What is molecular gastronomy and can you do it at home?


Cooking is an art, you can’t dispute it. But have you ever thought that you might eat spaghetti made out of cucumbers? What about olive oil balls or peas in the shape of cubes? Well, this is all possible by utilizing chemistry, physics, and biology. This field is called Molecular Gastronomy.

Gastronomy, or the study of food, is a science that has existed since the 18th century, mainly in Asian territories. In the 1980s, however, this field expanded to introduce molecular gastronomy. Molecular gastronomy is a field that studies the process of making food from a chemical, physical, and biological point of view in order to make foods that look more visually appetizing and are richer in nutrients. These meals are called “fine meals” by some gastronomes. Molecular gastronomy is mainly studied for the development of small-sized portions and includes three areas of work: social, artistic, and technical.

There are a lot of ways to achieve such objectives, including dehydrating food, induction of enzymes, liquid nitrogen, and foaming. Other methods are used to entirely change the shape of the meal, release different aromas from your dish, and release the high amount of fats in the shape of a powder. You might hate some specific dishes but when they’re exposed to such changes, you might actually fall in love with them.

Molecular gastronomy turns cooks into scientific researchers when they hit the kitchen. Now, they’re obliged to do research about the processing their food, and ensure its safety when it undergoes the chemical and physical changes they’re exposing it to. The main reason that drives the cooks who master these processes is their belief that cooking is not just about tasting; it’s about observing and hearing as well.

For an example, there’s a dish called “Sea Sound.” This dish consists of eating sea snake powder while hearing sea sounds through a music player that is given out during your meal. Studies show that doing this is two times more enjoyable than eating normal sea snakes.

So, you may now be wondering if you can do this at home. Yes, you can. Some companies are even manufacturing kits for molecular gastronomy. However, these kits don’t offer much of what you may see in a specialized restaurant or in the videos you watch on the internet. They only offer instruments and tools to reshape the food, but not much in terms of changing its form from a chemical standpoint.

The possibilities are not as extensive when you’re doing molecular gastronomy at home using these kits. In fact, the best variation you can find is a way to foam and mix cocktails in a better way using whipping kits that are sold on the internet.

Other techniques for molecular gastronomy require high-end devices that are challenging to use, keep, and utilize in homes due to their temperature scaling and electric consumption. These techniques include the usage of ultrasonic waves to have well-timed cooked meals, anti-gridding to freeze oils and liquids instantly, liquid nitrogen to crystallize ingredients, spherification of juices, and usage of chemicals in processing food.