Food: What Happens to Eggs When You Heat Them Is Simply Magic

By Skidelsky, William | New Statesman (1996), February 21, 2005 | Go to article overview

Food: What Happens to Eggs When You Heat Them Is Simply Magic


Skidelsky, William, New Statesman (1996)


Interest in the science of cookery has never been greater. Most chefs these days are equally at home discussing molecules and millefeuille, and could not only tell you that syrup turns to caramel at 160[degrees]C, but also provide a detailed analysis of the effect heat has on the formation of sugar crystals. Heston Blumenthal and his bacon-and-eggs ice cream are old news. The new kid on the block-24-year-old Tony Flinn, of Anthony's restaurant in Leeds--serves white onion risotto with coffee and Parmesan, and cauliflower mousse with biscotti and salt. And this month, the concept of laboratory cooking was brought one step closer to absurdity when the story broke that a chef in Chicago had devised a way of modifying an ink-jet printer to create edible menus that can taste of anything from sushi to birthday cake.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The originator of this innovative school of cooking is usually considered to be Ferran Adria, chef at El Bulli restaurant in Spain. Yet long before Adria there was Harold McGee, a former English professor at Yale who, in 1984, published On Food and Cooking: the science and lore of the kitchen. Described by Blumenthal as "one of the greatest cookery books every written", this 680-page tome laid the foundation for the incursion of the laboratory into the kitchen. To take account of all that has happened in the field of culinary science since, McGee has brought out a revised and expanded version of his earlier work. …

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