Molecular Gastronomy is a branch of food science that utilizes the principles of chemistry, physics and biology to develop delicious food that can be presented in new and interesting ways.
Today the term is very often connected with chefs wielding liquid nitrogen, pipettes, edible gels, blowtorches and other equipment usually used in a laboratory.
Molecular gastronomy also studies heat conduction, convection and transfer, physical aspects of food/liquid interaction, stability of flavor, solubility problems, dispersion, and texture/flavor relationship.
Understanding the science of cooking can lead to seemingly bizarre dishes that are unexpectedly delicious. Very often it is all about integrating what is already known into something totally new.
Some examples of molecular gastronomy foods are a miniature apple that is made to taste like meat, cocktails in ice spheres, fake caviar made of olive oil, transparent raviolis, spaghetti made from vegetables, instant ice cream and many others.
Though molecular gastronomy is based on science it is still a mix of science and art of cooking.
Techniques Used In Molecular Gastronomy –
1) Spherification – for producing a caviar-like spheres with new flavors (apple, olive oil,etc.)
2) The use of emulsifiers
3) Aromatic component – gases trapped in a bag, a serving device, or the food itself
4) Whimsical or avant-garde presentation style
5) Unusual flavor combinations – such as combining savory and sweet and flavor juxtaposition
6) Flash freezing
7) Creating new food textures (gels, foams, glass like food)
8) Cooking in a microwave for creating dishes that are cold or even frozen on the outside with a hot liquid in the center
9) High pressure cooking
10) Improved temperature control
11) High power mixing and cutting machines. For example: ultrasonic agitation to create emulsions
HOW IS IT AFFECTING FOOD SCIENCE?
Molecular gastronomy incorporates the social and artistic components.
It is distinct from the traditional food science, which is focused on food production on an industrial scale, nutrition and food safety.
Until the establishment of molecular gastronomy, there was also no scientific discipline studying the chemical processes of cooking at home or in the restaurants.
From the scientific perspective, cooking can be viewed as molecules obeying well-known processes that describe the behavior of all solids, liquids and gases. But the reactions that make food taste good or bad are still not very well understood.
So for now we still have to rely on the traditional recipes and our sense of taste and smell, instead of only following the scientific protocols.
Written by-Nikita Dutta