Monday, 25 June 2012

Yum Yum Gimme Some...Molecules!

It is officially summer in Vancity! Today was not completely warm and sunny (by the latest North American East Coast standards), but for living in a rainforest- I'll take any bit of post 20 degree Celcius and mid-cloudy sunshine weather I can get! As inspiration from such a beauty of a day, I'd like to post a piece about food and the science behind tasting food. I am not a food scientist, though that would be a really great avenue to explore in my post-PhD life, but I would like to share a brief review of two books written by people who know more about food science and are more appropriate speakers of the matter. 

As light entertainment and if you prefer to learn via video from the expert first, please enjoy the following TEDx talk... For those who prefer to read and listen to me before referring to the expert, please enjoy my review of two must read books apres-film :)

Have you ever eaten in the dark and if you have, is your sense or ability to extract taste from food dramatically altered? What do you think happens when you put scientists and food together in a dark room? These may seem to be slightly odd questions, but could they have the potential to be enticing experiments? Well, for the Wall Street Journal writer Diane Fresquez and Montreal sommelier Francois Chartier, these types of questions drove inspiration for their impressively flavoursome work! Both authors published widely successful books depicting the science behind tasting food and drink- Fresquez recounting her year observing people curiously investigating the secrets behind the great big world of flavors in the book A Taste of Molecules: Revealing the Secrets of Flavor and Chartier, in collaboration with Chef Stéphane Modat and Molecular Biologist Dr. Martin Loignon, uncovering and explaining the art, science and specifically the molecules, that tease our vast array of taste buds in Taste Buds and Molecules. In the bio-manipulated, genetically-modified world we get our meals from, it’s refreshing to learn about another, more friendlier and intriguing side of food science.  I prefer not to give away the stories and secrets that Fresquez and Chartier depict about the behavioral influence that particular food and drink and combinations thereof can have on our taste buds- rather I hope to titillate your curiosity in the matter and perhaps the next time you savor that deliciously aromatic BBQ feast on a warm summer eve, you will be inspired to pick up one or both of these books and explore for yourself the science of tasting food and drink. Bon appétit!   

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