Hey, I’m Lucas.
I’m not a formally trained cook, nor have I been mentored by any professional cook.
Despite my lack of formal training, I’m passionate about food and cooking. In fact, I’ve been eating food for nearly thirty years.
The truth is that anyone can learn how to cook well with the right resources. Most people learn cooking by following recipes.
Thing is, there’s a difference between knowing how to follow a recipe, and knowing how to cook. Sure, you will learn a thing or two by following a recipe, but it’s rare that you learn why that recipe works. If you focus on why a recipe works instead of how it’s done, you’ll learn how to adapt the same techniques into other dishes.
Think of the last recipe you followed, whether that was a Grilled Cheese or a Mac’N’Cheese. Why did the recipe ask you to use Gouda not Parmesan? Why are you mixing flour and butter?
Food science can answer every one of these questions. And yes, cooking is a science. Think of it this way, cooking is the process of mixing, combining, heating, grinding, boiling, frying, and slicing organic matter into something that’s nutritious and that your brain recognizes as good food. Cooking is not too different from alchemy.
I set up The Dark Art of Cooking to explain how a dish is made, and why the recipe works. My goal is to make sure that every time you cook something from this website, you walk away with a bigger repertoire of cooking knowledge.
I also want you to learn about the history and origin of each dish. Food is not just about flavor and nutrition. It’s an imprint of the culture and time it stems from. We can pull back the veil on prehistoric times to when man first slammed grain paste onto a heated stone to make flatbread – the same flatbreads we still eat today. We can glimpse into the climate and landscape of Spain within every Paella or learn which ingredients grow in each region in Italy by looking at how their Fritto Misto differs. Each dish is the end result of its environment and the people who inhabit it.
“Cooking is like painting or writing a song. Just as there are only so many notes or colors, there are only so many flavors – it’s how you combine them that sets you apart.”Wolfgang Puck
Oh, and for the record: You use Gouda, not Parmesan, because it has a higher moisture content (~43%) which allows it to melt into a creamy consistency. Parmesan, which has a low moisture content (30-32%), clumps up when heated instead.
Also, mixing butter and flour over heat yields a roux which, when cooked, adds nuttiness and thickness to a stew, gravy, etc.