Friday, July 6, 2012

"Why Are You Putting So Many Chemicals in Your Food?"

Most chemists' pet peeve is the label on food that says "chemical-free." Last I checked, most food was made from atoms, and all food is therefore made of chemicals. Nathan Myhrvold researched chemistry and food, published the five-volume, beautiful (but inaccessibly priced) Modernist Cuisine, and in much briefer form summarizes the counterargument to the "chemical-free" label here. My favorite part is this connected article in which he opens up his pantry and tells you what chemicals are in there and why. There's a recipe for chemical-laden grilled cheese if you like.

I sense some biochem exam questions coming on ... but what do you do if you run out of sodium citrate? It's not like you can run over to your neighbor and ask for a cup ...

2 comments:

Deanna said...

Why are these books so expensive? It can't just be because it's a five-volume set. Is this the one that has the cutaway pics?

BenMc said...

Yep. And they worked on it for years and years in a specialized lab, yada yada yada ... I think I spied a copy at SPU's reference section, however, and that seems much better than ponying up that amount of money. Libraries are cool.