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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Alinea 6: The stacked sphere

A tradition in India is the tiffin, a stacked metal contraption holding a series of compartments that allow the transport of the many components of a proper Indian hot lunch. The nearly error free delivery of tiffin containers without the use of computers continues to be the subject efficiency research, but it is the structure of a tiffin container that I am invoking. Despite possibly holding multiple sections, a sealed tiffin is a standard sized cylinder with a handle. As we began our next course in Alinea, we were presented with a rather large while ceramic ball, which had an indentation on top. And within that indentation, lay a beautifully decorated scoop of rutabaga gelato, atop some kind of herbed gel. The attention to detail of the small garnishes is really quite impressive.

After we at that, the top hemisphere of the ball was removed to reveal that the interior housed some steamed and fried rutabaga, apparently cooking within as we ate the chilled version of the vegetable. Notice that the food sits atop a slotted platform.

That's because what was steaming the dish was yet another version of rutabaga, cooked in cream and onions, texturally soft, but savory only in the way a root vegetable cooked in milk can be.

I enjoyed this progression of treatments of rutabaga, moreover how the whole thing is carefully calibrated in temperature and insulation to be revealed in time for eventual enjoyment. Ceramic affords this progression like no metal tiffin can, but should be interesting what Mr. Achatz can do with it.

Previously on this series:

Alinea 5: The Ikea Course
Alinea 4: Clarity
Alinea 3: Chinky Chicken
Act 2: Green
A symphony in 21 acts

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