Role of chemistry in kitchen
Our day to day activities revolves around articles and objects that are manufactured from materials and substances received from chemical processes. Every one of us becomes an actor or a cause in daily chemical reactions without even realizing it for instance cleaning using detergents and washing clothes and utensils using water and soap. The role of chemistry in the kitchen is vastly significant. All the kitchen activities can, therefore, be interpreted as complex and real chemical reactions.
One of the main activities in the kitchen is cooking which is chemistry, and thus excellent cooks are always regarded as chemists. Cooking in the kitchen can be compared to the synthesis of organic materials in the laboratory, only that they involve pots and pans and not retorts and flasks. The modern kitchen is a replica of a chemical laboratory, and the only difference is that kitchen shelves are often filled with jars that contain spices and cereals, and a chemical laboratory is filled with reagents and not food intended materials.
Most of the ingredients used in the kitchen are chemicals. If not chemicals, they contain some chemical compounds. The entire cooking process in the kitchen entails chemically changing the foods beings prepared. The baking powder is a perfect example. It is used to rise flour. The question however, is, what is in this baking powder, what makes flour rise?
Well, baking powder contains sodium bicarbonate, monocalcium phosphate, carbon dioxide and dry acid salts. When mixed with flour then water added to it, brings about the rising effect in flour. Water simply acts as the catalyst. There is however the other need for the oven. In this case, there are some chemical compounds in the baking powder that need some heat to be activated. For example sodium aluminum sulphate. The higher temperatures in the oven therefore, help activate it, bringing further rise in the flour. These are all chemical reactions.
Chemical names in the laboratory for instance sodium chloride are replaced as salt in the kitchen. The cooking of dishes using recipes relates to the methodologies used to conduct a chemical experiment. Most people ask questions about the process that takes place when nutrients are heated maybe with a frying pan or sauce pan. Understanding these processes is vital for the development of new methodologies of cooking and traditional cuisine.
The addition of the required ingredients that chefs place into one’s dish and soul doesn’t matter if they support the classical traditions or maybe advocate for improvisation. What is important is that the process makes cooking an exclusive art and relates it to chemical science at the same time.
In a laboratory setup, when a green leaf is brought into contact with an acid when heated, it turns its color into some dull, brownish one. This is because the chlorophyll molecule made up of magnesium atom gets replaced by a hydrogen one. This knowledge is therefore important even in the kitchen setup, since vegetables have similar characteristics to a leaf in the laboratory. It is one of the reasons why one is advised to keep vegetables away from lemon juice or vinegar. Also, one is advised to cook vegetables for a shorter duration, so as to keep the green color intact.
Knowledge of the preferable amount of heat needed for cooking also comes in handy. For example, in the preparation of meat, knowledge of the required amount of heat and duration of it, helps. This is because such heat plays an important role in softening the meat, especially converting into gelatin, the hard connective tissues.