Spring 2014

Molecular Gastronomy and Food Science: from Test Tubes to Taste Buds

Listed in: Chemistry, as CHEM-100


Patricia B. O'Hara (Section 01)


Living organisms require resources to fuel the processes necessary for staying alive. We require a certain number of calories to fuel metabolic processes and to provide building blocks to replace old cells and build new ones.  Our food should provide a balance of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals that we need to consume regularly for a healthy existence. Yet humans have developed another relationship with food that can be either enriching or pathological.  Sharing meals with others, developing the skills to enjoy the sensory pleasures of food, learning about other cultures through their gastronomic habits, and eating moderately while consciously are all examples of a deeper productive relationship with food.  On the darker side, food can be a palliative to relieve our stress or satiate our addictions to sugar, fats, or salt.  Modern humans can be so far removed from our food sources that we lose the connection between animal and meat and do not know if the food on our plates contains added hormones, pesticides, or genetically modified products. This course will examine our core requirements for food as we eat to live, and some of the cultural, social, historical, and culinary dimensions as we live to eat.  Readings will include Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and selections from Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking by Nathan Myhrvold, Chris Young and Maxime Billet.

The two sections will meet together for 80-minute lecture/demos twice a week and each section will meet separately for a culinary lab every other week for two hours.  

Limited to 30 students. Spring semester.  Professor O'Hara.

If Overenrolled: If overenrolled, preference will be given to upper class students (seniors, juniors, and sophomores

Cost: $$100 ?

CHEM 100 - LEC

Section 01
Tu 08:30 AM - 09:50 AM MERR 3
Th 08:30 AM - 09:50 AM MERR 3

CHEM 100 - LAB

Section 01
Th 10:00 AM - 11:20 AM MERR 418


2024-25: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2014, Spring 2016, Spring 2018, Spring 2020