By Rachel Walman
This past Saturday, a group of families gathered in the DiMenna Children’s History Museum to explore the intersection of food and art from the nineteenth century to today. We discussed the market scene painting above, did a multi-sensory experiment from the 1932 Futurist Cookbook, and experimented with artistic plating and molecular gastronomy.
Molecular gastronomy is a new movement in food that embraces the science behind cooking. All cooking involves science: for example, water must reach a certain temperature to boil, and chemical reactions take place when food is heated. Molecular gastronomists celebrate the science behind food, finding new ways to cook that seem more like lab experiments than recipes. We tried two molecular gastronomy techniques: gelification and spherification.
First, we turned carrot puree into “caviar” by mixing the puree with sodium alginate and then plunging drops of the mixture into a water bath mixed with calcium chloride. After a minute, the surface of the drops became gelified and the inside was still liquid. This is spherification.
Gelification is when you make something completely transform into a gel. We did that by heating a mix of bananas and blueberries with agar agar. After the mix boiled, we sucked it into a plastic tube with a syringe, then plunged the tube into a cold water bath to let it set. After three minutes, we pushed the mix out of the tube and voilá- noodles!
Would you like to join us for another culinary adventure through history? Check out our March 21 program on Chinese American food and purchase tickets here. We look forward to seeing you then!