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Chefs As Chemists

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the you-want-agar-agar-with-that dept.

Biotech 266

circletimessquare writes "Using ingredients usually relegated to the lower half of the list of ingredients on a Twinkies wrapper, some professional chefs are turning themselves into magicians with food. Ferran Adrià in Spain and Heston Blumenthal in England have been doing this for years, but the New York Times updates us on the ongoing experiments at WD-50 in New York City. Xanthan Gum, agar-agar, and other hydrocolloids are being used to bring strange effects to your food. Think butter that doesn't melt in the oven, foie gras you can tie into knots, and fried mayonnaise."

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fried mayonnaise! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21261859)

'nuff said

Re:fried mayonnaise! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21262503)

How is this redudant? It's the first post and it's pertaining to the article.

And for Dessert... (0, Offtopic)

MyrddinBach (1138089) | more than 6 years ago | (#21261871)

Atomic Surprise!!

Re:And for Dessert... (1)

KudyardRipling (1063612) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262223)

Concerning the new cuisine:

It is a violation of federal law to use this product in a manner inconsistent with its labeling.
Red Oval [wikipedia.org] cuisine: Better eating through chemistry.

SLASHDOT SUX0RZ (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21261881)

_0_
\''\
'=o='
.|!|
.| |
better goatse through chemistry [goatse.ch]

You had me at... (2, Funny)

indiepants (941854) | more than 6 years ago | (#21261905)

...fried mayonnaise.

Re:You had me at... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21261967)

Only in America would there be people willing to find a way to deep fry something that usually would not be able to be fried!!

Re:You had me at... (1)

jaxtherat (1165473) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262321)

No, us Aussies are happily deep frying all sorts of foods too, largely with delicious results :)

Re:You had me at... (1)

weighn (578357) | more than 6 years ago | (#21263115)

No, us Aussies are happily deep frying all sorts of foods too, largely with delicious results :)
There's a shop at Bondi Beach that does deep-fried Mars Bars [bondisurfseafood.com.au] . Although wikipedia [wikipedia.org] reckons that the Scots were doing this first.

Re:You had me at... (1)

BadHaggis (1179673) | more than 6 years ago | (#21263169)

What you've never heard of Deep Fried Coca Cola [candyaddict.com] . I believe it originated in Texas. Growing up down south you learn quickly that if it can't be eaten any other way you can always deep fry it.

Re:You had me at... (1)

masdog (794316) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262469)

Except the Scottish are also known for their love of the deep fryer.

Re:You had me at... (1)

Propaganda13 (312548) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262695)

Only in America would there be people willing to find a way to deep fry something that usually would not be able to be fried!!


TFA

He noted that the hydrocolloids he uses came from natural sources and often had a long history in the cooking of other cultures.

Then a few chefs like Ferran Adrià in Spain and Heston Blumenthal in England started experimenting.


Americans are just willing to use other people's ideas on food.

How is this different than a food chemist? (3, Funny)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 6 years ago | (#21261907)

I have a couple friends that went into food chemistry after undergrad. I thought about it but decided to stick with organic chemisty.

Re:How is this different than a food chemist? (4, Funny)

Curmudgeonlyoldbloke (850482) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262013)

About 50 quid a head.

Re:How is this different than a food chemist? (4, Insightful)

ExploHD (888637) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262181)

Food scientist are the people who make sure that all the food or product come to you are the same. Think McDonalds and how it is the same, no matter where in the world you are. The chefs who are using chemestry to add to their foods are just doing it for show and taste.

Remember, cooking is an art, baking is a science.

Re:How is this different than a food chemist? (1)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262209)

That makes sense. Thanks for the explanation.

Re:How is this different than a food chemist? (1)

xouumalperxe (815707) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262235)

Your friends went into food from being chemistry undergrands (I suppose). These guys are master chefs that are reaching into chemistry for tools. Food + Chemistry for both. But the paths taken (and end results) are completely different

Re:How is this different than a food chemist? (1)

willian.vag (1185119) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262443)

Depending on the outcome is a good alternative for food products, on the other hand, know that we are eating food that is a product changed and that will not give the same protein that natural, dai is a little complicated.

Re:How is this different than a food chemist? (1)

ToriaUru (750485) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262543)

I can recall reading Harold McGee's book back in the early 1990's and finally understanding why I had to brown meat - to caramelize it for flavour. All of his tricks, and other food chemistry experiments and tricks are just trying to make food better. It's not really "different" from food chemistry, it's just applying the knowledge of chemistry to food, and trying to cook from there. Interesting thought honestly!

Re:How is this different than a food chemist? (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262765)

If you'd stuck at it who knows how far you could go - inventing a new type of ice cream or perhaps even the elected leader of Great Britain!

Re:How is this different than a food chemist? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21262947)

I was taught chemistry by a personal mentor (no, my family isn't rich -- he was a friend who enjoyed doing it) who called himself a "sugar chemist." This blew me away. Not only did he confine himself to food chemistry, he confined himself to food chemistry on sugars. That's it. He made a 50 year career out of it.

Nano ... somethings? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21261925)

I'm surprised there's nothing about nanotechnology in here. /. posters love to post revisionist crap similar to... "Cavemen used carbon nanotubes to paint their faces". Crushed berries as nanotubes! Creme Brulee as nanotubes!

NANO NANO NANO! ZOMG!!!!!

Old old old (4, Insightful)

ReallyEvilCanine (991886) | more than 6 years ago | (#21261931)

Heston Blumenthal's Kitchen Chemistry series (which unfortunately didn't make it) was a lot more interesting than this article. You can even find torrents of the pilot episodes [thepiratebay.org] . I wish that series had been picked up and continued because there were some very interesting subjects, like the reasons behind certain flavours simply being unable to mix (basil and coffee, for example) as well as an everyman's guide to how the chemistry worked. As innovative as Blumenthal can be, there's no way I'm shelling out £300 for a meal at his restaurant.

You know someone read your post (3, Funny)

Dorceon (928997) | more than 6 years ago | (#21261953)

and immediately tried to brew basil coffee, right?

Re:Old old old (4, Funny)

WombatDeath (681651) | more than 6 years ago | (#21261961)

I saw some of Heston's latest BBC series. Very entertaining but perhaps not entirely practical - in one of his recipes he made ice cream using liquid nitrogen, and his suggestion for the home enthusiast was to use dry ice instead. I like ice cream as much as the next man, but not to the extent that I'm willing to live through bad 80s disco all over again.

Re:Old old old (1)

nanoflower (1077145) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262157)

That works well (using dry ice) but who is in a situation where they need home made ice cream right this minute? I mean, if I have to go to the grocery store to pick up the dry ice, why not pick up some ice cream at the same time. I think what food chemists (and chefs using food chemistry) is great, but some of what they do isn't really practical for home use, or even for most chefs. Things like liquid nitrogen are nice toys but they aren't the sort of thing you are likely to have around the house. Though it is wonderful what liquid nitrogen can do to food. Since it quickly freezes food the textures stay almost exactly the same. It's not the sort of thing most chefs use, but it's great for frozen food packagers.

Re:Old old old (2, Interesting)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262689)

It's not the speed of making it, but rather the texture that comes about from it. Many others have made ice cream using liquid nitrogen, and it is universally hailed as the smoothest ice cream available (at least until someone figures out how to do it with liquid helium). It's one of those things that is often done just for the sheer experience of it.

Re:Old old old (1)

bladesjester (774793) | more than 6 years ago | (#21263257)

Many others have made ice cream using liquid nitrogen, and it is universally hailed as the smoothest ice cream available

Two words - Dippin Dots. I have to stop by their stand every time I'm in the mall =]

Re:Old old old (1)

GoofyBoy (44399) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262535)

Don't watch the tv show, "In Search of Perfection, for the food; watch it for the theme music. (I want to see the lyrics sheet for it.)

Re:Old old old (1)

McFadden (809368) | more than 6 years ago | (#21263127)

Heston Blumenthal's Kitchen Chemistry series (which unfortunately didn't make it) was a lot more interesting than this article. You can even find torrents of the pilot episodes.
Actually he's moved on and has made an entire series [bbc.co.uk] for the BBC. They've been heavily promoting it recently.

Food? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21261969)

If it uses "ingredients usually relegated to the lower half of the list of ingredients on a Twinkies wrapper", then what the hell does it have to do with food?

scam to sell stuff (1)

SoyChemist (1015349) | more than 6 years ago | (#21261981)

Molecular gastronomy is partially a scam to sell expensive lab equipment to rich foodies. With that said, I will probably sell out and write articles about the coolest gadgets and techniques. I do like the idea of vacuum pumps as a culinary tool. Sucking and pumping was meant for the kitchen.

Re:scam to sell stuff (1)

Swift Kick (240510) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262031)

"Sucking and pumping was meant for the kitchen.

I think porn producers cornered the market when it comes to those two...

Re:scam to sell stuff (2, Funny)

Algorithmnast (1105517) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262035)

Here and I thought that molecular gastronomy was a way for my kids to detect when they shouldn't come into the same room, by noticing what I ate at the restaurant.

Re:scam to sell stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21262597)

The meaningless name "molecular gastronomy" is the tip-off that it's a scam. "Molecular biology" happens when effects are seen from the sequences of individual molecules (e.g. nucleotides), as opposed to the mere presence of certain molecules. These new cookery fads certainly involve molecules (since what doesn't?), but at the chemical/biochemical level, not the finer molecular level.

Re:scam to sell stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21262791)

I hate rich foodies.

Re:scam to sell stuff (1)

moogs (1003361) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262823)

wait, didn't WIRED carry an article about molecular gastronomy? I recall reading it, but too lazy to hunt down the issue. I'm a subscriber, can I get a free gift?

Re:scam to sell stuff (1)

NonSequor (230139) | more than 6 years ago | (#21263305)

Speaking of expensive kitchen gadgets, I had an idea for a device which seems obvious but I haven't seen anywhere. My idea is to attach a vacuum pump to a pot with a sealable lid to achieve the opposite effect of a pressure cooker (or maybe it could double as a pressure cooker too). It seems like a good way to regulate the temperature of a water bath (set the pressure so that the boiling point is the appropriate temperature), but I haven't been able to find anything like that.

Two cents worth... (5, Interesting)

UncleTogie (1004853) | more than 6 years ago | (#21261991)

I have to say that this is why I like watching Alton Brown's Good Eats. He actually understands the science of cooking, and is able to explain how it works without turning off the average person.

I'm betting "molecular gastronomy" is going to REALLY take off within the next five years or so...

Re:Two cents worth... (2, Insightful)

SpeedyDX (1014595) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262115)

That's nothing but a new name for an age old process. The process of adding heat to reagents (a.k.a. cooking) is in itself a chemical process.

Take baking, for example. For those who've never tried it, baking is a very precise exercise. You have to add precise amounts of reagents, mix them together in a certain order, and add a precise amount of heat for a precise amount of time. That whole undertaking is very chemical in nature. If you time it wrong, add the wrong amount of heat and/or reagents, then you're going to end up with some pretty disastrous results. The chemical reactions that make a cake or a loaf of bread is not very different than making a vinegar/baking soda volcano.

The whole "molecular gastronomy" trend is simply applying the same strategy to "warm" dishes. Instead of adding a "dash" of salt or a "pinch" of pepper, you're now adding precisely X mg of chemical Y. I know we usually don't think of food and cooking as endeavours relating to chemistry, but I don't see why so many people are so surprised when that fact is pointed out.

Regardless, I think this is a very good thing. I love food and I love science. Now I can eat food that's created by using scientific principles!

Re:Two cents worth... (3, Funny)

UncleTogie (1004853) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262421)

That's nothing but a new name for an age old process. The process of adding heat to reagents (a.k.a. cooking) is in itself a chemical process.
The whole "molecular gastronomy" trend is simply applying the same strategy to "warm" dishes.

...which is why I included it in quotes as well. Slapping lipstick on a pig does NOT make it Natalie Portman.

Paris Hilton, maybe, but not Portman.

French cooking is like this too (1)

Wabbit Wabbit (828630) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262437)

Which is why I like cooking French. Quantities and instructions are very precise because they have to be. If you mess with the formula, the dish won't come out right. An ex-girlfriend fancied herself a cook, and was good with Italian dishes but never got the knack for French cooking because it required the kind of precision of which you speak.

I also found that as soon as I switched to better pans, my own cooking improved as well, because the heat transfer required by the recipe was now finally taking place. Nothing like a big heavy copper (or copper core) pan.

Re:Two cents worth... (1)

c_forq (924234) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262771)

At the same time baking isn't that precise - there is quite a lot of room for wiggle. This is most noticeable when it comes to heat, as VERY few ovens give you the ability to control the temperature to a single degree, let alone a fraction of one. Also noticeable in that you don't have to plug your heat and time into a formula to account for difference in air density (usually due to distance from sea-level). With that being said, it is a lot more complicated to make a good flavored bread that turns out well than it is to make pasta sauce.

Re:Two cents worth... (2, Informative)

Bee1zebub (1161221) | more than 6 years ago | (#21263281)

The chemical reactions that make a cake or a loaf of bread is not very different than making a vinegar/baking soda volcano.
Whist baking cakes does tend to rely on sodium bicarbonate reacting with an acid (usually tartaric acid) to produce CO2, and also to a lesser extent on the natural raising agents in eggs, bread is completely different. Bread is risen by the carbon dioxide produced in anaerobic respiration performed by yeast (the same as when brewing), and the alcohol produced then evaporates off when the brad is baked.

Re:Two cents worth... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21262125)

I totaly agree, Alton does more than show you recipes. He explains what happens when you;re cooking and why he does things. His cooking show covers everything from butchering to exotic recepies, from appliances to nutritional anthropology with a mix of humour that makes his show "Insert hokey music and lame animation"

Fried Mayo? (1)

dbatkins (958906) | more than 6 years ago | (#21261999)

The guy that deep fried a Snickers bar thinks that fried mayo is a bad idea...

Meh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21262021)

I've never been there, but Yelpers don't seem terribly enamored [yelp.com] with the place.

A restaurant named WD-50? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21262079)

Tagging !wd40

Foie Gras is some nasty shit... (0, Offtopic)

maillemaker (924053) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262099)

http://www.goveg.com/feat/foie/ [goveg.com]

What a despicable thing to do to an animal just to make it tastier to eat.

Re:Foie Gras is some nasty shit... (1)

Misanthrope (49269) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262183)

Why should I trust a website run by vegetarians to have completely accurate and unbiased information regarding animal based food production? There probably are some farms that have problems with causing harm to geese while making foie gras, I however only buy from reputable small farms for most of my terrestrial meat products.

Re:Foie Gras is some nasty shit... (1)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262569)

Why should I trust a website run by vegetarians to have completely accurate and unbiased information regarding animal based food production?
What an absurd question. A lot of people become vegetarians because they know about the cruelties of the food industry. Do you generally not trust sources because they are too informed on a topic?

And no, there aren't any small farms making free range foie gras. There is no way to produce it without the force feeding.

Re:Foie Gras is some nasty shit... (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262623)

Yeah and I only buy my child pornography from the USA!! Not any thailand or chinese shit!! No kids were harmed for my porn!

Re:Foie Gras is some nasty shit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21262891)

You've got to be joking. Do your own googling if you don't believe it. By definition, foie gras [wikipedia.org] (French for "fat liver") is "the liver of a duck or a goose that has been specially fattened by gavage". Wikipedia even included the link to the French law: French rural code L654-27-1: "On entend par foie gras, le foie d'un canard ou d'une oie spécialement engraissé par gavage." ("By "foie gras" one is to understand the liver of a duck or a goose that has been specially fattened by gavage").

Gavage is the force feeding. In this context, the force feeding is not to keep a subject alive, but to fatten the ducks or geese so much so that the livers swell 6 to 10 times the ordinary size. Do you really think that making a liver swell 6-10 times the normal size humane? If someone shove food into your mouth more than double the amount that makes you full every single day, you'll cry torture. Bet on it.

Re:Foie Gras is some nasty shit... (-1, Offtopic)

basic0 (182925) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262263)

That's absolutely disgusting.

I'm no biologist, but isn't the liver essentially the organ that filters all the toxins out of the bloodstream? Why would you want to eat that in the first place, let alone purposely make it swollen and diseased first? And the way they do it...how is that even legal? You'd be looking at jail time if you did that to a lot of other animals.

Re:Foie Gras is some nasty shit... (3, Insightful)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262463)

Eh, no worse than chopping them into serving size pieces.

Life feeds on life. This is necessary.

Re:Foie Gras is some nasty shit... (0, Flamebait)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262819)

You're a Tool.

Re:Foie Gras is some nasty shit... (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 6 years ago | (#21263033)

You're a Tool.

You told him.

and you (1)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 6 years ago | (#21263189)

And you, my friend, quite possibly did not get the subtle joke there. Or maybe you did. But probably not.

"Tool" reference for the ignorant (1)

weighn (578357) | more than 6 years ago | (#21263275)

And you, my friend, quite possibly did not get the subtle joke there. Or maybe you did. But probably not.
"Life feeds on life. This is necessary." From Disgustipated (a song) by Tool (a musical troupe aka band).

no worse than chopping ... ? (0, Troll)

weighn (578357) | more than 6 years ago | (#21263239)

Eh, no worse than chopping them into serving size pieces.
Well, you can choose to believe that the deceased creature can feel this chopping. The rest of us will be over here in the Real-World(TM) wondering why anyone would tortuously force-feed a living creature to deliberately induce liver-disease so that some fat-rich arsehole can enjoy a plate of Foie Gras.

Re:Foie Gras is some tasty good (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21262279)

Maybe you should try it and you'll agree that what they do to create such delicious stuff is well worth it.

In fact, I'm going to eat more of it just to spite your tree hugging, faggoty feelings.

Re:Foie Gras is some tasty good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21262391)

The secret ingredient is: Cruelty!

Re:Foie Gras is some nasty shit... (1)

pragma_x (644215) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262383)

While I agree that it's right up there with veal, I couldn't help but recall Dennis Leary on the matter:

Because eggplant tastes like eggplant but meat tastes like murder and murder tastes pretty good, doesn't it?

Re:Foie Gras is some nasty shit... (1)

Rank_Tyro (721935) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262409)

Many people would think that feeding corn to a cow in a feedlot is a despicable thing to do to an animal, just to get it grow to a size suitable for slaughter.

Please, if you find the idea abhorrent don't buy it and deprive the producer of your money. But I would suggest that if you eat a hamburger for lunch and wear leather shoes or a belt, you might want to do a hypocrisy check and see what your score is. Koreans consider Kagogi to be a delicacy. You would probably consider it to be a pet. I would guess that if you linked to an article on pig farming and how they treated those animals before they turned into bacon you might not have gotten so much attention to your post.

For the record, I have tried Foi Gras and in my opinion, there is no way in hell I would pay to put that stuff in my mouth again. I might pay a few bucks in order to keep it OUT of my mouth, but I would say that of caviar, sea urchin, and (through a weird combination of falling off of a horse in a corral full of cows), cow shit.

Re:Foie Gras is some nasty shit... (4, Interesting)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262499)

just a side thought: i think animal rights activists should be the most pro-genetically modified special interest group in the world. reason being, if you could genetically engineer foie gras in vats, or animal flesh, you would:

1. feed all of the carnivores, more cheaply, and with less environmental impact
2. not harm a single feeling conscious (cue the sad violins) beautiful harmless loving animal. it would be just tissue in vats you were harvesting

of course things like mouthfeel, taste, etc. would need to be technologically refined over time. at first you would be making nothing better than spam. real gastromes would talk about the consistency of the flesh and the subtle flavors based on diet. but you could gradually, over time, approach a meat source that defies the experts to tell the difference from real meat

however, you get the usual luddite reaction from animal rights activists: stop eating meat in the name of cruelty, stop GM food because it's an abomination

yeah, right

animal rights activists are an abomination: eating meat is perfectly natural

animal rights activists should meld their artificial morality (it's certainly impossible in the natural world, outside of civilization) with artifical genetic engineering, and create the nirvana of an animal never harmed

you really think it's harder to do that than convince carnivores to stop eating meat?

path of least resistance friends. animal rights activists: pool your money, and get going with the GM startup

Re:Foie Gras is some nasty shit... (3, Insightful)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262647)

you really think it's harder to do that than convince carnivores to stop eating meat?

Humans are omnivores, not carnivores.

On a side note, your little tirade didn't really seem to address the point the GP was making: Do we really need to torture animals before killing & eating them?

Re:Foie Gras is some nasty shit... (1)

Justin Ames (582967) | more than 6 years ago | (#21263173)

Yes, it makes them taste better.

Re:Foie Gras is some nasty shit... (1)

momfreeek (720443) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262767)

"just a side thought: i think animal rights activists should be the most pro-genetically modified special interest group in the world. reason being, if you could genetically engineer foie gras in vats, or animal flesh, you would:" - And by that logic those who dislike Bush should actively support his assassination. Not every solution is going to be a good one. "animal rights activists are an abomination: eating meat is perfectly natural" - things change. Paedophilia was perfectly natural a few hundred years ago. Human rights is a concept in its infancy and animal rights can be seen as the obvious next step. You accuse these people of being 'luddites': afraid of technological change.. yet you are the one showing intolerance of changes in morality.

Re:Foie Gras is some nasty shit... (3, Insightful)

sokoban (142301) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262861)

Not that much worse than what non-free range chickens go through. Ever seen what a large scale chicken farm is like?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kq77ET5af5U [youtube.com]

While I don't really like how animals are treated in large scale farms, I don't think vegetarianism is really the answer. People need a little bit of respect for the things they put in their bodies. Maybe eat a little less meat and buy from local farmers who raise and slaughter their own livestock. It is probably a little bit better for you, and actually has taste (especially chicken).

Re:Foie Gras is some nasty shit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21263221)

Well, this is basically what the McDonalds ("Super Size Me") and other fast-food chains are doing to people. ("..OMG, Its an alien(V) conspiracy!..")

Re:Foie Gras is some nasty shit... (5, Informative)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 6 years ago | (#21263267)

What a despicable thing to do to an animal just to make it tastier to eat.

The photos of tubes being put down the throats of ducks certainly look horrific, but animal rights activists have a tendency to over-dramatize things. From an article in Time magazine:

http://www.time.com/time/arts/article/0,8599,1669732,00.html [time.com]

The debate is centered on the practice of gavage, in which corn is force-fed to farm-raised ducks through a funnel down their throats. Some argue that gavage is inhumane, while others counter that the physiology of a duck is not the same as a human. "It seems terrible if you don't know that a duck's esophagus is lined with a very thick cuticle, if you don't realize that baby ducks are fed by their mother pushing her beak down the baby's throat," says Ariane Daguin, owner of D'Artagnan, the largest foie gras purveyor in the U.S. Recent studies by Dr. Daniel Guémené, a leading expert on the physiological effects of gavage, have shown that ducks with young in the wild were under more stress than the ducks being fed through gavage. And both The American Veterinary Medical Association's House of Delegates and the American Association of Avian Pathologists have concluded that foie is not a product of animal cruelty.

Also, here's an abstract of research by Guémené:

http://www.edpsciences.org/articles/animres/pdf/2001/02/faure.pdf [edpsciences.org]

The debate on welfare issues related to the force feeding of ducks and geese involves understanding the reactions of the animals to the force feeding process. Two types of experiment were performed. Ducks and geese were trained to be fed in a pen 8 metres away from their rearing pen and were then force fed in the feeding pen. The hypothesis was that if force feeding caused aversion, the animals would not spontaneously go to the test pen. There were some signs of aversion in ducks, but not full avoidance, and there were no signs of aversion in geese. In another experiment, the flight distances of ducks from the person who performed the force feeding and from an unknown observer were measured. Ducks avoided the unknown person more than the force feeder. Their avoidance of the force feeder decreased during the force feeding period. There was no development of aversion to the force feeder during the force feeding process.

That's great and all but... (1)

Starteck81 (917280) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262117)

... that stuff doesn't make twinkies healthy why would I want to eat more of it?

Food as Art, Science or chemistry (3, Interesting)

cyberzephyr (705742) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262131)

Hello all,
Currently I'm doing the Chef part of my life at this time. What is being described here is very old stuff http://www.foodarts.com/ [foodarts.com] and all this stuff is just commonplace technique nowadays. Adria, Achatz, Andres I have met or worked with. It's really not that amazing when you think that we as culinarians are (actually they are), just being creative instead of the things that a lot of people have been eating all along but in a different form. For instance: Grant Achatz (whom i think is Awesome) guinness that's thickened with Gelatin is just "Jello" "tm" but flavored with beer. Ferran Adria is the guy you seek if you want to know/learn stuff He invented this whole thing in first place about 10 or 12 years ago and it took the world by storm. He makes drops of olive encase in suger bags. Hell, there is a gut in chicago that invented a computer printer that makes edible and taste-infused menu's that you eat to before you order your food: http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/Chicago_chef_invents_edible_menu [wikinews.org] . Anyway, my whole point is: We as chefs, are very creative, funny and dedicated to bring the food world into the computer world accepept as munchies on a late night!

Re:Food as Art, Science or chemistry (1, Funny)

karnal (22275) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262247)

You chefs also forgot to shut off teh boldz!

The Presentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21262137)

These chefs concern themselves so much with the presentation. Can't they buy an autofocus camera so their pictures don;t look like shit.

What did you think of these "chemists"? (4, Funny)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262295)

They were delicious!

Re:What did you think of these "chemists"? (1)

BorgCopyeditor (590345) | more than 6 years ago | (#21263059)

So one cannibal says to another, "Does this clown taste funny to you?"

High end struggles to catch up with the low end (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262307)

In commercial food production, none of this is new. Here's a first course in food chemistry [psu.edu] online. Read Sources of Flavor Volatiles in Food [psu.edu] (PowerPoint).

Some of the advanced technology used in food production plants [foodengineeringmag.com] is filtering down to the chef level. The commercial guys have to produce products that are storeable, transportable, and repeatable, so they have a tougher job. If you don't have to do that but have access to commercial technology, a whole range of interesting options open up. One of the newer ideas of interest is cryogenic grinding, where foods are cooled to liquid nitrogen temperatures before grinding. This reduces loss of volatile components (which carry most of the flavor) during grinding. Works well for nutmeg, and is being tried for other spices.

Re:High end struggles to catch up with the low end (1)

tsstahl (812393) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262635)

foods are cooled to liquid nitrogen temperatures before grinding

Great! Where the hell am I going to find room in my kitchen for the new Ronco liquid nitro food processor? A better question is will Sears service the darn thing?

WD-40 (3, Funny)

davidc (91400) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262403)

Okay, hands up those who read that as WD-40.

Re:WD-40 (0, Offtopic)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262563)

Ai

Re:WD-40 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21263119)

Dammit! NOW what to with all these cans!

Why do they call this food? (2, Insightful)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262455)

Ok, it may not kill you right away and it may have calories, but I don't consider that edible.
Sounds worse than McDonald's to me. Yuck.

Please buy a Macro lens, NOW! (1)

ChangeOnInstall (589099) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262473)

That site literally made my eyes hurt.

I'm a medicinal chemist (0, Offtopic)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262529)

and I like to cook with marijuana. Eat it. In tomato sauce. With noodles. Or rice.

Re:I'm a medicinal chemist (1)

liquidsin (398151) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262999)

try here [marijuana.com] for more delicious ideas

Molecular gastronomy (2, Interesting)

vorpal22 (114901) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262591)

The technique is generally referred to as "molecular gastronomy", and has produced even weirder things than listed in the main article. For example, Dufresne has used "meat glue" (i.e. transglutaminase, which was, IIRC, designed to produce Chicken McNuggets) to make pasta entirely out of shrimp, and another chef has made flavoured edible menus out of soybean and potato starch with fruit and vegetable inks that come in such varieties as steak and sushi. Here's a page with some interesting links on Chow:

http://www.chow.com/stories/10411 [chow.com]

Just what I want when I get fine dining... (1)

nevesis (970522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262721)

.. strange foods tied together with massive amounts of chemicals to make them taste like real foods.

Isn't that what McDonalds is for?

I'm trying not to. (3, Funny)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262789)

Think butter that doesn't melt in the oven, foie gras you can tie into knots, and fried mayonnaise.

I don't want to think about butter that doesn't melt in the oven, or foie gras in knots ... and I especially don't want to think too much about fried mayonnaise. Cripes, talk about adding insult to injury.

health effects (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21262797)

is the type 2 diabetes epidemic not enough? heart disease? sometimes i think it just happens to be that anything done to food to make it live forever on a shelf is also going to make it live forever in your body.

i do hope food scientists begin to turn their guns on making food safer. everyone who gets put on a restricted diet becomes unable to eat these creations.

Oh great (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262885)

Somebody's gonna find a way to make bombs out of Twinkies, HoHo's, and gasp....Pizza! Then they'll ban them, and we'll be stuck with nutritious food. I hate it when McGuyver's go to the Dark Side.
     

The Art of Food Preparation is Timing (1)

LM741N (258038) | more than 6 years ago | (#21262983)

I don't know if Chemists in general are good with timing. When I was little my mother would start cooking for the day at 8am,making everything from scratch and magically at lunch and dinner all the correct dishes would be finished simultaneously. Now that is an art.

Nowadays scientists in universities don't have time for science. They must publish, get grants, do marketing, blah, blah. After a few decades of this they probably don't even know the value of pi. So how the hell do we expect them to get home in time to cook anything?

Re:The Art of Food Preparation is Timing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21263049)

Huh? Half the art of being a productive lab chemist is timing things so you're always doing something, but only one setup needs manual intervention (extraction, quenching, sampling, whatever) at a time, while the others are heating or cooling or just stirring. And, you need to have a dead spot around noon for lunch.

If you screw that up, you can end up trying to do too much and lose a reaction. Or, even worse, you get a period where have no lab work that needs attention, which means you have to work on your notebook.

Re:The Art of Food Preparation is Timing (1)

LM741N (258038) | more than 6 years ago | (#21263219)

Oh, we're talking the indentured servants. I thought we were talking about professors.

other interesting restaurants (2, Informative)

mandown (1185523) | more than 6 years ago | (#21263007)

looking at the blog referenced, there are possibly more interesting meals (and much better pics)

El Bulli (referenced in the comments above too - lots of crazy looking stuff)
http://chuckeats.com/blog3/2006/06/22/el-bulli-roses-spain-the-mad-scientist/ [chuckeats.com]

Keyah Grande (looks stunning)
http://chuckeats.com/blog3/2007/01/19/keyah-grande-pagosa-springs-co-rip/ [chuckeats.com]

El Poblet (i'm not sure of the techniques used but it looks wild)
http://chuckeats.com/blog3/2007/10/08/el-poblet-denia-spain-a-midsummer-nights-dream/ [chuckeats.com]

TV Dinners (3, Funny)

PPH (736903) | more than 6 years ago | (#21263117)

"I even like the chicken if the sauce is not too blue." -- ZZ Top

For some reason, this is the first thing that popped into my head when I read TFA.

WD-50 is good if you are in NYC (1)

chiefloko (450100) | more than 6 years ago | (#21263165)

If you are in Pittsburgh....
http://www.bigelowgrille.com/alchemy.html [bigelowgrille.com]
is a lot better, also not cheap.

but the chicken and waffles were unbelievable.
chicken = fried chicken skin, cut in the shape of a chicken
waffles = some sort of butter/syrup jello
gravy = gravy that was made into crunchy/soft foam?
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