food science

Do Chili Peppers Really Grow Better On City Rooftops Than Rural Farms?

There's something to the whole 'heat island effect'
Sep 15, 2014 9:00 am

It's basic science: hot peppers need heat, and America's concrete jungles attract plenty of that New York City, especially. Chris Shott examines why urban rooftop gardeners are so intensely proud of their intensely good peppers.

Cutting Your Birthday Cake The Right Way Will Keep It Moist And Spongey For Days

Ancient slicing technique is still a modern marvel
Aug 5, 2014 1:00 pm

There's a better way to slice a cake than the traditional wedge especially if you plan on saving some for later. Mathematician Alex Bellos, citing a century-old article in the scientific journal Nature, demonstrates a different strategy. Watch how he does it here.

30 Ways Chefs Are Going Wild With Pop Rocks

From coast to coast, dishes are popping off
Jun 30, 2014 9:00 am

When Pop Rocks were first invented by a chemist named William Mitchel in 1957, the moment was kind of like a precursor to molecular gastronomy. Today, the childhood favorite can be found all over the world in cocktails, mixed into barbecue sauce, on desserts and gracing opulent bites of foie gras. We were so interested in the stuff that we scoured the land to find exactly 30 ways Pop Rocks have been utilized around the world. 

Your Favorite Celebrity Might Just Be Turned Into Your Favorite Sausage

Food science, you are the best and worst
Mar 6, 2014 11:00 am

We’ve certainly heard of celebrity-endorsed food products. But, what about the celebrity as food products? This is what a new, shadowy company called BiteLabs has proposed as a weird hypothetical. And it’s made us throw up a little bit in our collective mouths.

UCLA Professor Brings Big Time Chefs To Class

Alice Waters, Alex Atala answer the tough questions
Mar 19, 2013 11:01 am

UCLA assistant professor Amy Rowat teaches a popular class called “Science and Food: The Physical and Molecular Origins of What We Eat” which strives to answer big questions relating to food like: Why do different cuts of meat have different textures? Why are some foods crispy? She's brought in some big-name chefs to help her explain.

What Is A Smoke Point?

Some cooking oils just can't take the heat
Jan 30, 2013 2:32 pm

When a recipe calls for safflower, soybean or peanut oil, it's not just trying to make you feel inadequate about the cooking oils readily available in your kitchen — and no, you can't substitute olive oil. We're pretty sure you're going to anyway — hey, we learn better from mistakes too — but you should know that the smoke points of olive and safflower oil are very different, which might account for the smoke slowly filling up your kitchen. Get our point? 

Silly Question: Can You Cook A Steak By Dropping It From A High Altitude?

Using physics to achieve a nice medium-rare char
Jan 15, 2013 3:31 pm

Each week one of our favorite geek blogs What If? answers users hypothetical physics questions. This morning’s query got our attention: At what height would an eight-ounce steak have to be dropped from — in order for it to be cooked when it hits the ground. We know you have all been asking yourselves the same question for years.

Molly For Foodies? On A Flavor Trip With Chicago Chef Homaro Cantu.

It’s called the miracle berry for a reason
Jan 14, 2013 2:01 pm

The powder, piled high in a small ceramic bowl, was circulated to the crowd that had packed the back of a Lower East Side Italian restaurant. “Take a spoon and place it on your tongue,” said the middle-aged man leading the gathering. “It won’t take long to kick in.” Hipster coke den this was not. But something much most interesting. 

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