Molecular Gastronomy - Where Science Meets Cuisine

Strip Steak and Beet Foam

Pepper Crusted Strip Steak with Chocolate Salt, Beet Risotto, and Beet Foam. Photo courtesy Rosendales.
Pepper Crusted Strip Steak with Chocolate Salt, Beet Risotto, and Beet Foam. Photo courtesy Rosendales.

May I introduce you to strip steak accompanied by an airy beetroot froth? Perhaps an olive alginate? Or, for your sweet tooth, caviar-capped white chocolate? Or shall I simply demonstrate the unboiling of an egg?

Odd and unfamiliar language, ingredients, equipment, cooking processes, and food combinations dominate the conversation about cooking when the topic is molecular gastronomy.

Beetroot froth? Alginate?

When it comes to dining on the spectacular dishes concocted by chefs who excel in these new cooking styles, your brain will make new sense--or nonsense--of the textures and tastes in your mouth, aromas in your nose, and forms, colors, and shapes before your eyes.

What Is Molecular Gastronomy?

In the pure sense, molecular gastronomy is the scientific study of the chemical and physical processes that accompany cooking.

Today, this term has also, rightly or wrongly, come to describe a style of cooking that creative and forward-thinking chefs have developed using advances in science, technology, and even psychology.

Science Disproves Myths about Cooking

The science of molecular gastronomy has given us knowledge about why foods do what they do, under what circumstances, and how. And it has fascinated us by busting myths such as these:

  • Oil added to boiling water prevents pasta from sticking to the pan (it doesn't)
  • The consistency of an egg that makes it hard- or soft-boiled depends on the amount of time spent in boiling water (it depends on the temperature of the water)
  • Searing meat at a high temperature before roasting seals the juices in (it doesn't)
  • Green vegetables retain more color and nutrients when cooked in a covered pot (it doesn't matter whether the pot is covered or not)

Molecular Gastronomy - The Science

Although centuries of cooks practiced successful food preparation using techniques they learned from others or developed on their own, and centuries of scientists brought the scientific method to the task of explaining the world we live in, not until recent years did scientists investigate the chemical and physical processes involved in cooking food with the rigor accorded to the other objects of their studies.

In 1980, Hungarian-born physicist and cooking enthusiast Nicholas Kurti coined the term molecular gastronomy to describe the discipline of physical science as it is applied to understanding traditional cooking methods. At the same time, French chemist Hervé This (yes, This is his name, pronounced "tiss") used the term in his scientific investigation of cooking myths. By 1986, when the two scientists met, molecular gastronomy was well on its way to becoming a specific scientific discipline.

Debating What To Call the Style

From chow.com, these words of wisdom: Don't call it molecular gastronomy. Like hippie or Tex-Mex, the term molecular gastronomy has stuck in the public consciousness as the de facto name for the science-lab brand of cooking we're talking about here...However, the chefs who cook this way think it's a dumb name and have said that "molecular gastronomy is dead."

Molecular Gastronomy - The Style

The experimental styles in culinary arts that both coincided with and followed the establishment of the science of molecular gastronomy soon were called by the same name. Because so much of this experimentation included new understandings of the science behind the cooking and the use of ingredients and processes that were the offspring of high-tech development, the name stuck. However, more chefs and gourmands than not would rather call this style "modern", "forward", "experimental", or even "deconstructionist". The debate about what the style is called is hot, and I'm going to let the scientists, chefs, and chroniclers of food duke it out for themselves.

This on That

So What's It All About?

Key to the challenge of cooking in this new style is the accomplished and creative use of ingredients, equipment, and processes that have come about through the application of molecular gastronomy principles.

New-style cooks include an understanding of the physical and chemical properties of foods when they explore ingredient combinations. They also use both traditional laboratory and high-tech equipment to create their masterpieces. And they experiment with processes that have their roots in science labs and commercial industrial enterprises. When art, creativity, and the love of pleasing are added to the mix, new-style practitioners create amazing edibles that surprise, fascinate, and even astound.

Ferran Adria Demonstrates Olive Alginate

Ingredients

Many of the seemingly novel ingredients in this new style have been mainstays in the commercial food industry for quite some time. Now, practitioners of this new style use these ingredients on a smaller, more intimate scale. Here's a sampling of some of these quite scientific-sounding ingredients.

  • Agar agar, a gelling substance derived from algae, used to thicken liquids
  • Sodium alginate, an emulsifying agent also derived from algae, used to create self-encapsulated spheres of liquids or purées
  • Tapioca maltodextrin, a food starch used to create powders out of fatty substances such as nut butters and bacon fat

Equipment

The equipment used in this new style of cooking is an interesting mix of scientific laboratory tools and high-end kitchen appliances and utensils derived from their laboratory cousins.

  • Gas torch, used to caramelize sugars and brown meats
  • Ultra sonic bath, used to make mayonnaise in seconds
  • Büchner funnel, for vacuum-filtering solids from liquids
  • Rotary evaporator, for distilling liquids without heating them, thereby retaining the delicate aromas that are lost when aromatic liquids are subject to heat
  • The Anti-Griddle, which is exactly what its name implies, a space-age appliance that instantly freezes food placed on its super-cooled stainless steel surface
  • Paco Jet and Clifton Food Range

The Anti-Griddle

Frothing or Foaming

Processes

Some processes now used in the new styles already existed in the commercial food industry, just as some ingredients did, but it took the commitment to the new style to bring the processes from the factory to the kitchen.

Here are a few of the more widely used processes.

  • Spherification, where liquid is reshaped into a sphere whose "skin" is a gelled form of the liquid
  • Sous vide, or cryovacking, where food is vacuum packed in plastic and then cooked in warm, temperature-controlled water to a desired doneness
  • Flash-freezing, either by pouring liquid nitrogen over a bowl of food or by placing food onto an Anti-Griddle
  • Frothing or foaming, where vegetable or fruit juice is mixed with gelatin or agar agar and then either propelled through a pressurized canister or aerated by hand

Mango Ravioli

Experiencing Molecular Gastronomy Today - Getting Past the Science Vs. Style Debate

The new styles challenge your food and science knowledge as a cook, and your physical senses and mental perceptions as a consumer. Here are some experiences you can expect to have while enjoying this culinary expression.

  • Foods that are not what they appear to be, such as an egg yolk made from mango, or "pasta" made from vegetable juice and gelatin
  • A kind of reversed Baked Alaska dish, a presentation which is frozen on the outside and hot on the inside
  • Delicate, airy foams of natural flavors served in elegant glassware or complementing another food item
  • Printed menus you can eat: starchy vegetables are pressed into a paper-like texture and then printed with edible inks
  • Spheres of liquid juice or purée covered in a thin membrane of themselves, which resemble caviar and burst with intense flavors in the mouth

Moto

Restaurants

If you love unusual food experiences and would like to sample the best of the best in experimental cuisine, browse these restaurant sites for fascinating videos, photos, and even some recipes. If you'd like to visit El Bulli, good luck! This extraordinary restaurant seats 8,000 guests per season out of the 300,000 who request reservations.

The Internet is Ablaze with Information about Molecular Gastronomy

Search the term molecular gastronomy and plan to spend more time than you'd like delving into the layers of the science, the styles, and the debates. Here are some excellent sites to include in your journey.

  • A detailed review of the history and definition of molecular gastronomy at WikiPedia
  • Cooking with chemistry, from Chemistry World, the application of scientific principles to the understanding and improvement of small-scale food preparation
  • khymos.org, the site and blog on molecular gastronomy and its derivative styles today
  • An inside view into why Philadelphians are mostly detached from the movement, and maybe why many of us feel ambivalent about it
 

I'm about to call it a night with a dish of strawberries graced by celery leaves frosted with sugar, and a crystal goblet of beetroot froth.

Bonne nuit, bon appétit!

© 2008 Sally's Trove. All rights reserved.

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Comments 74 comments

fishskinfreak2008 profile image

fishskinfreak2008 8 years ago from Fremont CA

Very interesting. I thought that all scientists were health freaks until my sophomore year of high school when my biology teacher who happened to be the mom of one of my closest friends asked me if I was crazy for thinking that.


msms profile image

msms 8 years ago

Sally's Trove!

Beautiful very beautiful.... I was searching for this concoction of Chemistry and cooking... Great Job Sally's Trove

Thanks / Mahendra


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 8 years ago from United States

Wow you craft a great hub.


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 8 years ago from India

Foodcraft at its best - thanks for giving us a peek into the modern art world of food Sally


sceptic profile image

sceptic 8 years ago from Christchurch, New Zealand

I really don't like beetroot but man that dish looked so nice!


pgrundy 8 years ago

Fascinating! A year and a half ago I moved from IN to Kalamazoo MI, and they have much more interesting restaurants up here. There is one called "Food Dance" that uses some of these techniques and it's a great place. Fabulous hub, Sally. Thanks!


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Bowen, Herve This in his video dispels that notion right away, doesn't he? Thanks for commenting. :)


FlyingPanther profile image

FlyingPanther 8 years ago from here today gone tomorrow!!

Sally, this is all interesting thank you so much for sharing with us,like always great hub!!

FP


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Thank you, Mahendra. This Hub was a combination of joy and angst to write. I started off on another topic entirely, and wound up writing about molecular gastronomy quite by accident, and then lost a day's work on it when my file got corrupted. This is all by way of saying that I am so glad you used the word *beautiful*...the food in the new cuisine is quite beautiful, and writing this Hub really tested my patience, but I was determined to do the subject justice. I'm very happy the beauty came through.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Tom, I'll take that as a compliment, and I'll thank you for it!

Shalini, you are so welcome. Indeed, the stellar productions coming from talented new cuisine chefs are works of art. Ah, it's a blessing and a curse that something so beautiful and inspiring, something that marries the senses so exquisitely, is gone so quickly, in just a brief moment of consumption, never to be preserved for a second experience. Glad you enjoyed this Hub.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

sceptic, good news for you and everyone else. You can find the recipe for this gorgeous dish here:

http://www.thisweeknews.com/live/content/food/reci...

In your case, I guess you'll leave out the beet part, but then that will make the risotto a different color. Oh well, guess we can't always have everything!


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Pam, I had to chuckle at your comment. You might remember that I'm from Indiana, and all I can say is that I hear you!

But I'm sure that's changing. Hey, even the great cosmopolitan city of brotherly love is having a hard time getting with this program, and Philly was one of the premiere cities of cuisine innovation in the 70s and 80s.

Now, if we look at the electoral map, state by state....perhaps there's some understanding coming via correlation between cuisine experimentation and politics? LOL


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

Hello Sally! What a very interesting hub, marvelously written. A real "source book" on the new Molecular Gastronomy. As someone who watches many cooking and food shows, I have seen this new way of preparing food, but have never tasted it. So that is where I speak from.

Food preparation has always been an art, and visionaries will challenge known methods of producing said art, just as we now accept works of expressionism as great paintings, very new and daring (and ridiculed) during it's beginning and developing years. Somehow, food strikes me as different. This new cuisine is beautiful to look at, and so is a Monet but I don't want to eat one. A particular food is so directly related to our personal experiences: with a time, a person, a remembrance, a kiss, a family, whatever, but deconstructionist food holds no history. Is it interesting? Yes. Is it remarkable? Yes. Do I want to try it? Yes! But it is a vanity for the rich and, I'm sorry to say, the pretentious. Most of the people will never get to taste it, and (almost) no one will ever make it.

Of course, you have not proposed that "forward" cuisine will ever replace...oh, say a perfect homemade tomato soup (a little plug for you there), it does arouse feelings in me, and that IS one of the things a new art is supposed to do. It is an interesting process with facinating results, but it is a trifle, to be enjoyed on occasion, and perhaps marvel at, like an avant guarde theatre event, which may make for a very interesting evening, but it won't replace Shakespeare. Until the day there are carts on the streets of New York selling deconstructed hot dogs with mustard foam and reverse flash-frozen kraut, I guess I'll have to watch it on TV.

As usual, a deep, thought-provoking hub, as skillfully rendered as an unboiled egg, I remain, your ardent fan. Thank you.


spryte profile image

spryte 8 years ago from Arizona, USA

Sally...I'm sitting here with my mouth open going wow! It's not often a hub covers something I know absolutely nothing about and I was glued to this from start to finish. Fascinating stuff with a great touch of humor to add the proper spice! A fine piece of molecular writing ;)

Anyway, thanks to your hub, I am adding another item to my bucket list. I simply have to be able to try one of those restaurants one day. What fun!


Feline Prophet profile image

Feline Prophet 8 years ago from India

Most interesting, Sally...I'm so glad there are people out there who take food this seriously! :)


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

FlyingPanther, I thought you'd enjoy this Hub because of your culinary talents. Thanks for the good words!


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Christoph, I see you feel strongly about the subject. :)

You propose intriguing questions, among them:  what is art and what is enduring art; how is the choice of an eating experience related to memory and emotional need; what are the ethics of an endeavor that is limited to the wealthy when that endeavor is based on something we need in order to survive; what impact do the words we use to describe food have on its gastronomic appeal; what future doors to art and cuisine might this experimentation open.

In my ongoing research on this topic, it is clear that many buttons have been and are being pushed, everywhere, one example being the current debate about what to call this "movement", and another being your thoughtful comment about vanity and pretentiousness.  For me, the fascinating question is, "Why is this topic so controversial?"  Clearly, most everyone has strong feelings and opinions about food, but I think that's only part of the answer.

Now, about my tomato soup (thank you for the plug!), I'm trying to figure out what I have to do to it to refine the texture before I put it into a pressurized canister for foaming, or before I attempt to aerate it by hand.  Don't you think it would look beautiful as a foam mounded on a flat plate, garnished with sugar frosted parsley leaves?  Maybe I can call it something like Tomato Soup Cloud.  What do you think?

As always, I love your comments and thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts.  Our Hub topics are always enriched by your contributions.

Your loyal fan, Sally


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Spryte, I am so glad you enjoyed this Hub. Just before I started to put it together, I searched HubPages to see what else had been written on the topic, and I was very surprised when the search returned no results. I think MG is a topic of great interest to a few, but of limited interest to most, for some of the reasons that Christoph points out. It is another world altogether.

I bet we'll see a Hub from you about your first experience with experimental cuisine, and I can only imagine what a most enjoyable read it will be!


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Feline Prophet, you echo my sentiments exactly. I, personally, don't have much interest in carrying on my own experimentation with these ingredients, tools, and processes, but I am grateful that others do, because I think there's still a lot to be learned, to the benefit of us all.


hot dorkage profile image

hot dorkage 8 years ago from Oregon, USA

Arghaffa! This is truly amazing stuff. Every time they do something like this with special equipment some home cook finds a way to duplicate it, never mind the time/materials cost. But the recession has already hit us. We will be dining out considerably less in the forseeable future.


annemaeve profile image

annemaeve 8 years ago from Philly Burbs

Sally, you've done it again - what a marvelous Hub! I echo Spryte's praise when I say that you've both informed AND entertained me on a new subject.

I know how painful it was for you to pull this Hub back together after your computer ate a whole day's work (could your PC be experimenting with electronic foodstuffs?). But from great pain comes great art! I'm proud of you for getting this out to the HubMasses.

I've seen a little of this stuff on TV (the guy who makes ice cream shaped and textured like full-plated meals is my favorite), but I don't know if I could ever take myself seriously enough to go out in public and eat it. Beet root foam? UNGH. I'd rather run a wisk through some warm mud and call it hot chocolate.

Do you think the diner we're going to after voting on Tuesday will make me an agar agar and cheese omelette?


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

Sally: Yes, what you said. That what I meant. As for your Tomato soup foam, Ok, you sold me. When do we...umm...let it dissolve in our mouths?


marisuewrites profile image

marisuewrites 8 years ago from USA

Maybe I should try cooking my breakfast bacon with a blow torch...naaa I'd set the kitchen on fire, the stove is way too close to the wall...now, I could go after lynn with the torch, give him a little fast burn...sort of a Spherification...of it's own. LOL boy, has cooking ever risen to new heights in knowledge and abilities, as well as equipment.

A brilliant and informative hub; 212 degrees HOT!!, Sally's Trove, as usual you outdo yourself in putting together another educational and entertaining article.

Did you really put beetroot froth on your strawberries??? say it isn't so! (Loved the froth video....romantic beet juice, who knew???)


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 8 years ago from Oklahoma

sally, this is great, not only did you give so much information on the subject but you made it interesting. I have also watched shows on the cooking channels and have seen some of the techniques you described here, and did not know they had a whole category that they fell under. I guess it is a form of art, I had never thought about it as that until Christoph pointed it out. As for eating a piece of art, people do it all the time with fruit sculptures and cakes. Food has to look good if people are going to eat it. So I guess in that sense it needs to be a form of art.


spryte profile image

spryte 8 years ago from Arizona, USA

Sally - As a follow up,...

Evidently your hub made a very big impression on me since it entered my dream last night. There I was at a restaurant trying to order a simple cheeseburger with mayo, lettuce and tomato...and it kept arriving with beet juice foam. I kept sending it back...and it would arrive with some other experimental thing done to it. Finally I was so frustrated I started yelling..."Can't I just have a simple CHEESEBURGER, please!!!?"

The message is obvious. While I would love to try this just because it is fun, pretentious, silly, unusual, whatever...my subconscious has just informed me that it would prefer to go to Burger King. *sigh*


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

HD, I never ever heard of or saw "Arghaffa!" and can't imagine how you say it, but I LOVE it! It's so, well, expressive. You are right about dining out less, and restaurants already are feeling the pinch. I imagine the recession will also put a crimp in the sales of the high-end equipment used to create some of this cuisine. And maybe that's a good thing, in a way, because I'm pretty sure lack of funds will simply make talented people even more creative.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Annemaeve, sounds like you have pretty strong feelings about the subject, too. LOL.

I don't think we should even get close to bringing up the issue at Z's diner on election day, know what I mean? Considering all the McCain Palin signs I've seen in the neighborhood the last few days (they've sprung up overnight like mushrooms in the lawn after a heavy rain), I'm guessing a new and exciting request won't go over any bigger than a new and exciting candidate.

In case I didn't thank you enough, here's another: Thank you so much for trying to recover that file. I think you felt as badly about it as I did. :)


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Christoph, I'm tickled pink that I could sell you on Tomato Soup Cloud. But you will have to be patient. It's going to take a while to figure out how to change the texture of the soup before it can be aerated. In fact, I'm thinking I might have to invent a new piece of equipment for the project. I'll keep you posted.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Marisue, I just knew you would add all kinds of color to this topic, and I thank you for that and your good words.  Meanwhile, I'm telling Lynn on you.

And don't be silly about putting beetroot foam on the strawberries...they are two separate late-night snack courses to be enjoyed in separate dishes.  Beetroot ON strawberry?  Yuk.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Gwendymom, making a food presentation that stimulates your appetite and interest absolutely is an art, as you so rightly point out about fruit sculptures and cakes. It is an art, as in a well-crafted and considered skill carried out through artistic talent, but is it art?

I think the issue that Christoph opened the door to is whether the creations arising from experimental cuisine can be considered art when there is something about them that is so faddish, elitist, and inaccessible, regardless of the skill and artistic intent with which they've been executed.

At the moment, I don't have an opinion about whether this is art, or an art, or even art for art's sake. What I can say is that the chefs and cooks who are successful (there are many who are not) are brilliantly talented and innovative. Their creations and methods are exciting and well worth paying attention to not only for what they bring to today, but for what they might bring to tomorrow.

Thanks so much for commenting.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Spryte, I think if you just go and get the BK burger (because I guess you haven't had one in a while, or if you have, you want another one right now) and get it over with, then you will be open to the beetroot froth experience.

There are other interpretations to your dream that I see, but I'd have to charge you a fee for a consultation. :)

Thanks for adding your special spice to these comments.


trish1048 profile image

trish1048 8 years ago

Oh dear. I've read and re-read this hub and it simply makes my head spin. This is an extremely informative hub, but sad to say, way over my head.

I think I'll go in the kitchen, dig out my long-handled metal pie kind of thingamajiggie, butter both sides, slap two slices of bread on it, put a nice hunk of cheese on the bread, latch the handles together, and hold it over the flame on the stove and have a nice grilled cheese sandwich with an ice cold glass of milk.

An awesome hub, dear friend.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

My dear friend, you make me smile.

Actually, that grilled cheese sandwich sounds really good right now! One of those wonderful, easy comfort foods with no surprises, a welcome presence in a day that's already too complicated.

Thank you so much for the good words.


marisuewrites profile image

marisuewrites 8 years ago from USA

oops  I just realize I misread your last sentence, you did drink "that stuff" (high tech phrase for beetroot froth) from a goblet....oh my.  that's courageous even tho it does look tempting and I loved the video...that sweet music was not only funny but motivating me to take the leap.  LOL 


robie2 profile image

robie2 8 years ago from Central New Jersey

I don't know, ST-- this is a beautifully constructed, well- written and ( you should pardon the expression) meaty hub, and intellectually I find it fascinating, but in spite of that wonderful pic, somehow molecular gastronomy just does not make my mouth water and my stomach say howdy--maybe if I went to Rosendales and actually tried the food it would be different<sigh> but I loved reading this and am prepared to impress my friends and neighbors with my newfound knowledge. Another wonderful hub. Thanks:-)


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Robie2, I agree that the concept might be off-putting to our emotions, as Christoph also mentioned. But the interesting thing is that many of these techniques and products are not new. The commercial food industry has been using them for years...they just never publicized their processes, and for good reasons beyond keeping industry secrets. Who really wants to know why that box of cookies with the creamy centers has the shelf life it does, or what the creamy center is made of and how it got there?

I think just applying the name *molecular gastronomy* to something you eat is off-putting. And that's probably why new style cooks want to call the style something else.

Thanks so much for your awesome comments. Nice to see you!


Pam Roberson profile image

Pam Roberson 8 years ago from Virginia

I'm in awe, and I'm not even crazy about fancy foods or fancy food preparation or fancy names for food preparation. Your writing is incredible, and you've left no gaps, no questions, nothing is missing, and there's nothing I can ask. The information is vast, you have videos, links, extra information, and the list of little known facts on top of everything else. BRAVO Sally! Incredible hub.

I had NO clue that I was adding oil to my pasta water for no reason! Nor did I realize that searing meat was useless. I'm actually happy to know this now. Cooking oil is way too expensive, and I can save a step by not searing my meat when I cook. :)


Chef Jeff profile image

Chef Jeff 8 years ago from Universe, Milky Way, Outer Arm, Sol, Earth, Western Hemisphere, North America, Illinois, Chicago.

Excellent hub, and glad to see that people are learning that science and food go together!

Cheers!

Chef Jeff T.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Pam, please accept my apologies. Somehow, I missed your absolutely awesome comments.

About the oil, I agree. Why waste it? And in fact, I tried cooking pasta a few days after I researched this Hub, without the oil, and guess what? No difference. I think the trick to the pasta not sticking in the pot is to stir a lot while the pasta is in the boiling water, which I did in the past anyway.

About the searing. My Hub doesn't make it clear that searing does have its attributes. Although it doesn't guarantee juiciness, it does impart a distinct flavor and, of course, an appealing change of color.

Did I say thank you for your awesome comments?

Your fan, Sally.


Lgali profile image

Lgali 8 years ago

Excellent hub


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Chef Jeff, as all good cooks know, there's a certain *chemistry* involved in cooking, although the description of what that means never makes its way into academic journals or scientific treatises.

I love to say of my ex that he has chemistry when it comes to food. There's just something about his palate, sense of smell and taste, and interest in the unusual. He's an engineer, the son of an engineer, and both son and father have this gift of pleasing the palate by loving food and playing around with what foods can do. Sort of like treating the kitchen as a lab environment.

For some, the *chemistry* comes naturally, or has its conscious or unconscious roots in another discipline. I am glad that the study of molecular gastronomy is something that may encourage a future generation of chefs in a different way.

Thanks so much for your comments.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Lgali, thank you so much for reading and commenting.


RGraf profile image

RGraf 8 years ago from Wisconsin

This is so interesting. I have to admit that I'm not rushing out to eat it but I'd like to learn more. Very interesting!


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

RGraf, your comment is so timely. Today, there was a show on NPR about molecular gastronomy. And, as you can deduce by the comments here on this Hub, the jury is out about whether this cuisine is appealing, appetizing, and worth the fortune it costs, or just downright silly. I think the important thing about it is that it brings a scientific understanding to cooking. Let me also say that good cooks already have a lot of the science about the cooking embedded in their genes or traditions, but they don't always have the factual reasons for what they do so well. So, all in all, I'm in favor of the *movement*.

Thanks so much for your comments. I am not rushing out to spend a fortune on this either, but like you, I'm wanting to learn more.


MRS Great Caruso profile image

MRS Great Caruso 7 years ago

Wow..so much I did not know about. And thanks for clearing up those "cooking myths" that do not work.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

You are so welcome, MRS GC. Thanks for stopping by!


proudgrandpa profile image

proudgrandpa 7 years ago from Charlotte, NC

What a thorough and interesting hub. But then, considering the source, I am not surprised.

I am intriguided by the Beetroot froth, that sounds wonderful. However the science and termanology of these methods is a bit like calling kissing Swapping spit. It does kind of take the romance out of good food to think of it in terms of Algae and I liked my Tapioca without the Maltodextrin. Just kidding. I do recognize that the more knowledge we apply to anythying the better it gets and when it comes to fine food preperation and presentation, it is much science and much art.

Thanks for Alot, Alot, and Alot of hard work on this great hub. NEIL


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Neil, you are so right about how the vocabulary diminishes the romance. At least cryovacking gets the much nicer-sounding name, sous vide.

Since writing this Hub, I've been paying a lot more attention to ingredients labels on commercial foods, looking at them in terms of what I've always thought a product to be, compared to what it really is. For example, we think of yogurt as a pure dairy product, but many commercial yogurts contain gelatin, which is an animal sinew and bone byproduct. Rennet, which makes milk congeal into cheese, is also an animal byproduct, from the stomach extracts of calves and lambs. Even more astounding to me was to find kosher yogurt (with gelatin) and cheese (with animal rennet), which appears to violate the dietary law of mixing milk and meat. There is a reason that these foods can be kosher, but I think I'll leave that to another Hub.

I think molecular gastronomy and the new cooking styles are encouraging a generation of young folks who did not have the home cooking adventures you and I grew up with. That alone makes me happy.

Thanks so much for your comments, which are always awesome and most welcome.


Denny Lyon profile image

Denny Lyon 7 years ago from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA

So glad to discover this hub - and here I thought by doing a search on food hubs I would only find the usual suspects! Gorgeous incredible hub, really enjoyed it! So much so that I'm blogging this little beauty on over to 4 of my blogs: the soul calendar and the healing waters and comfort food from louisiana and romancing the chocolate as it answers questions about science, health and well, we just love to eat and read about the latest food fashion forward in louisiana, and too many of us are shameless chocolate foodies! Thanks, "got more" of these kinds of hubs? Wow!!!

Threw it up on Facebook for you too...


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Denny, thanks so much for the great words and for all the mentions in your blogs and on Facebook. This Hub came about while I was researching the chemical and physical properties of marinades and the impact of slaughterhouse processes on meat quality, articles in the works which I have yet to publish. I stumbled upon molecular gastronomy while researching, and got hooked instantly on both the science and the artistry. (Needless to say, forward cuisine is much more appealing pictorially than marinades and slaughterhouses!)

On one of my Hubs, PGrundy described my food writing style and content as "agri-culinary", and I thank her for that. The origin, science, preparation, and psychology of foods interest me greatly. I am so glad you enjoyed this one!


newsworthy 7 years ago

I can only imagine what my southern neighbors and relatives would have to say if I shared a beet foam recipe with them. And I understand why mg is cause for debate.

Round of applause for an eye-catching hub.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Newsworthy, thanks so much for the compliment. I had a lot of fun putting this one together. Molecular gastronomy is a hot topic, debated by accomplished food experts on both sides of the fence. The discussions, often heated, are just as interesting as the food. I think most of my friends and relatives would have reactions similar to those of your neighbors and relatives, and so I haven't shared any of the recipes and I don't have any plans to!


angad bhui 7 years ago

some great info there. well im a student of a reputed hotel management college in India. me and a few of my batch mates are doing a project on molecular gastronomy. we've got all the major information just lacking in the equipment part of it. i would need some help on this one please. my e-mail id is- angad.bhui@gmail.com please do revert back whoever has any information. thank you!

regards.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

I'm so glad you found this article informative, and glad to hear you are doing a project on this exciting topic. Be sure to check out khymos.org not only for information but for equipment as well. Bon appétit!


Smireles profile image

Smireles 6 years ago from Texas

I found your article interesting. Had never heard of molecular gastronomy...and I thought I was up on cooking! Great hub!


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 6 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

It was new to me, too, Smireles. I came about the topic while researching the chemistry of marinades. I think it's great that there's always something new to learn about when it comes to food. Thanks so much for reading and commenting.


pinkhawk profile image

pinkhawk 6 years ago from Pearl of the Orient

..oh I've never heard this before, "molecular gastronomy"- quite interesting and amazing! I'm going to tell this to my parents, I'm sure they will love it! ^.^..thank you very much for sharing! ^.^


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 6 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

pinkhawk, thank you for reading and commenting. I see from your Hub topics that you have an interest in both food and science, and molecular gastronomy is such an interesting blend of the two...with a great dash of added style! Maybe you and your parents will be doing some fun experimenting soon.


Baileybear 6 years ago

very interesting. I trained as a chemist and I do think cooking has a lot in common with chemistry. Since learning I have many food sensitivities, I am also rather knowledgable about chemicals in foods too


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 6 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Baileybear, you touched my heart. Chemistry and biology were my two loves early on in my life. I'm glad for that, because those two disciplines gave me a unique way to look at food.

Thanks for reading and commenting. Looking forward to getting to know you.


Magalie 6 years ago

Hi Sally, very interesting article. First time I ever heard of molecular gastronomy was on a tv report on Adrian ferra. It caught my curiosity and I wanted to try it myself. So I got one of those "molecular kits" that contains everything you need to experiement at home. It turned out to be quite easy so I wanted to share two ressources that might be helpful for those who, like me, aren't pro chefs but want to try it:

http://www.molecule-r.com

http://www.moleculargastronomynetwork.com/

cheers !


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 6 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Megalie, thank you so much for enriching this article with these links. I've been meaning to write another article on the topic featuring resource sites for those who want to experiment at home, and your thoughtful comment may just be the prodding I needed. Cheers to you!


eventsyoudesign profile image

eventsyoudesign 5 years ago from Nashville, Tennessee

I have read books by Hervé This and find the subject of Molecular Gastronomy to be highly interesting. Thanks for another great article. I enjoy your attention to detail. Teresa


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Teresa, thanks so much for your good words.


ozbloke2 4 years ago

thank you


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 3 years ago from the short journey

I would pin this to my Ways with Food board just for the comments, but it is going there because it is an interesting hub. Reminds me of hearing a food prep term in passing and thinking that I wished I hadn't heard it for it made me lose my appetite. Funny thing about words… :) The first time I referred to agar agar my family laughed and laughed at me, but I was undeterred. Lots to learn here--thanks!


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 3 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

What a wonderful comment, RTalloni! I agree that the comments here are just as valuable, if not more so than the text. I know exactly what you mean by hearing an unappetizing term...molecular gastronomy does have that ring to it, doesn't it? Thanks so much for reading and commenting. I'm always happy to hear from you. :)


Beth37 3 years ago

Yes, extremely interesting hub. I wonder how you came upon all this info... were I to read the thousands of comments left here, I'd probably learn the answer, but for now Im just impressed that a mere mortal has shared this info with we plebes. :)


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 3 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Beth, I've been writing about food for a long time, mostly with a focus on food politics and science. Molecular gastronomy isn't new, although it's not a term that's familiar to many. Nor is it an approach to cooking that you would experience in your favorite local restaurant, unless that restaurant was on the cutting edge of experimenting with technology and cuisine. I just found the subject interesting to write about. Glad you read and commented!


Beth37 3 years ago

Im glad you passed it along. We learn something new every day. :)


portables profile image

portables 3 years ago

I love the idea of this, but it is all a bit scary to try out!


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 3 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

portables, it does seem a bit scary, doesn't it? We weren't raised to look at food quite this way. But it's fun, too. I hope you give it a try. :)


G Ivanova profile image

G Ivanova 23 months ago

This is excellent. Definitely learning something new every day on this site!


Kristen Howe profile image

Kristen Howe 20 months ago from Northeast Ohio

Very useful and informative. You gave so much in depth insight into the world of cuisine and the way we're eating foods. Voted up!

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