There are comics that are card-carrying “science comics” that teach science (eg, Boxplot by Maki Naro) and express truths about the experience of being a scientist (eg, Piled Higher & Deeper by Jorge Cham). There are those that are super-nerdy all the time, like xkcd by Randall Munroe.
Good food, sexy food is the result of passion and science. We talk a lot about passion in cooking, but passion alone can’t make a chocolate mousse cake. Passion can’t ensure efficient heat transfer, make proteins bind, crystallize molecules, or drive chemical reactions. There is science in your food, even if you don’t know how it got there.
I’m here to introduce you, the patrons of The Finch & Pea, to some delicious nosh, to stoke your passion for cooking, and to help you understand how cooking works.
Understanding the science behind a recipe – what the ingredients really are, how they interact with each other, how they change when you manipulate them – will make you a better cook, chef, and diner. When I go to write a cake recipe, knowing flour type composition, hydration ratios, chemical reactions of leavening agents, and methods for strengthen emulsions drastically affects the success of the recipe. Cooking isn’t just about passion. It’s about words you heard in chemistry and physics class. Words like heat conductivity, melting point, vaporization temperatures, phase transition, pressure effects on physical states, hygroscopic minerals, and density differentials all play an important role in almost every aspect of cooking.
Together we are going to explore the science behind everyday cooking. Why should you salt a steak an hour before cooking, but never right before? Why shouldn’t you use vanilla extract? How can baking soda ruin your cookies? How does granulated sugar “cook” your strawberries when poured over top?