Eats and treats

A Taste of Molecules

I hate peppermint! So why do most folk love it and seek it out? What makes me recoil in horror over, let’s face it, something that has never done me any harm? And why is it that a flavour or a perfume can evoke memories of childhood or days gone by?

Diane Fresquez , in her fascinating book A Taste of Molecules, sets out her year long quest chiefly in Belgium where she lives, to try to understand better the science behind, and the secrets of, flavour. She took her search, which all began with a simple salsa she had made and taken to a friend’s house, seriously indeed, meeting en route many scientists and food producers who are trying to produce new flavours or understand their complex balances.

She introduces us to a bee keeper endeavouring to produce the perfect mead; a beer flavoured with banana designed to make it a more popular drink for women; apple breeding and whether dining in the dark heightens our other senses, and more.

Diane has an easy, flowing, style of writing that even the unscientifically-minded can enjoy and the book ends with some of her favourite recipes.

A Taste of Molecules. Diane Fresquez. The Feminist Press. ISBN: 978-155861-839-8. US$16.95 www.tasteofmolecules.com.

Beer & Science

Beer and science

Diane Fresquez’s latest project is to collect pH pHotos from all over the world to display in Copenhagen @scicityCPH @ESOF2014, Europe’s largest, general science conference . (The pH scale was developed at the Carlsberg brewery in Copenhagen in 1909.)

For the possibility of your pHoto being displayed at the conference take the pH of your favourite drink, snap the pHoto, and tweet @sel_pHies. More information at www.facebook.com/SelpHies.pH.scale.SciComm and “7 Ways Beer has Contributed to Science.” http://shotofscience.com/popular/7-ways-beer-contributed-science .

For inspiration a beer SelpHie taken @thepHbar, London.

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