The Experimental Cuisine Collective in partnership with Culinary Historians of New York Presents
“Making It Delicious: Flavor Science and the Industrialization of Food in the U.S.” with Nadia Berenstein
Grab any item off the shelf of a grocery store, and you’re almost certain to find some variation of the words, “contains natural and artificial flavors” on the package. What are these flavors, where do they come from, and what makes some of them “natural” and others not? Flavor additives are inescapable in our food system, but just as their components are often mysterious or mischaracterized, the history of these specialty chemicals remains largely untold.
Nadia Berenstein will examine how chemical additives designed to imitate, enhance, and improve flavor made their way into the U.S. food supply from the beginning of the twentieth century to the 1950s, telling the stories of the people and companies who made flavors, the food manufacturers who used them, and the people who consumed them. Along the way, she will consider how scientific and technological knowledge about flavor and its chemical and sensory properties reshaped scientific, legal, and cultural meanings of “pure,” “natural,” and “artificial” in the first half of the twentieth century, transforming the food we eat and the ways we experience it.
A reception will precede the talk, and a tasting of foods flavored artificially and naturally will be passed during the talk.
Nadia Berenstein is a doctoral candidate in the department of History & Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania. A 2014-2015 Haas Fellow at the Chemical Heritage Foundation, she is currently completing a dissertation about the history of flavor science in the United States. She holds a BA from Harvard College and an MA from New York University. A guest on the most recent episode of the Gastropod podcast, her blog, “Flavor Added,” is: http://www.nadiaberenstein.com/blog
Lee DeHaan will talk about his work to develop Kernza, a new grain crop, at The Land Institute in Salina, Kansas. Unlike all widely grown grain crops, Kernza is a perennial, meaning that after a single planting it will live for many years and bear numerous crops without reseeding. Perennials have tremendous potential to enhance sustainability by reducing pesticide and fertilizer contamination from agricultural lands and mitigating climate change through carbon sequestration. Dr. DeHaan’s work includes genetic improvement of Kernza through plant breeding and efforts to develop markets for this exciting new grain. Sample foods made from Kernza will be provided.
Lee DeHaan has been a plant breeder at The Land Institute since 2001. Raised on a farm in Minnesota, he has a strong background in the everyday challenges of agriculture. His focus is development of Kernza (wheatgrass) as a perennial grain. Lee earned a B.A. in Plant Science and Biology at Dordt College, and M.S and Ph.D. degrees in Agronomy, specializing in Agro-ecology, at the University of Minnesota.
Follow The Land Institute on Facebook here.
Food+Tech Connect is bringing something new to the table for restaurants.
On November 18th in NYC, the organization is teaming up with ShopKeep to host The Power of Brand: Growing Your Restaurant, a first-of-its-kind bootcamp taught by former Union Square Hospitality Group CMO Felicia Stingone. The day will culminate with an intimate discussion with superstar restaurateurs Danny Meyer, Founder and CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group, and Marcus Samuelsson, Chef, Restaurateur and Author at Marcus Samuelsson Group.
Whether you’re starting, growing or scaling your restaurant, this course will teach you how to use brand to strengthen your operations, marketing and culture. You will also get to speak with some of the most successful restaurateurs in the business about how they launched and grew their brands.
And it gets even better. Sign up using this link (or code “ECCpob25”) and get $100 off!
Building on his pioneering work in the science of molecular gastronomy, physical chemist Hervé This introduces us to the next profound revolution coming to our kitchens: note-by-note cooking.
Just as a modern composer builds a symphony out of waves of pure sound, so a meal can be created by a modern chef using pure molecular compounds to introduce novel consistencies, colors, flavors and tastes. For instance, imagine the possibilities of limonene, a colorless liquid hydrocarbon that smells like citrus, in imparting citrus notes to a dish where it was not feasible before; imagine using sotolon, with this wonderful odor of nuts; imagine a blue food having the freshness of cucumber, the pungency of wasabi, or the crunchinesss of an apple.
In freeing us from the limits imposed by animal and plant tissues, note-by-note cooking encourages experimentation with the realms of color, consistency, odor, shape, and taste. This opens up cooking to new forms of art and scientific exploration, but also new ways to feed humankind. Note-by-note cooking brings new solutions to problems of nutrition, energy use, and water shortages allowing for a more environmentally sustainable approach to the culinary arts.
Hervé This is a physical chemist on the staff of the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique in Paris. His translated works include The Science of the Oven; Building a Meal: From Molecular Gastronomy to Culinary Constructivism; Kitchen Mysteries: Revealing the Science of Cooking; and Molecular Gastronomy: Exploring the Science of Flavor, all published by Columbia University Press.
The Experimental Cuisine Collective is a sponsor of reThink Food (re-thinkfood.org), a groundbreaking conference co-organized by The Culinary Institute of America and the MIT Media Lab, which means a discount for ECC members! It will take place November 7-9 in the Napa Valley.
reThink Food brings together a diverse group of thinkers and innovators at the intersection of food, technology, behavior, and design. The initiative explores how big data, social networking, mobile computing, behavioral economics, marketing, neuroscience, agriculture, and culinary insight and strategy are radically changing food markets, systems, and our understanding of consumer choices.
Join presenters who include behavioral economists Dan Ariely (Duke University) and Michael Norton (Harvard University), scientists Lisa Mosconi (NYULMC) and Howard Shapiro (Mars, Inc.), chefs Christopher Kostow (The Restaurant at Meadowood), Daniel Patterson (The Daniel Patterson Restaurant Group), and Maxime Bilet (Imagine Food), Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Moss (The New York Times), journalist and author Tom Standage (The Economist), along with CIA president Tim Ryan and MIT Media Lab director Joi Ito, and many more. A full list of confirmed presenters is here.
Use the code RTFECC for a 10 percent discount when you register (click here). A limited number of academic discounts are also available for university researchers and professors. Contact Jackie Chi at j [underscore] chi [at] culinary [dot] edu for more information.
ECC co-founder and NYU chemistry professor Kent Kirshenbaum will take us into the world of butter. We will look at:
– What butter is made of
– The physics of butter
– Different kinds of coalesced cream products, such as clotted cream and mascarpone
– The chemistry of butter and of butter flavor
– Chemical modifications of butter and the Maillard reaction
– Brown butter
– Smen, the mysterious fermented butter of North Africa
If time permits, we will also make butter and taste a variety of types of butter.