Grant Achatz's Alinea may get all the national (and international) press, but over at Moto, chef Homaru Cantu and pastry chef Ben Roche are turning out delicious, ridiculously innovative meals--and they have a kitchen any scientist would envy. Included is a gorgeous indoor farm where they grow square watermelons made sweeter by bombarding them with classical music, as well as all kinds of exotic produce like mumeplant fruit, white pineberries, and poontalai seeds. Oh, and a huge array of gels, powders, and other additives. Check out the tour over at Saveur.
One of the most fascinating threads running through The Kitchen As Laboratory, a collection of essays edited by a trio of food scientists and published earlier this year, is the application of rigorous testing and measurement to a realm that has classically been very subjective. In the test pictured above, after egg yolks are poached at a constant temperature for a varying number of minutes, a rheometer is used to precisely measure the resulting texture, in pascal-seconds.
By Darrell HuffPosted 06.15.2012 at 9:45 am 7 Comments
This article originally appeared in the April 1956 issue of Popular Science. You can explore more of our archives--stretching back 140 years--here.
"Put that hamburger back in the refrigerator before it spoils," my wife advised. "What're you doing, dreaming?"
By Martin MannPosted 06.14.2012 at 6:30 pm 5 Comments
This article originally appeared in the April 1961 issue of Popular Science. You can explore more of our archives--stretching back 140 years--here.Git along, little hippo. The romantic days of the open range may come back--in Africa, and with a native twist. Great herds of elephants, hippopotamuses, and eland, rounded up by dark-skinned wranglers (hippoboys?), [2012 note: eeeeeep] could supply desperately needed meat for the fast-growing, hungry continent.
Empanadas, Chinese dumplings and the deliciousness that is the fried risotto ball are all wonderful when they're homemade. But when stuffing by hand becomes tiresome, let a Rheon encrusting machine take over.
The Japanese company's automatic encrusters make snack food all over the world, in factories owned by huge multinational food corporations and in mom-and-pop bakeries in small neighborhoods. PopSci talked with Jon Thompson, national sales director for Rheon in the U.S., about machine-handled dough, stuffed-crust pizza and something called a coxinha.
Taste is a highly subjective thing. But when science gets involved, things have to be measured, and the measurements must be exact.
Here are 11 ways that food is precisely measured. Bitterness can be determined based on a specific scale, and the amount of sucrose in a solution can be easily calculated. Some others are a little more esoteric: stretching cheese to measure its texture; determining the color of a beer based on how much light passes through it; testing the strength of coffee.
In the sometimes strange world of food technology, one of the many aspects of food that gets measured is its texture, and accuracy is key. That's why your grocery-store cookies are always reliably chewy from one batch to the next, and that's why it's possible to while away an afternoon on YouTube in10-second increments gawking at texture analysis machines. Here's a look at a few of the best.
Need something to put in your homemade DIY sous-vide machine? Try Paul's buckwheat rye gelato
By Paul Adams and Dan NosowitzPosted 06.13.2012 at 5:23 pm 2 Comments
One of our all-time favorite food hacks is the DIY sous vide setup--it takes a very trendy, seemingly complicated and intimidating device and brings it to your countertop with just a little bit of work.
Last year, we saw chef Andoni Luis Aduriz of restaurant Mugaritz demonstrate a couple of his high-tech, artful, playful dishes: his fool-the-eye walnuts, his artificial eggs. This month he presents the world with the Mugaritz cookbook, a striking glossy tome that sets forth the holistic, highly experimental philosophy of the restaurant in the Basque countryside.
By Peter SmithPosted 06.13.2012 at 2:04 pm 0 Comments
Deep in the Illinois Institute of Technology is a Biosafety Level 3 certified containment unit: one of the only places in the country that intentionally infects spinach with live, potentially deadly E. coli pathogens. Lab workers don moon suits, step through an airlock, and then send 500 pounds of salad splashing down a flume with 5,000 gallons of contaminated water.