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Does the word "foam" on a menu make your lips curl up?

beekeroc Apr 27, 2010 08:09 PM

I am sure the purpose is to add a depth of flavour, but it just looks watery and un-appetizing to me. Anyone else feel this way?

  1. c
    cheesemaestro Oct 27, 2011 07:52 AM

    One restaurant I know calls it "emulsion." I suppose they think that word will be more appealing than "foam." It isn't to me. A little spittle doesn't titil-late my palate.

    1 Reply
    1. re: cheesemaestro
      sunshine842 Oct 27, 2011 07:55 AM

      an emulsion is mayonnaise...which is fine, and very welcome on my plate (when homemade!) (I know YOU know that...but the restaurant apparently wasn't at school that day...)

      Mousse? Bring it on. Meringue? You betcha.

      But that half-foamy, all-slimy, repulsive looking slick of whatEVER that is doesn't belong on my plate.

    2. Tripeler Oct 27, 2011 12:23 AM

      The word "foam" on a menu? I have absolutely no problem if it is a BEER menu.

      1. sunshine842 Oct 26, 2011 10:37 AM

        I'm totally with you...I have a pretty sturdy constitution, but foams leave me doing fighting the urge to do the "icky-icky" dance like a three-year-old.

        I have yet to see one that looks appetizing enough to actually taste.

        1. s
          Steven977 Oct 26, 2011 04:57 AM

          It does kind of look like spit doesn't it...? =D

          1. b
            bobbert Oct 26, 2011 04:02 AM

            I like foam on the menu. It helps me narrow down the choices of what I'm going to order for my meal. 1st thing I do is eliminate anything with foam.

            2 Replies
            1. re: bobbert
              rockandroller1 Oct 26, 2011 05:47 AM

              +1

              1. re: bobbert
                jmckee Oct 26, 2011 10:28 AM

                THAT comment made my day!

              2. b
                BronzeLioness Oct 24, 2011 06:51 PM

                I haven't experienced foam on food yet, but I think it would be okay if the texture was similar to coffee foam; anything slimy or spit-like would be a bit gross.

                1. wonderflosity May 1, 2010 10:40 AM

                  If I see foam on a menu at a 5 star fine dining place, I wouldn't have any trouble with it. I had an amazing dish with foam at Daniel's in NYC in 2008. Foam at a family run mid priced restaurant on something other than a cappucino? I may be a little wary.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: wonderflosity
                    limster May 1, 2010 11:51 AM

                    Should also include teh tarik. There's a nice foamy version at an inexpensive family run place here in London (and in Singapore they're all over the place in hawker centre stalls).

                  2. Veggo May 1, 2010 05:27 AM

                    It summons up imagery of rabid dogs, and certainly nothing that can satisfy hunger pains. I'm sure the cotton candy crowd loves it.

                    1. gmm Apr 30, 2010 12:06 PM

                      And it also looks just like the stuff spittle bugs leave behind on strawberry plants. Not a pleasant thing to stick your hand into when picking strawberries.

                      1. b
                        beevod Apr 30, 2010 07:40 AM

                        You haven't lived, gastronomically, until you've experienced pastrami foam.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: beevod
                          Perilagu Khan Apr 30, 2010 01:03 PM

                          Likewise with foam of salamander cheek. Preferably crested with a frisee of Paraguayan guava tendrils.

                          1. re: beevod
                            c
                            celeryroot Apr 30, 2010 04:04 PM

                            How about wasabi foam? Actually I believe the foams you describe as spittle are usually poorly made and not emulsified enough. After all technically whip cream is a foam.

                          2. t
                            toomuchfat Apr 30, 2010 04:47 AM

                            Just like any kind of technique, a foam can be good or bad, sublime or atrocious. Have you ever had a badly baked good - burned to "charcoal"? A crappy boiled dish...maybe that looks insipid and watery?

                            I recommend that you try foams at some fine restaurants prior to impugning the technique.

                            10 Replies
                            1. re: toomuchfat
                              thew Apr 30, 2010 04:49 AM

                              +100000000

                              1. re: thew
                                buttertart Apr 30, 2010 06:21 AM

                                The analogy to saliva is what I don't get. It's never looked like that to me in any of the places I've had it. An assumption of what it looks like, perhaps?

                                1. re: buttertart
                                  ttoommyy Apr 30, 2010 07:25 AM

                                  I got the analogy to saliva right away. OK, this is gross, so do not read any further if you get queasy easily, but...

                                  I remember building up spit piles as a kid with my friends and the saliva would be all foamy. Anyway, the foam of the subject of this thread could conceivably look like that. :)

                                  1. re: ttoommyy
                                    buttertart Apr 30, 2010 08:11 AM

                                    Foam used in plating does not automatically translate mentally to foamy saliva in my experience of it at least.

                                  2. re: buttertart
                                    limster May 1, 2010 05:21 AM

                                    Agree! But I think it's a relatively rare analogy. Foams are ubiquitous at cafes, but I've never heard of anyone make that analogy when talking about a cappuccino. Wouldn't be surprised if chowhounds have already gone over the qualities of a good (or bad) foam in the different varieties of espresso-related drinks.

                                    1. re: limster
                                      buttertart May 1, 2010 06:08 AM

                                      Good point. And I wouldn't be in the least surprised if the "heads"on espresso drinks hadn't been exhaustively discussed here - or on coffee forums which must also exist. Speaking of heads, what about the one on beer? It's a fairly dense foam and I doubt anyone would liken it to spit.

                                  3. re: thew
                                    buttertart Apr 30, 2010 01:10 PM

                                    Peep gmm's post below...

                                    1. re: buttertart
                                      thew Apr 30, 2010 09:36 PM

                                      if it's done well, it's etherial and tasty. if i can get that, i don't care if looks like werewolf spit

                                      1. re: thew
                                        buttertart May 1, 2010 04:36 AM

                                        Nor do I.

                                        1. re: thew
                                          Perilagu Khan May 1, 2010 06:56 AM

                                          I cannot so easily dispense with the sense of eyesight.

                                  4. EWSflash Apr 29, 2010 10:40 PM

                                    a tad too saliva-like to have become as ubiqitous as it has, to me. But sometimes it looks really pretty if it's done right.

                                    1. m
                                      ML8000 Apr 28, 2010 12:21 PM

                                      No. Just because it's on the menu, it doesn't mean I have to order it. Any way, sure it was trendy but now if it's on a menu (except for MG places) it has to work or it usually won't be on there.

                                      1. buttertart Apr 28, 2010 12:16 PM

                                        When it's good, it's wonderful. I had a brilliant dish with taro root foam at C3, Claude Troisgros' former restaurant in Manhattan at least 10 years ago that I still remember fondly. It looked gorgeous and tasted divine. Foam needs to be in the proper hands as does any of the more recherché techniques.

                                        1. ttoommyy Apr 28, 2010 09:57 AM

                                          Silly, silly trend. I like to eat food, not a concept of food. It's all the Emperor's New Clothes to me.

                                          6 Replies
                                          1. re: ttoommyy
                                            thew Apr 28, 2010 12:11 PM

                                            did you try it before coming to this conclusion?

                                            (sometimes, to me it seems it's like some austrlatopithicus complaining that cooking meat is a trend)

                                            1. re: thew
                                              ttoommyy Apr 28, 2010 12:44 PM

                                              I've had foams at the best of places. I just don't see their merit. For me they do not add anything but a soupçon of flavor and a measure of pretentiousness. :)

                                              And just for the record, I would never comment on something I had not tried.

                                              1. re: ttoommyy
                                                Monch Apr 28, 2010 12:49 PM

                                                Never tried it, but certainly will if the dish is offered and intrigues me. Probably won't gravitate to the offering simply because it has "foam" in the description.

                                                As I always say to my DW, and it drives her nuts..."No one has ever offered me that. I think I'll try it!"

                                                1. re: ttoommyy
                                                  thew Apr 28, 2010 04:33 PM

                                                  fair enough. however if the soupçon offlavor is what's called for, i''l take the pretention along with it

                                                  1. re: thew
                                                    huiray Oct 26, 2011 11:53 PM

                                                    I'd prefer having the soupçon of additional taste in a non-foam form.

                                                  2. re: ttoommyy
                                                    huiray Oct 26, 2011 11:50 PM

                                                    Ditto re having it at the best of places on plated dishes. Most of the time it still looks like spit to me. Seldom is a positive in making something look appetizing.

                                              2. eviemichael Apr 28, 2010 04:41 AM

                                                The sea urchin soup with sea urchin foam I had this past winter is one of the best things I have ever eaten in my life!
                                                Maybe like PhilD says, you haven't had it well executed.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: eviemichael
                                                  m
                                                  mymomisthebestcook Apr 28, 2010 09:50 AM

                                                  Whats foam? The only foam I know is that on my latte.

                                                2. s
                                                  small h Apr 28, 2010 04:38 AM

                                                  No. And since approximately .01% of restaurants have foam on their menus, I can't imagine this is much of a problem for anyone.

                                                  1. pdxgastro Apr 27, 2010 11:59 PM

                                                    The latest chi chi food trend that makes me slap my forehead. The last thing that got my goat was stacking food in a cylinder. Why?

                                                    1. Honeychan Apr 27, 2010 09:46 PM

                                                      I know that many people think this molecular gastronomy is great..I just think the El Buli type of creation just "too much, and trying wayyyyy too hard".

                                                      I don't get it, and it looks like snail foam. *LOL*

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: Honeychan
                                                        jmckee Oct 25, 2011 09:51 AM

                                                        Anthony Bourdain's take is spot on. Not a direct quote, but he says such things as molecular gastronomy are not about food but about how smart the chef is and how pretty the plate is.

                                                      2. thew Apr 27, 2010 09:13 PM

                                                        no. i've had a few that were brilliant.

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: thew
                                                          PhilD Apr 27, 2010 11:56 PM

                                                          thew - I am with you, done well they can be very good.

                                                          I can't really understand the knee-jerk reaction against them (or El Bulli): is it a fear of the unknown? Or bad execution by copy cats?

                                                          1. re: PhilD
                                                            h
                                                            Harters Apr 28, 2010 10:42 AM

                                                            Bad execution, Phil. Count me in to the knee-jerkers club.

                                                            1. re: PhilD
                                                              i
                                                              Isolda Oct 26, 2011 10:48 AM

                                                              Definitely bad execution. Foaming should only be practiced by those with a license of some sort.

                                                              And there's nothing wrong with having a knee-jerk reaction to a texture you dislike. I love okra, slime and all, but I know many do not, and that's fine.

                                                          2. gmm Apr 27, 2010 08:45 PM

                                                            Absolutely! It completely grosses me out - it just looks like spit to me.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: gmm
                                                              beekeroc Apr 27, 2010 09:24 PM

                                                              Exactly! I could not think of what it reminded me of (but I am good at blocking out gross stuff ) but you hit it on the nail, exactly like spit. Thanks.

                                                              1. re: beekeroc
                                                                BamiaWruz Apr 27, 2010 09:39 PM

                                                                Same thoughts here. I saw it on top chef and iron chef for the first time and don't understand the appeal.

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