• Question: Do you use science in cooking??

    Asked by miamimi to Cesar, Emily, Jamie, Kate, Philippa on 15 Jun 2011.
    • Photo: Philippa Demonte

      Philippa Demonte answered on 14 Jun 2011:

      @miamimi Science can be used in cooking. Have you heard of a tv chef called Heston Blumenthal? He is famous for using scientific methods in his cooking! I don’t use as much science as him. All I know is that if you take a piece of meat, if you put it in a really, really hot frying pan for just a few minutes, this just sears (cooks) the outside of the meat and not the inside, but if you were to put the same piece of meat in a tomato sauce and cook it on a low heat in the oven for several hours, it would cook all the way through and flake apart. I don’t know the exact science behind this, but meat is protein, and I know that the way proteins behave depends on temperature (I found this out during my A level biology mock exam when I accidentally heated a solution containing proteins to a temperature above 40 degrees C and then wondered why I wasn’t getting the reaction I was supposed to be getting, oops!)

      It’s possible to study food science as a subject at university if you’re interested.

    • Photo: Jamie Gallagher

      Jamie Gallagher answered on 14 Jun 2011:

      Cooking is just like chemistry. If I want to go and make some paracetamol or somthing similar then I follow a recipy. Add this, stir for 20 min, add something elese, shake a few times.

      Eggs are a good example too, the colour change of the albumen is due to denaturing the protien. Also the burnt stuff on tost is carbon. Burnt meat causes hetrocyclic amines which cause cancer- that is why BBQ is bad for you.

      So there is lots of science going on in your kitchen!

    • Photo: Kate Clancy

      Kate Clancy answered on 14 Jun 2011:

      BBQ may be bad for you, but it tastes oh so good!

      Yes, I would say I use science because I follow the scientific method as well as use trial and error. These are ways of learning about my environment, like the observations Philippa describes about meat cooking temperatures.

      I love to cook, it is my stress relief at the end of a long day. And my favorite TV Chef is Alton Brown, who sounds like an American version of Heston Blumenthal — it’s all science, especially chemistry. Very fun!

    • Photo: Cesar Lopez-Monsalvo

      Cesar Lopez-Monsalvo answered on 14 Jun 2011:

      Yes, you can use science in cooking. But in my case, I better forget science in the kitchen or the stove may stop working. I love cooking, but labs simply do not like me 😉

    • Photo: Emily Robinson

      Emily Robinson answered on 15 Jun 2011:

      My flatmate is brilliant at cooking and baking but she thinks it is hilarious when she sees me in the kitchen as I will follow a recipe to the smallest detail and measure all the ingredients out very accurately. Whereas she normally just uses a bit of guess work and it comes out perfect!