THE BLOG

PHOTOS: The Science Behind Your Favorite Foods

03/21/2012 12:48 pm ET | Updated May 21, 2012

Eating is a multi-sensory experience, yet chefs and scientists have only recently begun to deconstruct food's components, setting up the stage for science-based cooking. In our newly published book, The Kitchen as Laboratory: Reflections on the Science of Food and Cooking [Columbia University Press, $29.95], we present a global collection of essays, written by chefs and scientists aimed to advance culinary knowledge by testing hypotheses rooted in the physical and chemical properties of food. Using traditional and cutting-edge tools, ingredients, and techniques, these pioneers create, and sometimes revamp, dishes that respond to specific desires and serve up an original encounter with gastronomic practice.

The essays in The Kitchen as Laboratory cover a range of food creations, their history and culture. They consider the significance of an eater's background and dining atmosphere and the importance of a chef's methods, as well as the strategies used to create a great diversity of foods and dishes. This collection will delight experts and amateurs alike, especially as restaurants rely more-and-more on science-based cooking and recreational cooks increasingly explore the physics and chemistry behind their art. Contributors end each essay with their personal thoughts on food, cooking, and science, offering rare insight into a professional's passion for playing with food.

In the following slideshow we present you a few of the specific hypotheses that are tested within the book. From the seemingly mundane to the food fantastic--from grilled cheese sandwiches, soft-boiled eggs, and Turkish, stretchy, ice cream, to perfecting ketchup, crispy duck skin, and solid sauces--our representative sampling barely scratches the surface of what is possible with a science-based approach to cooking.