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The book of scientific arguments also makes it possible to talk about very simple things ... Odile Jacob

During the week of taste, we talk about everything that is good, but maybe not the basics: What is our diet? What to consume and in what quantity? This is the subject of the Big Book of our diet, which RFI met one of the authors, Hervé This.

Eating is having fun, but it's also often a lot of injunctions: " Do not eat that! Or " choose that instead! ". The speeches are misleading, the incentives sometimes misleading. In a period with multiple questions about the food on our plates, we needed the Big Book of our food ( editions Odile Jacob). The chapters entitled "What to eat and how? »,« Are our foods safe? "" The nutritional balance of each ... "got the answers of 25 experts of the Academy of Agriculture of France. Hervé This, one of the speakers in the book, explains: " We must not confuse food and diet, we do not eat food but we eat a diet that is done over a week, a month, the year ... It is not with a color code like "you will not eat fat!" we're doing. I prefer to be taught to eat at school ... "

The Wikipedia page Hervé This is responsible, as his office of the school agro-tech in the heart of Paris, where he met. This physico-chemist is the forerunner of the molecular cuisine, but above all he has a lot of advance and hindsight on the world of gastronomy, and on food in general. For National Education, at the request of the Minister of the time, he developed in 2001 "Experimental Experimental Workshops" to educate children in primary schools to gastronomy and food. Then, from 2004, at the request of the rectorate of Paris, he created the "Science & Cooking Workshops", for colleges and high schools.

Food is not just about technique

" I went around France to do academic training as part of the experimental workshops of taste. I am physico-chemist, my job is the sciences of nature. This is an important political action, but in these workshops I did not just want to impose physics or chemistry. The food is not only technique, I integrate it into its cultural context. "

In one sentence, he explains the origins of molecular cooking that made him famous: " At one point in my life, I realized it was the middle ages in the kitchen, so I decided to improve working conditions, that was molecular cooking! [cook with a siphon to prepare a mousse or liquid nitrogen to make a minute ice cream, ed]

Then he comes back to this idea of ​​taste, this cultural learning to share in the schools of France: " The theory of four flavors is absolutely wrong, it's my fight ... The umami, the famous fifth Japanese flavor, it's in my opinion, it's just one of millions. Look, liquorice is neither sweet nor acid nor bitter. There are not four colors but thousands, it must be said to children for the flavors. "

And Hervé This adds that taste, " that's what we perceive when we eat. It is made of several components. Experience! Pinch your nose and eat herbs of Provence, you will not feel anything. The herbs of Provence, it is fragrant but not tasty, no flavors, one feels nothing in the mouth. Sugar has no smell, but taste. Some compounds have flavor and smell, like vinegar. "

This professor, gourmet scientist is passionate and precise. He combines the exercise with the word very easily: " In the components of the taste, there is the name which influences. Say the word lemon several times, closing your eyes and imagining the fruit. Try, you will see, the thought of lemon makes us salivate, it is a natural mechanism to prevent the acidity of the lemon to attack the mucous membranes, it is a reflex, even without the need of the product ! You realize ! If you drink a glass of wine after this experience, it would not have the same taste. You see, the taste is complicated! "

We must eat all moderately

Hervé This has shock phrases that come back as leitmotiv: " You must know that : One, we are the first generation to not have suffered from famine ! Two, you have to eat all moderately. Three, do not confuse the danger with the risk of being in danger. Certainly, some products are dangerous but the risk of finding them on our plates is limited. With that, we can begin to reason properly about the discourse that is generally given to us ... "

The book, full of scientific arguments, can also talk about very simple things, such as: can we consume alcohol? How much to eat eggs a week? Which oils should I use? The list of questions is long and the answers precise. By approaching the subject through food in general, the book makes you aware of the importance of the food chain, especially with the example of fish and Omega 3, essential in a diet. They are less present lately in fish because they are less well fed. Same for eggs, whose nutritional values ​​will vary greatly depending on the food given to the hen during their breeding.

Why regulate when you do the opposite at home?

The game is a result of everything, nothing is simple but everything deserves to be explained, it's a little bit the step of Hervé This: " Satiety is important, I argue that at school, we learn to eat means to eat in humans and not in animals. When do we stop eating? That's a good question. The satiety results in particular from the stimulation of the sensory receptors, our taste does not serve to make us happy, it serves to send a message to the brain like: "attention, there, you had a taste of meat, it is necessary to prepare you to eat meat " . If one eats slowly, one perceives more the taste of the food which one eats, it is obvious. We must learn to eat slowly so that the body is prepared and that in 12 to 20 minutes, satiety settles. "

Hervé This has his outspokenness: " We have an incredible chance, but some are afraid to eat. Our book is not ideology, but a book of facts, scientists! Then he goes on to say: " In food, we can regulate like smoked salmon, but I still saw the whole of France spend the summer doing barbecues and stuffing themselves with benzopyrene [carcinogenic] , why regulate when do we do the opposite at home ?! There is something wrong. And I'm not talking about tobacco and alcohol, the leading cause of death. It is an intellectual fault, a serious fault, to confuse the great and the detail. It is only when I have managed the big masses that I will be able to take care of the microns that machines hardly detect. "

Food, eating well is controversial, many irrational speeches have emerged, so Hervé This clings to his scientific beliefs: " I wish my children live in a rational world, we are at At the beginning of the Enlightenment, it was not Diderot, it is today! Tyrannies are ideology and stupidity. We must fight ignorance, but we need a happy and enthusiastic fight! "

Who cooks for his family, his friends, says " I love you "

In his kitchen laboratory Agrotech school, Hervé This has not finished experimenting. He shares his knowledge seamlessly on his blog almost every day. But also all his sensitivity that makes him an exceptional observer in the world of gastronomy. He has real advice for all professional cooks or not: " The culinary technique is not difficult. Art is more interesting. The beautiful to eat is often good. But what's really going on in a kitchen? We compose an object, like music. Technique, art in the kitchen, but the message behind all this is: I receive you, I made you food, it's for you that I cooked, and that means "I love you !" Here ! He or she who cooks for his family, his friends or the customers of his restaurant, he tells them " I love you" . And if we are in this idea, the kitchen becomes an incredible act! Let's start like this ... "