The science behind food

There aren’t a lot of people who wouldn’t say they love food, but cooking and making up new dishes is a whole other thing. There’s more and more talk about something called food science, or in other words – the science behind food. The term can be confusing since it actually refers to a couple of different things, and we’re going to take this opportunity to clarify it for you.

Imagine a really nice three-course meal. Chance are you’re having Italian for dinner. Now, food made in Italy such as Giovanni Rana’s or Buitoni’s is beloved by people from all over the world, and with good reason. Both of those companies export abroad and also international websites such as The New York Times (on this article about Rana’s Family) talk about them. Those people make not only delicious pastas and creamy gnocchi, but some of the best sauces and meat dishes as well. It’s definitely not a coincidence that their recipes are capable of producing bites for everyman’s palate. What makes them so good at what they do?

That’s something food science wants to explain and use in making up completely new dishes. This is why it generally refers to two very different activities – researching the cooking process and developing new recipes. In the following two paragraphs we’re going to talk about them individually to help you get a better picture of the science in question.

Researching the cooking process lets us understand it better. By doing it, we come to important new findings about the chemistry, biology and microbiology behind various methods for preparing different meals. The methods include but aren’t limited to baking, sautéing, frying and mixing ingredients. For example, learning how two ingredients mix lets us use that knowledge to create something better in a completely different recipe.

Developing new recipes is also a part of food science. Knowing how ingredients mix and what chemical processes make them do what increase our ability to be creative in the cooking process. That’s how we end up adding a brilliant new recipe to the long list of all the existing ones. The world’s greatest chefs are therefore very good food chemists as well. It’s a part of their job. What they do in the kitchen can be called science, and with good reason!