The goal of Molecules, Microbes, and Meals is to provide an overview of the science of food, exploring all aspects of how food products we purchase and consume come to have the characteristics they do. The key focus is on the science underpinning the appearance, flavor, texture and qualities of food, and the transformations that occur when we cook food products. Every food product is a highly complex scientific entity, and a key objective of the book is to show that an understanding of the science of food can enhance our appreciation and wonder at it. Another key theme will be the convergence of science and art in food, and the history of food, whereby we have known how to undertake what are exceptionally scientifically complex activities such as fermentation, pasteurization and cooking long before the scientific basis for what was happening was understood.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction2. The origins of spices (and other foodstuffs)3. Consistency and change: proteins in food4. Build 'em up and break 'em down5. Fat, oils and the uneasy truces of emulsions and foams6. From sweetness to structure: carbohydrates in food7. The many roles of micro-organisms: the good, the bad and the ugly8. The rising power of yeast9. A word on the wonderful weirdness of water10. From Napoleon to Nasa: the development of food processing11. Heating and cooling of food: simple, crude but effective12. For my next trick: making water disappear13. Squashing, filtering, and other ways we process food14. Not just a bag: the science of food packaging15. Innovation and the development of recipes and formulations16. The experience of eating17. The kitchen and the lab18. Final thoughtsAppendix 1: On the analysis of foodFurther reading suggestions