Summer Career Connections Session 6, Day 2, Molecular Gastronomy
Happy Taco Tuesday Parents and Families!
Today was another day of fun, food, and friends! Once again, your children came in full of energy and pep, and this resulted in many interesting stories and discussions about food. It has been an active start to the week, and I can’t wait to see where the rest of the topics lead us.
The topics for today’s class were focused on two primary areas, artificial scents/flavors and spherification. Spherification is our first official foray into true Molecular Gastronomy techniques and science, and it was an adventure for sure. Sodium Alginate, Calcium Lactate, and Calcium Chloride are the main chemicals involved in this process, and we touched on polymer chemistry and ion exchange involved with it. In addition, we played “Guess that Scent?” with the esters responsible for fruity scents. After discussing scents and flavorings, we used principles of Flavor-Pairing Theory to try out some weird food combinations. The combinations included strawberries and parmesan, chocolate and soy sauce, bacon and jam, and watermelon and balsamic. All of these have a strong scientific basis for why they should work together, be sure to ask your kids about what they thought of them! I’m sure you will get some colorful responses. At the end of the day, we worked in groups to create fruit caviar spheres which we ran out of time to complete but we will finish those up in the morning tomorrow.
Some key takeaways from today’s class are that the process of creating artificial scents is a highly specialized job led by only a select few individuals, the differences between different fruity scents is a singular -CH3 group (very small changes between fruits), and spherification processes are dictated by the cross-linking of polymers to form a gel membrane.
Tomorrow we will dive into gellification, food texture, and our taste buds. Our gastronomical journey continues!