Teaching Molecular Gastronomy in a high school advanced culinary techniques course

In the Modernist Recipes Forum
Hi,
I am looking for information from anyone who has introduced molecular gastronomy in a high school foods class. I have the book Getting Started and want to introduce this concept into my advanced culinary techniques course. I find the book very easy to understand but would like ideas about what recipes would be easiest and most fun to introduce to the kids, for the first time, about this great way of changing texture and the way they presently look at food prepartation. Next year the department will be purchasing all the equipment needed except the very expensive Sous Vide machine and other high end things. The book does a great job of showing basic equipment that can be used. I also would like to know what basic ingredients and chemicals I would need to order to get started. The starter kit I see in the book already has somethings we have in our labs so I wouldn't want to buy things I already have. Finally, are there any on-line classes that I could take to help me better understand this concept of creating foods.
Thank for any information to help.
Katie


2 Replies So Far

Hi Katie, I'll get back to you tomorrow with some details. I just ran out of time today and couldn't get anything together. Sorry!
Hi Katie, sorry for the delay. I haven't presented it to high school kids before but here are the things I found most interesting when researching modernist cooking for my book and what other people have mentioned to me. As for which ingredients to purchase, I'd just figure out a few techniques and dishes that you want to show to your class. Then you'll know which ingredients to buy to make them. Here's my list of cool but easy dishes: Spherification I think this is such a unique method of preparation and it's just like nothing I had ever done before. It also has the benefit of being easy to do, doesn't require any equipment (besides a blender of some kind), and both the setting bath and flavored liquid can be made ahead of time if you want. Ingredients: Sodium Alginate, calcium lactate or calcium chloride. Equipment: Standing or immersion blender Thickening One thing that Ideas in Food talks about is using xanthan gum with water to showcase how thickening works. They have the class taste plain water, paying attention to how it tastes and feels on the tongue. Then they add in a small amount of xanthan gum, having the class taste it again. They repeat this two or three times, adding more xanthan gum until the water is thick and mucus-like. Ingredients: Xanthan gum Equiptment: Immersion blender Marshmallows I loved making marshmallows for the first time. They're such an ubiquous food but I had no idea how they were made before researching the book. There's also something so interesting to me about taking some sugar, water, and gelatin and whipping it until it makes fluffy marshmallows. Ingredients: Gelatin Equipment: Standing blender with whisk attachment, burner Powdered Oil In retrospect this process makes a lot of sense because adding flour to water makes a paste but I never considered doing it with oil. It's also super easy and all you need is a whisk or fork. Ingredients: Maltodextrin Equipment: Whisk or fork Foams I think foams of all kinds are really cool but I especially like bubbles from an aquarium pump, airs, and thick foams from whipping siphons. All of those are very easy to make as well. Whipped foams with methocel are also pretty interesting too. Gels Gels have some interesting characteristics too. You can combine agar with different amounts of locust bean gum to show the spectrum of brittle to elastic. Making gel noodles is also really neat. I hope this helps give you some ideas, feel free to ask me any questions or clarifications on it. Thanks again and happy cooking (and teaching)! Jason Logsdon Modernist Cooking Made Easy


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