When you're cooking, you're a chemist! Every time you follow or modify a recipe you are experimenting with acids and bases, emulsions and suspensions, gels and foams. In your kitchen you denature proteins, crystallize compounds, react enzymes with substrates, and nurture desired microbial life while suppressing harmful microbes. And unlike in a laboratory, you can eat your experiments to verify your hypotheses. In Culinary Reactions, author Simon Quellen Field explores the chemistry behind the recipes you follow every day. How does altering the ratio of flour, sugar, yeast, salt, butter, and water affect how high bread rises? Why is whipped cream made with nitrous oxide rather than the more common carbon dioxide? And why does Hollandaise sauce fall for "clarified" butter? This easy-to-follow primer even includes recipes to demonstrate the concepts being discussed, including Whipped Creamsicle Topping (a foam), Cherry Dream Cheese (a protein gel), and Lemonade with Chameleon Eggs (an acid indicator). It even shows you how to extract DNA from a Halloween pumpkin. You'll never look at your graduated cylinders, Bunsen burners, and beakers the same way again.
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"Sean Pratt's peppy narration conveys the intrigue and diversion to be found in the kitchen. In this book he analyzes what exactly is being stirred up and and created when one cooks. Embedded in the layers of cake, bread, ice cream, sugar, and spices of culinary creations is a myriad of chemical reactions involving microbial life, the denaturing of proteins, and intricate molecular reactions and interactions with the body that reveal the real complexity of kitchen science. Pratt's light tone and playful persuasiveness tempt listeners to follow instructions to extract DNA from a pumpkin or to try the recipes for such delicacies as cherry dream cheese. Although the audiobook can become quite detailed in its discussion of science, as with the explanation of amino acids, Pratt's liveliness tempers the elaborations with an upbeat pace. Ultimately, he helps the author achieve his goal for this informative book--to entertain and have fun. M.F. © AudioFile 2017, Portland, Maine"
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