28 March 2012
It's fairly common knowledge, amongst the drinks and food community, that you can affect taste perception using odour and scent. However the practical application of this knowledge behind a bar is still being explored. Take for instance a Vodka martini, combine it with different scents throughout the drink and you suddenly have several different flavoured martini's within one glass.
Sissel Tolaas created something similar, the median however was a bowl of rice and the scents not so much fruits or flavours as actions and emotions. The idea was to test your chemical senses and see how accurate they were. Tastes includes, Fear, Talk, Walk, Start, Future and Curiosity.
While this installation featured more around art and experience it does create a fairly simple template for interpretation by others.
More information from V2_ on the installation below. The main question of the installation is "which of these scents does your senses tell you to trust?"
"Chemical senses are gatekeepers of the body; they provide us with information about substances in the outside world and thus influence our decisions on what to eat, drink and think. What our chemical senses tell us about the outside world is however not hard-wired in the brain, but can be changed by experience. Experiences that in today’s world are the product of a food industry that does not necessarily prioritize our health. Can we still rely on our chemical senses to tell us which substances to consume?"
"The installation TASTE - ETSAT by Sissel Tolaas, trials your chemical senses on a journey passing six different tastes: Fear, Talk, Walk, Start, Future, and Curiosity. The visitors experience these tastes by eating plane rice while being exposed to six different odors. These odors were specially designed by Tolaas for V2_ for a presentation during the 2012 edition of the Rotterdam Museumnight and Test_Lab: Smell This! "
"Imagine entering a wood still moist from the morning dew with sunlight breaking through the thin foliage that grows on the edge of the forest. As the walk takes you deeper into the trees, the mood and scene becomes denser and thickets. The light darkens and the moisture and scents grow heavy."
As the drink begins, the lighter more subtle top and middle notes from the bitters are noticeable but brief. As the drink continues it is the base notes that you begin to ride and the umami that carries the deliciousness around your palate and keeps the tastes dynamic.
What was the first drink/spirit you ever tasted and what was your reaction?
I remember being allowed to have a sip of my mother’s margarita when I was very young in California. That would have been in the late 70s or early 80s and was almost certainly a blended margarita with some sort of fruit added. I remember wanting more and being told I wasn’t allowed to have my own.
What is the first cocktail you ever made?
Maybe I was inspired by that early sip, but the first cocktail I ever made was a blended margarita at a house party in Sacramento. I had to use a fake ID to go and buy cheap tequila and margarita mix… I hope my drinks have improved since then!
What was the first drink/spirit you really fell in love with and why?
I remember drinking Scotch when I was 18 and thinking I was very sophisticated, but in truth I didn’t really enjoy it, I just drank it under the false illusion that I looked cool. The first spirit I really fell for
in a big way was rum, and the more I explored the category the more I loved it. When I found my way to American Whiskey though it was love at first sip!
What is a flavour you have discovered recently?
I’m not sure there’s a particular flavour I’ve latched onto recently, every day I get to play around with whatever I feel like working with. I treat drinking the same way I treat cooking, I look around and see what ingredients appeal to me at any given moment, think about how to combine them in a way that I haven’t done before and see what I come up with.
What does the future hold for you?
Who knows? I’ve been doing quite a bit of travelling in Europe with Four Roses and look forward to hitting Spain, Italy and France soon. My blog Bittersandtwisted
Any industry predictions for the next couple of years?
I hope we’re going to see a slight diminishing of the trend of every bar making homemade bitters and tinctures. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great that bartenders are exploring new avenues of creativity, but I think maybe it’s gone to far. The other thing I hope to see more of is bartenders learning from chefs. There are lots of gastronomic processes that could easily be applied to cocktails if bartenders would take the time to learn them.
If you were to have a conversation with a spirit (and presuming it could talk back and tell you its past) what would it be?
I can’t picture myself having that conversation about a spirit, but give me the chance to talk a cocktail and find out it’s past and I’d jump at it. I’d be torn between a few, but if I could ask a martini about it’s history, especially who first made it and was it a variation on a Martinez that would be kind of cool (in a very geeky way).
Which to you is the most appealing spirit and why?
That’s such a difficult question. A lot of people know me as a Bourbon guy, or as a Rum man, but in truth I like most spirits and they all have different appeal to them. I guess if I had to pick a spirit I wouldn’t want to live without it would be American Whiskey, but I’d be sorry to see rum, tequila and gin go.
What are your 3 favourite cocktails?
The three I drink most often are the Manhattan, Boulevardier and Sazerac, but that’s partly down to working part time for a bourbon brand. I think the daiquiri is the most perfect summer drink, and the aviation is a favourite too… hell I just like drinking cocktails, I’m not sure I could be tied to a definitive top three.
If you could pass just one thing, on to a young bartender what would it be?
Watch and ask questions, it’s a simple as that. The moment a bartender stops being interested in learning they’re usually on the road to arrogance. A bartender who thinks they know it all is usually a bore to be
around. Oh and stay humble, at the end of the day we’re making drinks not curing cancer, so don’t take yourself and this industry too seriously. The moment you take the fun out of drinking you’ve missed the point.
What influences your drinks from outside the industry (i.e. art, fashion)?
I’m not sophisticated enough to be influenced by the likes of art and fashion, I’m just a simple guy who likes eating and drinking, so I’m going to say food influences me the most. I cook a lot, and I love experiencing new combinations of flavours, and I guess I look at cocktails in the same way I look at food. To me it’s inspiring when a chef presents food in an unusual way that makes you think about it, or brings flavours together in an unexpected way. That being said, don’t call me a bar chef, I hate that shit!
If you where to break a bartending golden rule what would it be?
There are rules to bartending? Who knew it? To be honest I’m not a bartender by profession so I probably break lots of rules without knowing it when I’m behind the bar. I just make drinks, try to keep tidy and have fun with my customers… maybe someone will give me the rule book for my birthday so I can find out what I should be doing?
Outside of flavour and the craft of the cocktail what in your opinion effects the appreciation of cocktails the most?
It’s a toss up between the atmosphere of the place where you’re drinking and the bartender who’s making your drink. Being in the right setting with the right people doesn’t make the drink taste any different, but you’ll enjoy it more if you’re in good company in nice surroundings. To me though a great bartender controls the room in which he or she is making drinks, if they are on good form then the buzz starts behind the bar and spreads to the customers.
If you where to champion a cocktail which would it be?
I champion the Boulevardier (2 parts bourbon to 1 each of sweet vermouth and Campari, stirred and served up with an orange twist). I’ve been talking about them for ages now, and it’s nice to see that in more and more bars I don’t get a blank look when I ask for one. That’s probably more down to Ted Haigh including the Boulevardier in his book Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails than anything else, but I’ll keep spreading the word.
What gin do you prefer in your martini?
I’ve always been a fan of Plymouth, or if I’m splashing out and can find it then Beefeater Crown Jewel is a good one, but recently I’ve been enjoying Monkey 47 as my Martini gin of choice. It’s so complex and flavourful that it’s practically a martini in a bottle. I usually like my Martini wet with a twist, but with Monkey 47 I use a little less vermouth as it already has a lot of those notes in it.
How did you find the move to brand work?
I think I’m the only Brand Ambassador who doesn’t come from a bartending back ground. I actually started out working in restaurants and moved into the sales and marketing side of the drinks industry. As soon as I got into the drinks industry though I started learning. As soon as I could I started picking up events work and then bartending shifts in friends bars. Next thing you know I had the bug and haven’t looked back since. So I tell people I’m no bartender, but give me a chance to jump behind a bar and make a drink and I’m there. I’m lucky that in my role I quite often get asked to ‘star-tend’ in bars when I’m travelling, so I’ve shaken and stirred in some of the best bars in the countries I’ve been to in the last few years.
Ever wondered what Tony C has many of, if he could drink with anyone who would it be, or the best chat up line he has ever heard? Wonder no longer! Easy Living has all the answers and more, including some great photos, insights into the local area and favourite spots to drink.
Follow the link HERE to read the full interview.
As the name might imply this is bee pollen collected from wildflowers in the mountainous regions of Transylvania in Romania, completely untouched and untainted by pesticides and artificial means of encouraging growth.
The pollen will be dried immediately, after collection and avoids any kind of heat treatment. This preserves the pollen and keeps any nutrients, enzymes and flavour trapped and as pure as possible
Pollen as a food is known to be extremely rich in nutrients. It contains all known vitamins and minerals, all essential amino acids and astonishingly 50% more available protein than beef.
Pollen has been held in high regard by many cultures throughout history, Famously the Egyptians called it "life giving dust" whilst the Chinese, Romans, Anglo Saxons, and Aztecs all used the pollen in medicine and believed it to have great health benefits.
Flavour: Rich, sweet, perfumed, deep notes
21 March 2012
We have previously brought you the image and ingredients to the Barbershop Fizz, now we are very pleased to bring you the film. Filmed and edited by Thomas Whitehead, the drink plays host to pine infused Beefeater 24, birch syrup, patchouli, mint and lime juice. This cocktail, amongst many others, is a perfect example of how if you put the work into the prep the practical making of a drink can still be a very simple thing.
Thanks to evolution we have been conditioned to associate bitter flavour with danger or poison. Now, there are various arguments based around this slowly being out of us and in, especially certain parts of the world, we are developing a much higher tolerance to bitterness.
The problem comes when food companies start to us excessive salts, sugars and fats to mask "off" flavours in their foods. They hoped that GIV3616 would be able to address that balance and retain a delicious flavour but create healthier foods, including non-calorie soft drinks and bitter medications.
Bitter blockers were believed to be of most use to the 25% of the population who are labelled "super tasters" . Though the blocker will not completely diminish the bitterness in this particular group it will manage it and keep the unwanted flavour at acceptable levels.
John Finley, one half of the duo who developed the most recent product had this to say
“Earlier work with aspartame blocked bitterness in soy products, so we thought we could get similar results with mogroside V – an intense sweetener derived from plant sources.”
The compound masks bitter and astringent flavours and allows the addition of ingredients such as glycerine, ethanol, and potassium salts without effecting the flavour.
The duo set out to discover whether morgroside could block the bitterness in glycerine and salts which if used in high quantities can cause health problems. To their glee they found it did.
The next test pitted mogroside against potassium which is often used in place of salt but has a natural bitterness. They focused on the use of potassium in beverages such as sports and energy drinks. They again found that mogroside blocked the bitterness and enhanced the flavour of the drink.
Further experiments found the bitter blocker worked on products including soy beans, vegetables and Hominex, a mixture of amino acids that is often used as a source of protein amongst children with cystinurea.
Despite the wide range of possible applications the pair believe the real opportunity is within the world of beverages. Drinks would be high in potassium but taste sweeter and less salty.
Though the product may still be a way off, if at all, it could pose an interesting addition to bitter bar products. Drinks could be bitterer to taste without having to use the addition of sugar and overly sweetening the drink. With a trend for negroni's and Campari based drinks growing this could prove a special addition to the summer drink set.
The oleoresin is harvested by making the tree "bleed". The tree is wounded and penetrated through the bark into the sapwood, the subsequent ooze is myrrh. Frankincense is produced in a similar way. Myrrh is native to Yemem, Somalia, Eritrea and Eastern Ethiopia.
If we are looking to extract oil the species Commiphora and Balsamodendron should be used. The oil is produced through steam distillation of the resin and is used for perfumes, medicines, and incense.
While myrrh was popular in the ancient world, being used as medicine by China and Egypt and as part of a Egyptian sun-worshipping and mummification rituals, it is still proven to be of use in many modern cosmetics. You can find myrrh used as antiseptic in mouthwashes, gargles and toothpastes.
As an oil and as a scent myrrh is similar to amber and vanilla with a deep rich odour and flavour and is used in many scents and perfumes.
"If you are an active bartender, working in a bar anywhere in the world and you believe you can master the classic cocktails of Cuba, invent your own original cocktails and perform like a true cantinero, then you are eligible to apply for a place in the finals to be celebrated next May in Havana, Cuba."
You can apply for one of the wildcard spots through the link HERE.
Simply "Like" the page and fill out the subsequent form.
14 March 2012
The fruit appears rough and bumpy as well as being slightly smaller than a normal lime. Though the juice is not used too often, the rind and is commonly used in cooking and adds an aromatic and astringent flavour as well as being used in various Martinique rums.
What you will need:
Water - 1600ml
Sugar - 700g
O.j blossom water - 10ml
-Fine strain through a super bag into a container. This will both clarify and strain the mix, you can use a normal filter however the results may not be as clear.
-Add the liquid to a pan along with the sugar and orange blossom water.
Just when you start to thinking Heston has started to wane and find his sanity he reminds us why his restaurant and his approach are so original.
The idea is very simple. People have to wait 2 months to for their table at The Fat Duck so why is that time not being used to create buzz and excitement for the customer. It is a period when a customers expectations can be built and their senses stimulated in anticipation. We all know how important memory cues are, whether they are visual, audible, or olfactory, memories and associations can be made before the meal and then harnessed during the meal.
Once a booking has been made people are emailed a link to an animated journey through a land that aims to whet both the appetite and senses in anticipation. Heston wanted to bring the sensations and excitement of "a kid in a sweet shop" to his customers before they had entered the restaurant.
The result is a tail that takes you through evocative and surreal landscapes, that have more in common with Alice in Wonderland than the real world, that lead you to the entrance of a sweet shop. The Neighbourhood decided the sweet shop would be pitch black but should stimulate you audibly rather than visually. They used the voice of John Hury and a binaural soundscape to provoke and draw out customers memories of childhood and bring them back to a time when they felt like "a child in a sweet shop".
Is there ever a bad time of year to drink gin? Probably not. In the same respect there is never a bad time of year to delve into Gins illustrious history and look at some classic gin cocktails that have built many foundations for modern drinks.
Date - Saturday April 21st
Time - 2-4pm
Cost - £40
Book now by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org
Make sure you book early as places will go vert quickly!
07 March 2012
"Scentisizer allows for the orchestration and spatial deployment of complex fragrances by giving precise control over the constitution and diffusion of scent accords in dynamic compositions. A tangible interface combines haptic and graphic features for managing an array of sixty four scent dispensers that maps a wide ranging olfactory field. Users can manipulate individual scent containers, much like organ stops to compose and time an accord in a direct and intuitive fashion. They can also control them with greater complexity and precision by means of a digital graphic user interface that allows for multi channeled sequencing and modulation of scent tones and dynamics. The analogue controls provide the haptic means for tangibly sculpting and visualising olfactory phenomena while the digital features add functionality and web connectivity, allowing Scentisizer to perform digitised olfactory score stored locally or accessed wirelessly."
Now, if one were to translate that into much simpler terms it would appear something like this. Scentisizer is a means for creating complex olfactory compositions, consisting of top, middle, and base notes, think of it like writing a song but with scent. The tubes allow users to specify how the scented oil, housed within each, is diffused. Below the tube is a heating mechanism which controls this. The sequence of scent intensity can be designed bespoke for each note. The graphic interface (towards the end of the video) allows a user to further specificy intensity and duration in a more accurate manner and leading to the composition being "played" by the Scentisizer. As show on the video each tube and colour represents a different scent.
The installation was built by Rodolphe el-Khoury who is the Canada Research Chair in Architecture and Urban Design and Nashid Nabian who is a partner in Arsh Design Studio, a practice based in Tehran with several award winning projects to its credit.
It is the threshold we all want to breach. How can we make cocktails more than just a cocktail. How can we build them into an experience, one that stimulates, excites and engages all of our senses much like food has done.
With the advent of The Culinary Journal on Gastronomy and Food Science, help is on hand. It is often described as a cross between the Modern Cuisinist and a science paper, however still maintaining its accessibility to the curious yet unschooled scientist. The information provided is vast and considering we have only currently seen volume 1, we can expect this treasure chest to grow and grow with each new release. Perhaps most notable, is the fact that all of this knowledge is entirely free and available to download as pdf's!
A little about the journal
"International Journal of Gastronomy and Food Science is an English language, peer-reviewed publication in the area of Gastronomy and Food Science. The journal reviews and explores adopting a scientific approach to all the current facets of this growing field: applied culinary and food science, technology, new culinary concepts, nutrition, food service, global tendencies in food (health, globalisation, ethnic flavours, etc.) and the socio-cultural aspects of gastronomy."
Below are some of the most relevant excerpts from an essay on "Sous Vide Cooking: A Review". I tried to pick out sections that would translate most easily to bar work, so please do take the time to read the full journal and article. Although much of the content currently focuses on food and we might have to rethink a few dishes to get them fitting into a martini glass, the concepts and ideas we can take away and build on ourselves are still extremely valuable.
You can read and download the full article at - http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijgfs.2011.11.011
You can read and download the full journal at - Science Direct
Sous vide is French for “under vacuum” and sous vide cooking is defined as “raw materials or raw materials with intermediate foods that are cooked under controlled conditions of temperature and time inside heat-stable vacuumized pouches” (Schellekens, 1996).
Food scientists have been actively studying sous vide processing since the 1990s (cf. [Mossel and Struijk, 1991], [Ohlsson, 1994] and [Schellekens, 1996]) and have mainly been interested in using sous vide cooking to extend the shelf-life of minimally processed foods—these efforts seem to have been successful since there have been no reports of sous vide food causing an outbreak in either the academic literature or outbreak databases (Peck et al., 2006). Chefs in some of the world's top restaurants have been using sous vide cooking since the 1970s but it was not until the mid-2000s that sous vide cooking became widely known (cf.  and [Roca and Brugués, 2005]); the late-2000s and early-2010s have seen a huge increase in the use of sous vide cooking in restaurants and homes (cf. , [Keller et al., 2008], [Blumenthal, 2008], [Achatz, 2008], , [Baldwin, 2010], [Potter, 2010], [Kamozawa and Talbot, 2010] and [Myhrvold et al., 2011]).
Sous vide cooking differs from traditional cooking methods in two fundamental ways: the raw food is vacuum-sealed in heat-stable, food-grade plastic pouches and the food is cooked using precisely controlled heating.
Vacuum-sealing has several benefits: it allows heat to be efficiently transferred from the water (or steam) to the food; it increases the food's shelf-life by eliminating the risk of recontamination during storage; it inhibits off-flavors from oxidation and prevents evaporative losses of flavor volatiles and moisture during cooking (Church and Parsons, 2000); and reduces aerobic bacterial growth—this results in especially flavorful and nutritious food ( [Church, 1998], [Creed, 1998], [García-Linares et al., 2004], [Ghazala et al., 1996], [Lassen et al., 2002], [Schellekens, 1996] and [Stea et al., 2006]).
Precise temperature control has more benefits for chefs than vacuumized packaging does: it allows almost-perfect reproducibility ( [Keller et al., 2008], [Blumenthal, 2008] and [Achatz, 2008]); it allows greater control over doneness than traditional cooking methods ( , , [Baldwin, 2010] and [Myhrvold et al., 2011]); food can be pasteurized and made safe at lower temperatures, so that it does not have to be cooked well-done to be safe (  and [Baldwin, 2010]); and tough cuts of meat (which were traditionally braised to make them tender) can be made tender and still be a medium or a medium-rare doneness ( , [Baldwin, 2010] and [Myhrvold et al., 2011]).
This paper first reviews the importance of time and temperature in sous vide cooking in Section 2. Section 3 discusses the basic techniques of sous vide cooking. Food safety principles important for sous vide cooking are detailed in Section 4. Some conclusions are drawn in Section 5. Finally, Appendix A briefly discusses the mathematics of sous vide cooking.
While vegetables are a rich source of vitamins and minerals, boiled or steamed vegetables lose nutrients to their cooking water (Charley and Weaver, 1998). Sous vide cooked vegetables, in comparison, retain nearly all their nutritive value ( [Creed, 1995], [Schellekens, 1996] and [Stea et al., 2006]). This superior retention of nutrients also intensifies the flavor inherent in the vegetable and can cause some vegetables, such as turnips and rutabaga, to have a flavor that is too pronounced for some people (Baldwin, 2010).
Vegetables that are boiled, steamed, or microwaved lose their nutrients because the cell walls are damaged by heat and allow the water and nutrients in the cells to leach out (Charley and Weaver, 1998). Sous vide vegetables leave the cell walls mostly intact and make the vegetables tender by dissolving some of the cementing material that holds the cells together (cf. [Plat et al., 1988], [Greve et al., 1994], [Georget et al., 1998], [Kunzek et al., 1999] and [Sila et al., 2006]). In vegetables, this cementing material starts to dissolve around 82–85 °C/180–185 °F. This cementing material can be strengthened by pre-cooking, say at 50 °C/122 °F for 30 min ( [Ng and Waldron, 1997] and [Waldron et al., 1997]). Starchy vegetables can be cooked at the slightly lower temperature of 80 °C/175 °F because their texture is also changed by the gelatinization of the starch granules in their cells ( [García-Segovia et al., 2008] and [Baldwin, 2010]).
While fruits are often eaten raw, chefs sometimes cook apples and pears until they are tender. Tart (high acid) apples, such as Granny Smith, soften faster than sweet (low acid) apples, such as Gala or Fuji, because the acid lowers the temperature at which the cementing material dissolves (cf. Charley and Weaver, 1998).
Legumes (beans, peas, lentils) are cooked to gelatinize their starches, make their proteins more digestible, and to weaken the cementing material that holds their cells together so you can chew them; see, for instance, Charley and Weaver (1998). Legumes cooked sous vide do not need to be pre-soaked, because they can absorb the same amount of water in 50 min at 90 °C/195 °F as they would in 16 h at room temperature (Charley and Weaver, 1998). Moreover, since the legumes are cooked in their soaking water, their water-soluble vitamins and minerals are retained.
Since vegetables, fruits, and legumes are cooked at 80–90 °C/175–195 °F, their pouches may balloon and need to be held under the surface of the water (say, with a metal rack). The pouches balloon because the residual air left in the pouch after vacuum-sealing expands and because some of the moisture in the food is converted into water vapor.
For example, Baldwin (2010) suggests that non-starchy vegetables be cooked sous vide at 82–85 °C/180–185 °F for about three times as long as they would be boiled, starchy vegetables at 80 °C/175 °F for about twice as long as they would be boiled, and legumes at 90 °C/195 °F for 3–6 h, depending on the species and when it was harvested.
Sous vide cooking is a powerful tool in the modern kitchen: precise temperature control gives superior reproducibility, better control of doneness, reduction of pathogens to a safe level at lower temperatures, and more choice of texture than traditional cooking methods; vacuumized packaging improves heat flow, extends the shelf-life of the food by eliminating the risk of recontamination, reduces off-flavors from oxidation, and reduces the loss of nutrients to the cooking medium.
Precise temperature control lets you take advantage of both the fast and the slow changes when cooking: the fast changes, such as doneness, are mostly determined by the highest temperature that the food reaches; the slow changes typically take hours to days and let you make tough cuts of meat, which would usually be braised, tender while maintaining a medium-rare doneness. Precise temperature control also gives you the ability to pasteurize meat and poultry at lower temperatures than traditional cooking methods and so they no longer need to be cooked well-done to be safe.
Vacuumized packaging is important when extended shelf-life is required: the vacuumized pouch prevents recontamination of food during storage and allows for the efficient transfer of heat. Vacuumized packaging is not necessary when doing cook-hold sous vide cooking and many restaurants do not vacuum package the food and cook directly in a convection steam oven or in a temperature controlled bath of fat (e.g., oil or butter) or flavored broth (e.g., stock) if it will be served immediately.
The drink is available from Tuesday to Saturday ONLY between 5pm - 7pm. More information to come next week.
There are two schools of thinking, when it comes to Sidecar ratios, the french and the english. This is the English version, as appose to the French which calls for equal parts of all ingredients. This recipe was first mentioned in 1930 within The Savoy Cocktail Book.
40ml good quality cognac
20ml Merlet triple sec
20ml fresh lemon juice
Shake vigorously with cubed ice
Prepare a cocktail glass with a full sugar rim, by rubbing a lemon wedge along the outside of the glass and roll it across a small plate of white sugar.
Remove any excess sugar from the inside of the glass with a napkin
Friend of Drink Factory and all round great guy Naveen Sinha, would like you to offer your input in "designing the course of the future". This will invariably appeal to our American readers slightly more, however how do we move forward without open forums and the sharing of information? So with that in mind we encourage everyone and anyone to get involved.
Naveen played an important role in the Science and Food Course last year, which produced some incredible lectures from some of the world leading chefs and food scientists. The team at Harvard are currently tweaking the syllabus for the new iteration of the course, which starts later this autumn and would like your input. This is what Naveen see's this new class involving.
"I wanted to use the seminar to develop my dream class that combines the scientific and culinary worlds. I was inspired by Science Fare and similar blogs, and how the process of writing about experiments in the kitchen could be an engaging way to teach physics and chemistry.....I would be thrilled if some of the ideas could be implemented in an actual course."
"One of the first things we learned in the seminar was backwards design: start with what we want the students to be able to do at the end of the course, then construct lessons and assignments to make that possible. For my hypothetical course, I would tell prospective students how they could become active participants of a rapidly growing network of culinary experimentalists. Specifically, this includes the following stages:"
•Read and understand recipes from a full range of sources, including home cooks, professional bakers, and modernist chefs. You will become proficient in using ratios, calculating concentrations, working with significant figures, and making order-of-magnitude estimates. These are all the mathematical equivalent of knife skills, and lay the foundation for any quantitative work.
•See the underlying physical similarities between different types of materials, both edible and not. For instance, how is whipped cream like shaving cream? How are they produced? How are they stabilized? How does this relate to whipped cream from aerosal dispensers or an iSi Whip?
•Read the current science-themed food blogs and journals, such as Cooking Issues, The Food Lab, Ideas in Food, and Khymos. Since this is an emerging field, much of the exciting research is described in a variety of on-line sources. This course will help you understand the underlying scientific insights or technological advances that enabled the current work.
•Conduct well-designed culinary experiments, using a thorough documentation format. The range of options to explore is vast, so how do chefs select the relevant variables? In most science labs, the dependent and independent variables are clearly defined, but there is far more flexibility in the culinary realm to decide what to vary and what to measure. Through the weekly assignments, you will become skilled in finding systematic ways to explore culinary techniques.
•Share your results in an on-line format, so that your results can be replicated by people around the world. The best authors explain their motivation for doing the work, use clear photographs to demonstrate their procedure, and elegantly present their results in a visually-compelling format. This course will develop each of these skills.
•Propose solutions to culinary problems, based on your knowledge of the physical structure of the food. In addition to presenting your own results, by the end you will be able to post insightful suggestions on other blogs. You may not have the culinary experience of the authors, but your unique viewpoint of starting from the microstructure could lead to useful ideas.
For more information head over to Science Fare or get involved immediately by tweeting @nisinha or @harvardscicook with any ideas or thoughts you might have.
Often found in Japanese incense and Chinese medicine. Aloeswood is resin produced from the aquilaria tree which is native to India, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam.
The tree produces snow white flowers that have a heavenly sweet scent. However the most valued product of the tree is not it's flower or bark it is infact it resin. The resin is produced in response to fungal or mold attacks to counteract the attack and protect the tree. The resin produced is extremely aromatic and it is this resinous wood that is valued so highly around the world. The resin is commonly referred to as Jinko, Aloeswood, Agarwood and Oud.
In recent years the resin has tried to be artificially induced by deliberately wounding the tree leaving it open to infection. This, however, produces something known as agar#2 which is notably less aromatic.
There are six kinds of Aloeswoods found and often used in Japanese incense. - Kyara, Manaban, Rakoku, Manaka, Sumotara Sasora
Kyara - This is the most famous and well known of all Aloes wood. Kyara has a particular odor described as: "A gentle and dignified smell with a touch of bitterness. The fragrance is like an aristocrat in its elegance and gracefulness." Kiyoko Morita notes in her published work, "The Book of Incense,"
Rakoku - A sharp and pungent smell similar to sandalwood. Its smell is generally bitter, and reminds one of a warrior.
Manaka - Smells light and enticing, changing like the mood of a woman with bitter feelings. The fragrance is of good quality if it disappears quickly.
Manaban - The smell is coarse and unrefined.
Sumotara - Sour at the beginning and end. Sometimes mistaken for Kyara.
Sasora - Cool and sour. Good-quality sasora is mistaken for kyara, especially at the beginning.
Though the oil and resin of Aloes Wood is very hard to come by , the incense is quite easily available with a bit of searching. Anybody who has experimented with smoking will know it can be a dynamic addition to any drink.