Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Where to start! I had a great last week of vacation getting to know my AID friends better, meeting more people and shopping with Pauline and Lisanne :) I've met a few other Americans now! One from Syracuse and 2 from the Chicago area. None have the same major as me, but they are still in the Food department. So now I have a few friends to help throw a Halloween party and to have Thanksgiving dinner with! 

Yesterday my courses began! Because there are 6 periods here instead of 2 semesters, I take only 2 classes at a time. Right now I am in Food Ingredient Functionality and Molecular Gastronomy. Both seem like courses that I will LOVE, which is very exciting to me! (after not enjoying roughly 90% of the courses from my chemistry degree...)

Ingredient Functionality will be a lot of food chemistry and physics, like the techno- and biofunctional aspects of foods. (basically what ingredients do at a molecular level inside and outside the body). My favorite fact from day one involved how Unilever got an idea from a fish for an ingredient to improve low fat ice cream. (the major problem with making low fat ice cream: less fat = more water = more ice = crunchy gross ice cream) There's a fish called the ocean pout that lives in water at sub-zero temperatures, so people were curious how the heck it survived without all of its tissues freezing. Turns out, there's a specific protein that it has in its cells that prevents ice crystals from growing, which keeps the fish from turning into a popsicle. Unilever figured out what the protein was, how to make it using fermentation and now can put it in low fat ice cream to keep large ice crystals from growing in it. Thus, smooth normal ice cream instead of having large crunchy ice crystals. ...I hope my explanation made at least some sense....I don't plan to go into teaching

Molecular Gastronomy - the science of cooking- will be pretty unique. Apparently I'll be learning the chemistry and physics behind cooking, involving a few labs in the kitchen! The final lab will actually be a cooking competition where your group has to come up with a completely new, novel recipe and make it for a judge. By new, they basically mean making something that looks like a food but tastes like something totally unexpected. For instance, an "egg" where the white is made up of a white gel with coconut flavoring and the yolk is a maize gel. So you have to make the dish and then explain the chemistry and physics behind why it works. Look for me on the Food Network some day.