Could a little chemistry spice up your kitchen? Take our molecular gastronomy quiz.
Molecular gastronomy, using knowledge of chemistry and physics to enhance food preparation, is a relatively new field. Supporters champion its innovation and excitement; critics complain that it removes art and spontaneity from culinary endeavors.start quiz
Question 1 of 20
In molecular gastronomy, a common type of food is a foam, which is ____________.
... Sauces are often replaced with foams by introducing a gas such as carbon dioxide into the liquid; this adds a light accompaniment to other foods. Examples include sweet ginger foam, beet foam and olive oil foam.
Question 2 of 20
When meat is prepared "sous vide," it is cooked in a/an _________.
... To prepare a steak "sous vide" (under vacuum), the cook seals the meat in a plastic bag and places that in a pan of hot water, where it cooks slowly, retaining its juices. It is then quickly seared.
Question 3 of 20
Chef Pierre Gagnaire, of his self-named Parisian restaurant, devised edible __________.
... Gagnaire, who owns several restaurants around the world, has created edible toothpicks, thyme tarts and tempura crayfish.
Question 4 of 20
The technique of "spherification" creates ________.
... During spherification, a chemical reaction between calcium chloride and alginate (a seaweed extract) creates a gel ball filled with a liquid flavoring of the cook's choosing.
Question 5 of 20
The chemical "methylcellulose" is often used; it congeals in hot water and then _______ when it cools.
... Foods mixed with methylcellulose change state as they cool, going from a hot solid to a cooler liquid. It is often used to make "hot" ice cream.
Question 6 of 20
A common dessert technique is _________.
... During flash freezing, the outside of the dessert freezes quickly and becomes crunchy while the center cools yet remains liquid.
Question 7 of 20
Which of the following is sometimes used for flash freezing?
... Liquid nitrogen flash freezes at the low temperature of -321 degrees Fahrenheit (-196 degrees Celsius), but it is difficult to work with and hazardous if it touches exposed skin.
Question 8 of 20
Which tool traditionally associated with the medical field is commonly used in molecular gastronomy?
... Syringes can be used to create the orbs during spherification and to add a variety of liquids to meats.
Question 9 of 20
Knowledge of molecular gastronomy can help out in any kitchen: To prevent pasta from sticking together, add _____ to the water.
... Oil and water don't mix, so oil can't adhere to pasta and keep noodles separated. An acidic food such as vinegar or lemon juice stops the starch in pasta from breaking down, and noodles won't clump.
Question 10 of 20
An anti-griddle __________.
... The surface of an anti-griddle is -30 degrees Fahrenheit (-34 degrees Celsius). It can be used to flash freeze foods so they are frozen on the outside and liquid on the inside.
Question 11 of 20
Chef Grant Achatz, from Alinea in Chicago, is famous for a dish containing pear, olive oil and which candy flavor?
... Achatz combines pear, olive oil and licorice. He has also added black licorice to a squab/watermelon dish, braised short ribs and pound cake.
Question 12 of 20
Emulsifiers are used to make sure _________ stay combined evenly.
... Emulsifiers such as soy lecithin and xanthan gum ensure that liquids are combined uniformly.
Question 13 of 20
Chef Heston Blumenthal, of the British restaurant The Fat Duck, is famous for his ________ porridge.
... Blumenthal has devised recipes for snail porridge, tomato fondue and smoked bacon and egg ice cream.
Question 14 of 20
Dr. Herve This, who developed molecular gastronomy with physicist Nicholas Kurti, has cataloged "culinary precisions," which are cooking _______.
... Many of the "precisions" (traditions) are not very precise, according to This. For instance, salt does not allow vegetables to cook faster, and a spoon in a bottle of champagne does not help it retain its effervescence.
Question 15 of 20
Chef Ferran Adria, from Spain's El Bulli restaurant, has served ________ ice cream.
... Parmesan ice cream was served between wafers made from the same cheese. Adria has also made ravioli with unusual ingredients, such as calamari, coconut, mint and ginger.
Question 16 of 20
New dishes have been named after famous scientists, such as "Baume," which is created by soaking an egg for a month in _______.
... Soak an egg for a month in alcohol and you have a coagulated egg, named for the 18th-century French chemist Antoine Baume.
Question 17 of 20
Chef Homaro Cantu, from Moto in Chicago, has made sushi using a/an __________.
... Cantu has created images for sushi on an inkjet printer using edible paper (soybeans, starch) and food-based ink. (The unprinted sides of paper are flavored with powdered soy and seaweed.)
Question 18 of 20
Tapioca maltodextrin can be used to change an oil into a _________.
... Chefs use tapioca maltodextrin to create "powder oil" that mixes with saliva in the mouth to release the strong flavor of the oil.
Question 19 of 20
Chef Wylie Dufresne, of WD-50 in New York City, combines pickled beef tongue with fried _________.
... In addition to tongue with fried mayonnaise, Dufresne has served up eggs Benedict with fried Hollandaise sauce and corned duck with purple mustard and horseradish cream.
Question 20 of 20
The chemical "transglutanimase" allows _________ to adhere to each other.
... Transglutanimase (known as "meat glue") makes it possible for chefs to be creative with protein foods, changing their shape. For instance, shrimp can be mixed with transglutanimase and rolled into noodles.
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