Food and Chemistry

I want to play with my food. Lately I've been reading about using industrial chemical techniques at home. Here's a link to an interesting article on just that topic.

The article is written by Louisa Chu, who is a chef and food writer. She's on PBS's Gourmet's Diary of a Foodie as well as Movable Feast.

The point of the chemical exercise is to encapsulate liquids. All that is required to do that is to add sodium alginate (from seaweed) to the liquid then drop small quantities of the mixture into a dilute solution of calcium chloride. The reaction of the two chemicals forms a skin with the liquid inside. The example on the page above, and the picture to the left, used ice tea but you can use pretty much any liquid.

Avant garde restaurants use this technique to add liquids to a plate in "dry" form so they can have intense flavors without the problems that liquids like sauces can present.

There's something very amusing about the idea of rolling balls of ice tea around a plate. Or tossing them up in the air and catching them in your mouth. Better than peanuts! I wonder if this is how they make paintballs? LOL Of course they don't make them that way, but there's a lot of foods that use this process. Just look around at product labels for sodium alginate sometime--you'll be amazed how often you see it pop up.


Bob-kat said…
Interesting. I never knew this was how they handled food sauces.
tiff said…
That is so freaking COOOOOL!

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