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May 19, 2010 Meeting

May 6, 2010

On May 19, Rabi Ann Musah, associate professor of chemistry at SUNY-Albany, will present The Culinary Chemistry of Garlic, Onions and Related Plants.

The worldwide popularity of garlic, onions and other plants that exhibit similar chemistry belies the unpleasant effects associated with their use and ingestion, such as the bad breath that is a by-product of garlic and onion consumption, or the lachrymatory effect elicited when onions are cut. Have you ever wondered how the pleasant smell of garlic that fills the air when it is being cooked somehow transforms into foul garlic breath on ingestion of the food? Have you ever wondered how and why the titillating smell of onions as they are being chopped is accompanied by painful tearing and post-nasal drip? How are the flavor and odor compounds in garlic and onions transformed during the process of cooking? These and other questions will be addressed as we explore the kitchen chemistry of not only garlic and onions, but also spices from far-off lands that exhibit similar chemistry.

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