Food Science and Technology

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Ingredientia has the science of food and drink as one of its fundamental characteristics of cooking. Science creates new understandings that simplify aspects of cookery. Then, these can be used to reconstruct food and drinks through more complex theories of what food and drink is, or should be; however, as we rebuild food from these basic ideas, new understandings arise when food, drink and cooking fail to conform to ideas based on these molecular formulae. So while molecular gastronomy creates new ideas like note-by-note cooking, when these are found to be lacking something, news ideas need to be created that bring in other aspects of food - e.g. regrounding food in human biology and culture rather than just abstract chemistry.

As Edward Wilson wrote[1]:

"The heart of the scientific method is the reduction of perceived phenomena to fundamental testable principles...[But] raw reduction is only half the scientific process. The remainder consists of the reconstruction of complexity by an expanding synthesis under the control of laws newly demonstrated by analysis. This reconstitution reveals the existence of novel, emergent phenomena. When the observer shifts his attention from one level of organization to the next, as from physics to chemistry or from chemistry to biology, he expects to find obedience to all the laws of the levels below. But to reconstitute the upper levels of organization requires specifying the arrangement of the lower units and this in turn generates richness and the basis of new and unexpected principles."

So while science uncovers new understandings of food and cooking, there is much more to cuisine than cold scientific method, and empirical evidence derived from physics and chemistry.


Molecular Ingredientia

Basic Food Molecules

These are the key components of food at the molecular level:

Important Food Chemicals

There are the important organic and inorganic chemicals that are needed within the human diet, or have important health effects. Functional chemicals, i.e. synthetic chemicals added to food for a food manufacturing purpose, are dealt with in various sections including additives.

Other Food Chemicals of Note

pH

pH is a measure of the amount of hydrogen ions (H+) in substances. The concentrations of these hydrogen ions have important implications for food and drink.

Food Biology

Food biology covers the physiology of how we experience, access and utilise the chemical components within food, and how these impact on human health. It also includes the wider impacts of the human food supply system on the environment.

The Physiology of Food Sensations

Our sense of food is a complex mix of the direct flavour sensations of aroma and taste and physical trigeminal qualities of food,and the indirect aspects of sight, sound and touch, together with its social links that comprise, inter alia, ambience, the company and socio-cultural setting of where and how we're having the food. A good cook thinks of all these aspects when creating a meal.

Food, Digestion and Diet

Food and the Environment

Food Science and Technology

Cooking and Food Manufacture

Food Safety

Health

Other Food Science

References

  1. Wilson, E.O. (1978 [2004]) On Human Nature, p. 11, Cambridge, USA, Harvard University Press. ISBN 0674016386.

Further Reading

  • Davidson, A. (1999) The Oxford Companion to Food, Oxford University Press. ISBN 0192115790.
  • Stobart, T. (1981) The Cook's Encyclopedia: ingredients & processes, Harper & Row. ISBN 0060141271.