Saturday, April 20, 2013

Cooking is Science

Look at Amazon link to read the captions

At least, it can be: chemistry mostly (chemical reactions, changes of state) but also physics (temperatures, heat flow). [short videos]

There is a movement about that goes by the name "modernist cooking". It seems to be about analyzing the science behind cooking. (What is the reaction that changes my meat from "raw" to "cooked the way I like it" to "overdone" or "burnt".) then measuring it precisely and finding a process that achieves the exact conditions I wanted: nothing more, nothing less.

If you want your steak medium-rare, that means 55 °C. Now, how can we cook this thing so the whole steak is 55 °C, we keep all the juices and achieve any other properties we were looking for? The short answer to that puzzle seems to be found in sous vide cooking techniques. There are other puzzles to be solved.

It started in the 80's, but has flourished recently. The gold standard is called Modernist Cuisine and there is a home version and a simpler version (and tips). It is the pinnacle of a whole series of cooking science books. Finally, here is a feature-length promo from Harvard.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Fusion Powered Rockets?!

 Nuclear fusion has been done by humans for 50 years now. Doing fusion without blowing things that's another story. There are several multibillion dollar projects on the go. None of them have produced yet. What if you could blow things up a little bit?