Your grandmother?might not?recognize?the food a?molecular gastronomist puts on her plate: flavored smokes, foams, Xanthan gum?and?liquid nitrogen, can all?make their way — deliciously? –?into a meal.?Food is altered and?reimagined, and sometimes made unrecognizable. Science and food, of course, are not strange bedfellows.?People in white coats?have been tinkering?in food labs for?decades, experimenting with ingredients and with?ways to make food production safer and more efficient. But you have to wonder, have the practical applications of science in the kitchen?taken?a back seat to?all this whimsy?
In the latest Freakonomics Radio Marketplace segment, Kai Ryssdal talks with Stephen Dubner about?the?invasion of scientists in the kitchen. They dig into a new cookbook by physicist and chef Nathan Myhrvold called Modernist Cuisine. It’s a celebration of molecular gastronomy as well as a serious effort to bring science into the kitchen — and it’s big: 6 volumes, 2,400 pages, and a $625?price tag. It does have a few recipes your grandmother might recognize: a simple hamburger, for instance — but this one is dunked in liquid nitrogen, deep-fried, and then hit with a blowtorch. Mmmmm.
Here’s where to find Marketplace on the radio where you live.