HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >

Discussion

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

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. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. Absolutely! It completely grosses me out - it just looks like spit to me.

    2 Replies
    1. re: gmm

      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

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

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

      3 Replies
      1. re: thew

        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

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

          1. re: PhilD

            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. 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

            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. 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. 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. 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

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

                2. 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

                    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

                      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

                        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

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

                          1. re: thew

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

                          2. re: ttoommyy

                            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. 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. 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. 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. 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: thew

                                  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

                                    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

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

                                    2. re: buttertart

                                      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

                                        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.

                                      1. re: buttertart

                                        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

                                            I cannot so easily dispense with the sense of eyesight.

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

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: beevod

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

                                        1. re: beevod

                                          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. 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. 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. 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

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

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

                                                          1. 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

                                                              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.