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Study-Unit Description
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TITLE Kitchen Chemistry

LEVEL I - Introductory Level


DEPARTMENT Centre for the Liberal Arts and Sciences

DESCRIPTION This Unit will be showing the intrinsic links between cooking and chemistry. Everyday items – ice-cream, cured foods, mayonnaise, jams, bread – will be looked at from a chemical point of view. Why is ice-cream creamy, and why does mayonnaise not split into oil and water? And why can jams be spread, and don’t go mouldy?

What happens at a molecular level when we fry, bake, roast, grill our foods? And why do eggs and bacon, but also white chocolate and caviar, taste good together? The chemical basis of all this as well as a look at some natural vs artificial ingredients will be investigated.

The basic chemistry principles discussed in this unit will be covered in the first lecture and no specialist chemistry knowledge is expected prior to this unit.

The lectures will include a number of demonstrations to better explain the topic being discussed.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the Unit the student will be able to:
- Explain the basic chemical processes occurring in a range of food products and cooking processes;
- Understand what constitutes a foam, gel, emulsion and in which products these are found;
- Discriminate between the different basic tastes when presented with a range of foods.

2. Skills:

By the end of the Unit the student will be able to:
- Pair ingredients on the basis of their flavour chemicals;
- Preserve food in a safe wholesome manner;
- Use chemical and natural leaveners to achieve aereation.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

- Joachim, D., Schloss, A. Handel, A. P. (2008) The science of good food: the ultimate reference on how cooking works . Robert Rose.
- McGee, H. ( 2004) On Food and Cooking. Scribner.
- Segnit, N. (2012) The Flavour Thesaurus. Bloomsbury.
- Stuckey, B. (2013) Taste: Surprising Stories and Science about Why Food Tastes Food. Astria.


Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Robert Cordina

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2017/8, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.
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