My 8 year old son looks forward to receiving his monthly Popular Science magazine. Stories on the future of robots, stealth technology and other types of gadgets captivate him, and I love how it works on his imagination. The top banner of the November issue, however, caught my eye: “The Future of Food.”
Yes, Popular Science has devoted over 20 pages to recent innovations in food science and technology. Pacojets, sous vide, transglutaminase and other aspects of the new style of cooking made famous by Ferran Adria, Wylie Dufresne, Homaro Cantu, and Grant Achatz are the subject of this fun read. The stories gain instant credibility in the foodie world as they are introduced by Harold McGee.
I particularly enjoyed the story about Dave Arnold, the Director of Culinary Technology at the French Culinary Institute. Written by Ted Allen, the story chronicles how Arnold first met Wylie Dufresne, and how that relationship resulted in Arnold becoming the scientific mastermind at the FCI. For recovering science geeks like me (I have a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Pathology) who spent many years surrounded by the equipment now coveted by serious gastronomes, I wax a bit nostalgic over my days in the lab.
There’s also a story about the science of taste and smell and a photo piece showing lots of cool equipment. Combined with McGee’s great intro, I encourage you to give this a read. And maybe your inner mad scientist will come out, too.