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why write about kitchen science?

We all have to eat.

And most of us, to cook. So why not discover a common web of scientific principles by leveraging this most basic human instinct? And perhaps, become a smarter cook along the way.

From years of teaching physics and critical thinking skills, I've concluded its futile to simply proclaim scientific facts, and expect people to instantly achieve enlightenment. This is merely lecturing. Teaching is a dialog, and standing between lecturing and learning are ingrained misconceptions that must first be addressed before new knowledge can be absorbed. Just as you must clean out a wound before expecting it to heal, it's insufficient to demonstrate a new physical law with an experiment performed out of context, or hope to counteract poor intuition by defering to authority veiled in an opaque cloud of terminology. Too often, unrelated minor concerns obstructs the way, but once those puzzles are rendered moot, new knowledge pours in.

As Albert Einstein counselled, " Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler". So there will be an occasional graph, or equation1, or suspiciously Latinate word. But don't worry, the concept will be explained in a multitude of ways. Some people learn best by rote. Others through experience. Others visually, and still others mathematically. Hopefully, these experiments and explanations will be convincing and clear.

Most of these experiments require little more than a well stocked kitchen, a few simple measurement tools, and careful design. Sometimes, a room full of elaborate equipment could arrive at the answer more directly and precisely- but frankly, how many people truly understand, at a gut level, how to interpret the readings from a gas chromatograph or differential scanning calorimeter? Thermometers, scales and perhaps some filter paper will be our guides. I hope to shine new light on old knowledge, and every once in a while, discover a novel technique or two.

Or, as Yogi Berra observed, "you can see a lot just by looking".


Greg Blonder October 2011





Additional articles on kitchen science can be found HERE.
  Or follow me on twitter for (very occasional) alerts of new food science postings at @KitSci

In the practice of all-things barbecue, we appreciate the support and conversations with Meathead at AmazingRibs.com, Sterling at BigPoppaSmokers, along with numerous competition pitmasters and backyard chefs.


1A few footnotes contain additional technical details, which you should feel free to ignore and still expect to understand the basic concepts.


Contact Greg Blonder by email here - Modified Genuine Ideas, LLC.