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Letter to “Times,” Thursday June 16 (2016), re food and Brexit.

At Theodore Zeldin's suggestion, supported and promoted by Paul Levy, here is a letter that I and 59 others signed, with food-related reasons for Britain to stay firmly in the EU. Sir, As people engaged in the food world, concerned about the cultural, nutritional and environmental effects of our food supply, and especially the quality of our diet, we urge Britons ...

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Podcast: “How to Bake Bread in a Microwave Oven”

(with Jeremy Cherfas) It CAN be done – so long as the dough is held in a suitable earthenware or ceramic vessel. Watch the podcast on "Eat This Podcast"

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The Great Aussie Barbecue

My talk at the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery, Oxford U.K., 8–10 July, 2011 Here's the full text: INTRODUCTION The Aussie barbecue is a unique celebratory institution. From humble beginnings, with meat cooked on a ploughshare over an outback campfire, or on a shovel in the firebox of a steam locomotive, the Aussie barbecue has now reached iconic ...

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The Kitchen Thinker: Anosmia

Daily Telegraph (UK) A great summary by food journalist Bee Wilson of a talk that I gave at the 2009 Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery. I described how the sense of smell is unique to each of us, and how this affects our enjoyment of a meal. Here is one example, as summarized by Bee: "Seven per cent of the population cannot smell trimethylamine, a compound ...

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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 ...

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All in the Best Possible Taste – A Talk with Tastings

A talk delivered to the local branch of the Society for Chemical Industry at the University of Cambridge This entertaining lecture (which I am often asked to repeat at other venues) introduced some surprising facts about food and flavour, such as that food manufacturers in Victorian times: Used tealeaves recycled with copperas (iron sulphate), Prussian blue ...

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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 ...

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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-...

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Ideal Toast

Daily Mail The first piece of toast that I ever ate was also the most perfect. There were no electric toasters in those days; certainly not in the Australian bush where my father was preparing a barbecue for the family. While the fire was dying down to a glowing layer of coals, he searched for the right tree branch – one that would provide a long enough "handl...

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How Does a Scientist Boil an Egg?

Daily Mail A scientist boils an egg in the same way that James Bond did in "From Russia With Love". Bond demanded that his eggs should be boiled for exactly three and one-third minutes, which is just the time that comes out of the scientific equation for egg boiling: Boiling time = 0.26 x (weight in grammes)2/3 This equation, devised by Dr. Charles Williams of ...

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