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The Kitchen as LaboratoryReflections on the Science of Food and Cooking$
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César Vega, Job Ubbink, and Erik van der Linden

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231153454

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231153454.001.0001

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Lighten Up!

Lighten Up!

The Role of Gases in the Culinary Experience

(p.100) Fourteen Lighten Up!
The Kitchen as Laboratory

Matt Golding

Columbia University Press

This chapter explains how something as nebulous as air or gas can be contained and structured so that it lends texture to food. The answer is through the creation of foams. Foams are a class of materials, termed colloids, in which two incompatible phases, water and air, are mixed together by dispersing one phase (air) into the other (water). The dispersed state in foams is in the form of bubbles. As such, foams are often particularly short-lived systems and can be rapidly destabilized. The lifetime of foam is affected by several properties, most notably composition of the bubble surface, bubble size, and the physical properties of the phase surrounding the bubbles, such as stiffness, thickness, and solidity. The chapter discuses how foam lifetime can be controlled through these different aspects, and how it can in turn be used in the design and production of some remarkably diverse gas-containing foods. It is also possible to prepare food foams whose lifetimes extend from seconds to years.

Keywords:   science-based cooking, food, science, foams, colloids

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