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Culinary chemistry offers a tasty new take on science

Culinary chemistry offers a tasty new take on science

Rockets made delicious discoveries when they combined fundamentals of science and cooking in the inaugural semester of the Culinary Chemistry class.

The goal of the class is to give students a different perspective on science and an appreciation for chemistry in our everyday lives. Trading beakers for mixing bowls and Bunsen burners for convection ovens, students participated in hands-on cooking labs where they used principles of chemistry to assist them in creating a variety of tasty treats.

“This class gives students a different way to interact and connect with science. Labs seem different because we can eat the end result, but in actuality we are still mixing chemicals, watching chemical reactions, making observations, and drawing conclusions just like we do in every other science class,” chemistry teacher Mrs. Jessica Boese ’11 said.

In Culinary Chemistry, ingredients aren’t just parts of a recipe that make something taste good; they are chemical compounds reacting together on a molecular level. Kitchen tools are now laboratory tools, and learning the elemental makeup of metals and alloys helps students understand what they are using and why.

As part of the salsa lab students not only learned about the ionic compounds that make up salt, they also learned how to handle knives correctly to chop and combine their ingredients for maximum flavor.  “The most useful thing I’ve learned in this class is how to hold a knife correctly and more importantly how to use it safely,” senior Lily Crooker said.

From studying chemical compounds in fat and sugar to testing chemical reactions in pies and cookies, students are finishing their first semester on a sweet note and feeling more confident in their abilities in the classroom and in the kitchen.

“I took the class because I wanted to learn how to be in the kitchen without stress before I go to college. Being able to practice with my classmates and Mrs. Boese has definitely made me confident that I can apply these skills outside the classroom,” senior Kelly Carville said.

We can’t wait to see what the Culinary Chemistry class is cooking up next semester!

Culinary Chemistry pie crust lab

Baking pie crusts was one of the students favorite labs and the Mrs. Boese's favorite unit to teach!

Culinary Chemistry pie crust lab

"Pie crust is one of those things where the whole time it doesn't look right until the absolute last second when the crust actually forms. The students were so excited when they finally saw it come together after doubting for so long!" Mrs. Boese said. 

Culinary Chemistry flavor presentation

Students also learned from experts in the food chemistry field during a presentation with Savor Seasonings, a local company specializing in food seasonings. 

Culinary Chemistry sugar cookie lab

Fun Fact: Did you know smoke is more than just a warning sign that your tasty treats might be overcooked? It's actually the result of a chemical reaction caused by heat breaking apart the bonds of chemical compounds.(Thankfully these cookies came out gold brown and delicious!)