Friday, March 12, 2010


Food additives, thousands in number, some approved and others under the GRAS have made foods exciting to look at and increase the pleasure of eating as experienced by the oral sensors man is endowed with. While use of these adjuncts in reasonable quantities to "enhance" the organoleptic quality of foods in general is understandable, their indiscriminate use has attracted wide spread criticism against the food industry. These very substances are now finding entry into the kitchens of hotels and house holds as they become increasingly available in the market. Molecular gastronomy is based on the effect of these flavor, texture and taste enhancing substances in the day to day cooking adventure.

"Molecular gastronomy describes a trend in food preparation. Chefs use scientific knowledge of chemical reactions in the kitchen together with technological advances in food industry equipment to create inventive dishes with surprising textures and tastes. Home cooks have seen the likes of Wylie Dufresne and Jose Andres create spherical desserts, foams of every description, and even powdered peanut butter. Now these home cooks can recreate the miracles of molecular gastronomy for themselves".

Food additives like agar agar, alginates, purified starch powders, modified starch preparations,colors, flavors, gum products, maltodextrins, egg white powder etc are making molecular gastronomy a day to day happy experience. Imagine the pleasure of making custard at home using modified starch or agar agar which is more stable to higher temperatures avoiding melting into sticky product. The danger in such wide spread availability of these chemical substances lies in their unregulated sale in the market with practically no control on their safety. Availability and use of banned food colors still exist in certain pockets in India because same dyes are used in many inedible products also.

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