Posts Tagged ‘video’

Videos of Harvard lectures available

Sunday, November 21st, 2010

Remember the public cooking lectures at Harvard that I mentioned in September? According to the website they are *very popular* and the auditoriums are packed! This is good news, but the best thing is that the lectures are made available through YouTube and iTunes for free! So far 9 of the sessions are available, but I guess all will be available soon. If the picture is difficult to read, here’s the list of all the lectures:
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TGIF: Food related “Periodic videos”

Friday, August 20th, 2010

I believe most chemists are familiar with the “periodic videos” from the University of Nottingham, covering all the known chemical elements. The series features professor Martyn Poliakoff who’s grey hair is really worthy of a professor! They have now covered the complete periodic table of elements, and have even started to update some of their previously posted videos. There are also thematic videos as well as videos covering specific molecules appearing now. As a chemist I think the videos are great fun to watch since they show a number of exotic experiments I’ve never seen before combined with plenty of nice-to-know facts. I certainly recommend all these videos (for an overview, check out their website), but the reason I chose to blog about this is that I was delighted to find a number of more or less food related videos! These are definitely not going to make you a better cook. But some of them are quite amusing to watch, and you may even learn some chemistry as you go. But most of the food related videos are really just for fun :)

Cheeseburger in hydrochloric acid

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TGIF: Science stunts for Christmas parties

Friday, December 11th, 2009

Richard Wiseman has posted a lovely video with Top 10 science stunts for Christmas parties:


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Superfast scrambled eggs

Saturday, October 24th, 2009

scrambled_eggs_1

Miss Silvia is full of surprises! She’s been around the house for a year, but only now did she reveal one of her hidden capabilities. Did you know that you can make scrambled eggs with the steam wand of your espresso machine? Me neither. It’s a brilliant idea and one can wonder why no one has done this before. I mean, espresso machines have been around for a while. And as it turns out – according to Kelly’s comment below this was done in San Francisco back in the 90’s. It seems as if the credits for rediscovering these scrambled eggs should go to Chef Jody Williams (and thanks to Jessica at FoodMayhem for posting this). I’ve tried it several times and it works very well. I’d even say that this gives you another reason to purchase an espresso machine with a proper steam wand! Many other reasons can be found in my first post about Miss Silvia. (more…)

Kamikaze cookery

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

There’s a new weekly cooking show you shouldn’t miss. It’s about cooking and science, or “Kamikaze cookery” to be more precise. And there’s a good dash of humor as well which doesn’t hurt. The first episode out is on how to cook that perfect steak (it’s embedded below, but on their site you can watch it at a better resolution). I’ve covered the topic before in my post on DIY sous-vide, but their video is much more entertaining :) They use a vacuum cleaner to suck out the air and a blow torch for the Maillard reaction! There is also a blog accompanying the videos. Hereby recommended!

Speeding up the Maillard reaction

Friday, September 26th, 2008


Ever thought about how pretzels and salt sticks get their nice brown color?

The products of the Maillard reaction provide tastes, smells and colors that are much desired and lend their charachteristics to a variety of foods. In this post I will focus on the factors that influence how fast the Maillard reaction proceeds. And more specifically I’ll give examples on how the Maillard reaction can be speeded up. This is not about fast food, nor is it about saving time. It’s more about controlling the browning reaction by speeding it up or slowing it down in order to get a desired end result.

The Maillard reaction is, to put it simple, a reaction between an amino acid and a sugar (there’s more on the chemistry at the end of the post). To speed it up you can do one or more of the following:
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Osmosis in the kitchen

Wednesday, April 9th, 2008

Lettuce should be fresh and crisp but upon storage water will eventually evaporate. The pressure inside the cells drops and the leaves shrink and become less appetizing. The simple yet effective remedy is to immerse the lettuce leaves in plain, cold tap water. The water will then diffuse back into the cells again. The process is known as osmosis [wikipedia].

For the following experiment I purposly left some lettuce (Lactuca sativa var. crispa, sold in Norway under the name “Rapid”, it’s a Summer Crisp/Batavian cultivar) to really dry out as you can see from the picture.

After approximately 4 hours in water the leaf looks like this. Notice that along the rim the leaf was so dry that the cells were damaged “beyond repair”.

To illustrate this relatively slow process I set my camera to take a picture every minute and left it for almost 4 hours. I then stiched it together and the resulting time lapse movie shows the process speeded up 720x (click if the embedded video won’t work).

The wonderful thing about this simple experiment is that it actually illustrates the essence of a recently rewarded Nobel prize (and I should thank Erik Fooladi for pointing this out to me)! The 2003 chemistry prize was awarded “for discoveries concerning channels in cell membranes”. The swedish Nobel foundation have excellent pages with further explanations for the public and for specialists alongside an illustrated presentation (recommended!). There are even two animations of which the first is also available on youtube (embedded below, poor resolution, download the original for higher resolution!). It shows how water molecules move through cell membranes: