Saturday, March 18, 2006

Teaching science through cooking.

Sometimes we think our cooking sucks, but have we ever thought to step back to wonder about the reasons why the cooking may have sucked?

Well, I was pondering over this coz I totally failed to cook my water convolvulus dish yesterday. If you are wondering what that is, it just another word for "kangkung". If we apply the concept of science to cooking, a lot of us would be much better cooks. Indeed, cooking is not just a matter of just cutting, slicing, shredding, boiling or mincing food . I was just watching Iron Chef on tv earlier tonight. The theme of the show today was apples and chocolates (for Valentine's Day).

Two patteseries had to prepare dishes within the span of one hour to prepare as many dishes possible, and as
I watched, I realised that the chefs had to think of the best possible way to use and to incorporate their knowledge of the

1) properties of the food itself (apples and chocolates),

2) the kind of cooking instruments they had,

3) the amount of help they had (other staff).

There may be people who sniff at the importance of incorporating cooking as a subject in school. Yet, cooking
is one of the ways we can incorporate a lesson on

1) math:
-estimating how much of the ingredients is needed,
-estimating how much to cook for each person in the
household or friends or for the people we want to cook for)
-how much time to cook the ingredients we have put together
to the time we can eat it,
-how much time is needed to cook using the KIND of
instrument we have
- problem solving

2) science:
- time here is related to how long it takes to cook in
regard to the properties of the food,
- how properties of a food affect the different ways it can cook and used, i.e., chocolate cooked over heat makes its into liquid, which can be molded into a differnt shape for a dessert.


-what does one type of ingredient cook well with, for eg, what are the properties of self raising flour,
or plain flour, and what are they being used to make,

-what are the citrusy food and non citrusy foods and can they be put together when cooking?
- some foods neutralise the taste of meats, i.e, ginger in cooking meat crabs,
- the different kinds of wines that goes with diffrent kinds of meat, or that complements the food, white wine with white meat, red wine with red meat.

- what are the water soluble and non water soluble vege, i.e, kangkung is a water soluble vege and whithers one or two days straight away after being plucked, wherease harder vege like chinese cabbage and cauliflower has a longer life span and can kept for later

- what are the different ways the same food can be cooked (sauteed, pureed, boiled, fried, into a sorbet)
-how much of heat to use when fry or cooking the food, so that it turns out the way we want it?

3) social:
- feeling pride on a good job done
- sharing food
- fellowship over food
- learning to cook from watching other good cooks than making your own mistakes and wasting food! (as they say, it's better to watch and learn from someone else than waste time on your own!)

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