Oxford Symposium

Oxford Symposium


Listening to Vegetables

Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery Synopsis: In this talk I will explore the strange world of vegetable acoustics, from the sounds that tell us how fresh a vegetable is when we tap it to the use of vegetables as musical instruments. The talk will cover: The screams, groans and agonized poppings that trees make as their xylem columns break, and which root and leaf vegetables make as they dry out after harvesting. Acoustic testing of ...

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Vegetable Acoustics and the Carrot Clarinet

Oxford A talk which I gave at the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery, and which attracted some media attention. The talk was filmed and will form part of a forthcoming BBC4 TV series on the life and work of symposium founder Alan Davidson. An article featuring the talk (and the clarinet) subsequently appeared in the Financial Times on 17 January 2009.

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A Scientific Amuse-Gueule

Book Review: Kitchen Mysteries by Hervé This Times Higher Education Supplement This's new book is an exuberant paean for the role of science in cooking. The reader who is content to be swept along in a torrent of prose will be rewarded by many striking images, such as that of mushrooms that have been sliced too long before a meal and which "go black, as though mourning their freshness". The reader seeking concrete, reliable information ...

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Scientists and Food – Moral, Immoral or Amoral?

Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery, September 2007 Scientists have had a lot to do with food over the centuries. Their role goes back at least to the Romans, and to the discovery of some scientifically-minded but misguided genius that wine tasted sweeter when drunk from pewter goblets. Of course it did. The acid in the wine dissolved the lead to produce sweet-tasting, but poisonous lead acetate. The Romans soon learned by experiment that ...

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Memories of Oxford Food Symposia

“Memories of Oxford Food Symposia” - how does one disentangle them? Even though I have only attended two symposia, it feels like twenty because of the richness of the environment, both in terms of ideas and in terms of people. Others will have memories of ideas shared and friendships made. I also have such memories, but my two primary memories are of panic. The first panic was when I arrived with champagne jelly as my contribution to the ...

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Fat and Flavour (with Philadelphia chef Fritz Blank)

Oxford Symposium on Food and Cooking, St Antony’s College, Oxford, Sept 2002 The talk comprised two sections. The first was a brief scientific introduction (strictly for non-scientists!) outlining how oil-soluble flavour materials become distributed in the oily and fatty parts of a dish during preparation and cooking, and how these materials are released to the tastebuds on the tongue and palate and to the aroma receptors at the back of the ...

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