La cuina, un laboratori personal

Posted on 25/06/2011 per

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La revista Journal of Chemical Education publica a la seva versió ASAP un article titulat Kitchen Chemistry que aprofondeix en la idea que darrerament hem anat impulsant des del nostre grup, que és la de veure la cuina com a una laboratori químic “bo”. De fet, aquest article del JCE parla de “laboratori personal”. I és que la cuina, malgrat que pot comportar un treball d’equip, és també un lloc d’experimentació, un lloc de prova-i-error, un lloc ple de satisfaccions resultant de múltiples reaccions químiques i canvis físics.

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I began to bake, appreciating the alchemy that can turn flour, water, chocolate, and butter into devil’s food cake and make it disappear in a flash

Aquesta és una de les cites de l’article, que barreja la màgia de l’alquímica amb el seny (i a vegades la rauxa) de la bona cuina, de la qual tan bons exemples en tenim darrerament a casa nostra. L’article també esmenta com fer caramels amb enzims, i fins i tot un review de l’obra de teatre “Oxigen”. Però sobretot l’article del JCE parla d’un treball d’un professor de grau de química, que impulsa el treball a la cuina com si fos una recerca estàndard:

Students personally conceive a hypothesis, design and implement experiments, and collect data…. All food items are treated as chemicals and appliances are treated as laboratory equipment when the students present their findings in a professionally written manuscript

I en què consisteix? Doncs

Encouraging students to take a different look at something they eat or drink as a possibility for a self-designed experiment with variables that can be changed is limited only by one’s imagination (and perhaps his or her pantry). What will they come up with? Even a young student could take the simple recipe for a pitcher of Kool-Aid: a cup of sugar, an envelope of unsweetened powdered drink mix, and water, and consider the parts that could be changed, for a link with the idea of concentration, and at a more advanced level, molarity. What if I change the amount of sugar? What if I change the amount of water? How does it taste when I change one of them? Do I like it better? Does the Kool-Aid look different?

que es pot trobar a The Kitchen Is Your Laboratory: A Research-Based Term-Paper Assignment in a Science Writing Course:

A term-paper assignment that encompasses the full scientific method has been developed and implemented in an undergraduate science writing and communication course with no laboratory component. Students are required to develop their own hypotheses, design experiments to test their hypotheses, and collect empirical data as independent scientists in their personal laboratories—their kitchens. Motivating students to use food preparation as a chemical experiment does more than just provide them with adequate data for their term papers. Students develop a new awareness for experimental variables, acquire experimental planning and development expertise, and gain an enhanced set of independent thinking skills. This inquiry-based assignment requires students to treat edible ingredients as a chemicals and kitchen equipment as scientific instrumentation. Students are required to provide correctly formatted scientific terms for all consumables and equipment, and they are encouraged to bring experimental results into the classroom to gather statistical taste-test data. Students submit their term papers as communication-type manuscripts, formatted using the communication-style template for The Journal of the American Chemical Society. The details and outcomes of this assignment are described along with sample excerpts from student papers over the past few years.

El treball a la cuina, sigui per fer pastissets o sigui per fer una esferificació, ha de resultar dons en un treball en forma de publicació acceptable al Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Molt bona idea! I s’aprèn a cuinar, tot treballant el mètode científic. Potser podrem aplicar-ho als nostres laboratoris. Perquè tot és química. I la cuina és el nostre futur també.

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