperature a thermic breakdown occurs and also a fast oxidation of lipid structure which leads to a chocolate clamping. This type of mixture is a trash, I would not continue to work with or eat it. In the pharmacy, I work with cocoa butter which has a very low melting point. In case I overheat it, the fast oxidation occurs in a way that the butter even after cooling stays liquid, and becomes a trash. Each lipid structure has a different number of carbon atoms in the chain. Melting point increases by increasing number of carbons in the structure which means that a lipid has a higher heat value and is resistant to overheating.
On the other hand without Maillard reaction there would be no cooking or baking. All the nice brown coloring when baking bread or grilling a steak that is it. Don’t panic because of a toxic stuff and don not perform a cremation while cooking, some call it cooking or roasting and they try to cover a burnt hard meat with cheese or peach. Apage satanas! I would say. Some are brave and while being on air on TV they call it a tradition. I can be quite nervous about statements like this. Tradition doesn’t mean to prepare a fail covered in soviet elegance on the TV show. Tradition is the point of living and survival of our ancestors. The way they used all treasure of regions, nature and farms. The way they were able to utilize every single raw material, by growing and breeding. Using invisible nature processes with food which was available only in certain regions and under specific circumstances, Kiro says. Restaurant like Noma and Fäviken are based on these principles.
The next pharmaceutical process is maceration. In the kitchen we call it soaking. In reality it is a maceration of aromatic substances from spices and herbs. Marinade should have an acid ph. Acids are causing a denaturation of proteins in muscles and create so called tunnels in the structure. Maceration also depends on the muscles of the meat. Beef meat marinates only on the surface but a chicken meat absorbs a marinade much better thanks to an acid which gets deeper into the meat.
Milk and curing
I am fascinated today by milk and probiotic cultures. It is amazing how nature can deal with it. The insight of udder is colonized by a natural micro culture. It is interesting that in different parts of the world there are different probiotic cultures thank to which milk has a unique taste and structure. Milk is like a diary of the place where the cow lives. I buy milk from the same place and it is nice to observe a taste of milk which changes are based on the food intake of the cow. I admire all the producers of parmesan who are artist for me. They can keep always the same milk density no matter what cow etc. We cannot imagine that we wouldn’t have at home our own milk based products. Like yoghurt, curd, etc. My home made production got to a stage that today I shop fruits and vegetables and only sometimes I buy butter and flour in the grocery shop.
All meat we have comes from a farm or a hunt. For me and my wife Veronika shopping in the supermarket is a form of a punishment. We both have a homemade production. I remember being so happy when I first time made my homemade pasta. Inspiration came from my visits to Tuscany. This year challenge is curding. In our family we have a strong tradition of sausage making – Csabajka, and I wish to continue in keeping this tradition. It is not difficult to make a good sausage but it is difficult to curd it right for some days. A sausage will be the highest level of curding for me, this year I will start with fish and hopefully we will taste my fist sausage on New Year’s Eve of 2017.
Written in the blood
Kiro claims that the hunting and butcher genes are coded in us from our ancestors.“ I realized that when I had to clean a rabbit from the hunt. Something in me lead my hand to perform the right moves, like an instinct. It is unbelievable what type of information we have written in our genes.“ Kiro says. One grandad (Macek) was a passionate butcher and gardener, the other one was a musician, a tutor in an art school, teaching accordion, piano and violin. He inherited some from each. It was interesting to learn what type of old genetic information are in our blood. Apparently, his oldest ancestor was Sandor Petofi, nee Alexander Petrovic, he was an Hungarian poet of a Slovak descent, one of the important personage from Hungarian revolution in 1848. This might be continued.