Synopses & Reviews
When youre cooking, youre a chemist! Every time you follow or modify a recipe, you are experimenting with acids and bases, emulsions and suspensions, gels and foams. In your kitchen you denature proteins, crystallize compounds, react enzymes with substrates, and nurture desired microbial life while suppressing harmful bacteria and fungi. And unlike in a laboratory, you can eat your experiments to verify your hypotheses.
In Culinary Reactions, author Simon Quellen Field turns measuring cups, stovetop burners, and mixing bowls into graduated cylinders, Bunsen burners, and beakers. How does altering the ratio of flour, sugar, yeast, salt, butter, and water affect how high bread rises? Why is whipped cream made with nitrous oxide rather than the more common carbon dioxide? And why does Hollandaise sauce call for “clarified” butter? This easy-to-follow primer even includes recipes to demonstrate the concepts being discussed, including:
· Whipped Creamsicle Topping—a foam
· Cherry Dream Cheese—a protein gel
· Lemonade with Chameleon Eggs—an acid indicator
“The writing style is very personable and he does a great job of illustrating concepts with recipes.” —Smithsonianmag.com
“A wonderful new book that will be dear to the heart of many a geek, chemist, or true foodie.” —Cooking by the Book
“Full of charts, step-by-step photos, structural formulas, and amazing recipes (the cherry cream cheese has me drooling), you will become a better cook without even trying.” —MAKE Magazine
“This clear primer to the chemistry of cooking goes well beyond the basics to teach cooks how to improve their results scientifically.” —Science News
“With information advanced enough to interest the well-seasoned, hard-boiled home cook, the information in this book is written in such a friendly and approachable manner that even beginner kitchen-chemists will be delighted to learn from it.”—San Francisco Book Review
“A gateway into the science of food.” —Gastronomica
"The author does a solid job of breaking complex electronic processes down into simpler steps, explaining how and why things work along the way...High school and college art students, crafts enthusiasts, and DIY makers all can find something to spark their interest here." —Library Journal
Exploring the scientific principles behind everyday recipes, this informative blend of lab book and cookbook reveals that cooks are actually chemists. Following or modifying recipes is shown to be an experiment with acids and bases, emulsions and suspensions, gels and foams. This easy-to-follow primer includes recipes that demonstrate the scientific concepts, such as Whipped Creamsicle Topping (a foam), Cherry Dream Cheese (a protein gel), and Lemonade with Chameleon Eggs (an acid indicator). Also included in this fun, fact-filled companion are answers to various culinary curiosities, such as How does altering the ratio of flour, sugar, yeast, salt, butter, and water affect how high bread rises? and Why is whipped cream made with nitrous oxide rather than the more common carbon dioxide?
About the Author
Simon Quellen Field is the author of Culinary Reactions, Gonzo Gizmos, Why Is Milk White?, and Why Theres Antifreeze in Your Toothpaste and is the creator of the popular website www.scitoys.com. He lives in Los Gatos, California.