Chemistry for Cooks

An Introduction to the Science of Cooking

by Greer

ISBN: 9780262372589 | Copyright 2023

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A fun approach to teaching science that uses cooking to demonstrate principles of chemistry for undergraduate students who are not science majors, high school students, culinary students, and home cooks.

How does an armload of groceries turn into a culinary masterpiece? In this highly accessible and informative text, Sandra C. Greer takes students into the kitchen to show how chemistry—with a dash of biology and physics—explains what happens when we cook.

Chemistry for Cooks provides all the background material necessary for nonscientists to understand essential chemical processes and to see cooking as an enjoyable application of science. Greer uses a variety of practical examples, including recipes, to instruct readers on the molecular structure of food, the chemical reactions used in cooking to change the nature of food, and the essentials of nutrition and taste. She also offers kitchen hints and exercises based on the material in each chapter, plus do-it-yourself projects to encourage exploration of the chemistry that takes place when we cook food.

· Perfect for science courses aimed at non–science majors: does not require prior knowledge of chemistry, physics, or biology

· Equally useful for general readers, home and professional cooks, and culinary students

· Topics include what matter is made of, how the structure of matter is altered by heat, how we treat food in order to change its microscopic structure, why particular procedures or methods are used in the kitchen, and how to think critically about various cooking methods

· A reference section at the end of each chapter points readers to resources for further study

· Additional online resources include a solutions manual, a sample syllabus, and PowerPoint slides of all tables and figures

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Contents (pg. vii)
Preface (pg. xi)
Acknowledgments (pg. xv)
1 Some Basic Chemistry (pg. 1)
Matter (pg. 1)
Salt, Sodium Chloride, NaCl (pg. 15)
Exercises (pg. 20)
Project Topics (pg. 21)
References (pg. 21)
2 Measurements in Cooking (pg. 23)
Mass, Weight, Volume, Density (pg. 23)
Measuring in the Kitchen (pg. 24)
Tools and Methods (pg. 26)
Exercises (pg. 30)
Project Topics (pg. 31)
References (pg. 31)
3 Heat and Temperature (pg. 33)
Heat and Thermodynamics (pg. 33)
Temperature: How Do We Measure the Heat Energy at Any One Place? (pg. 35)
Energy and Calories: How Do We Measure the Amount of Heat in Matter? (pg. 36)
Heat Capacity and Heats of Phase Changes: How Much Heat Do We Need to Add to Change the Temperature? (pg. 37)
Heat Transfer: How Does Heat Flow from One Substance to Another? (pg. 39)
Thermal Expansion: How Much Do Substances Expand When They Get Hotter? (pg. 45)
Heat and Food: What Does Heat Do to Food? (pg. 46)
Exercises (pg. 50)
Project Topics (pg. 51)
References (pg. 52)
4 Water, the Miracle Molecule (pg. 55)
The Water Molecule and the Hydrogen Bond (pg. 55)
Hydrophilicity and Hydrophobicity (pg. 59)
Pressure (pg. 60)
The Phase Diagram of Water (pg. 61)
Solutions (pg. 66)
Water Purity (pg. 69)
Cooking and Water (pg. 69)
Exercises (pg. 74)
Project Topics (pg. 74)
References (pg. 75)
5 Acids and Bases (pg. 77)
Acids (pg. 77)
Bases (pg. 81)
pH for Measuring Acidity and Basicity (pg. 82)
The Reaction between Acids and Bases: Neutralization (pg. 86)
Acids and Bases in Food (pg. 86)
Exercises (pg. 90)
Project Topics (pg. 91)
References (pg. 91)
6 Just Enough Organic Chemistry (pg. 93)
Five Classes of Organic Compounds (pg. 94)
Four Reactions of Organic Compounds (pg. 102)
Exercises (pg. 106)
Project Topics (pg. 106)
References (pg. 107)
7 Fats and Oils (pg. 109)
Saturated and Unsaturated Fats and Oils (pg. 111)
Hydrogenation and Trans Fatty Acids (pg. 113)
Rancidity and Reactions (pg. 114)
Melting and Smoking Points (pg. 115)
Solubility and Density (pg. 116)
Heat Transfer and Heat Capacities (pg. 116)
Exercises (pg. 120)
Project Topics (pg. 121)
References (pg. 122)
8 Carbohydrates (pg. 125)
Monosaccharides and Disaccharides: Simple Sugars (pg. 127)
Polysaccharides: Starches and Fibers (pg. 133)
Carbohydrates in Plants (pg. 137)
The Structure of Plant Cells (pg. 138)
Cooking Plants (pg. 142)
Exercises (pg. 150)
Project Topics (pg. 150)
References (pg. 151)
9 Proteins (pg. 155)
Amino Acids and Protein Structure (pg. 156)
Protein Denaturation and Coagulation (pg. 159)
Enzymes (pg. 160)
Animal Proteins (pg. 161)
Plant Proteins (pg. 169)
Cooking Proteins (pg. 173)
Exercises (pg. 178)
Project Topics (pg. 179)
References (pg. 180)
10 More Chemical Reactions Plus Fermentation (pg. 183)
Oxidation–­Reduction or “Redox” Reactions (pg. 184)
Maillard Browning or Nonenzymatic Browning (pg. 185)
Fermentation: Yeast Fermentation and Bacterial Fermentation (pg. 186)
Exercises (pg. 192)
Project Topics (pg. 192)
References (pg. 193)
11 Colloidal Dispersions (pg. 195)
Colloidal Dispersions in General (pg. 195)
Solids Dispersed into Liquids or Solids: Sols and Suspensions (pg. 197)
Liquids Dispersed into Solids: Gels (pg. 198)
Liquids or Solids Dispersed into Liquids or Solids: Micelles and Emulsions (pg. 200)
Gases Dispersed into Liquids or Solids: Liquid Foams and Solid Foams (pg. 204)
Thickeners for Sauces and Gravies (pg. 204)
Effects of Salt and Sugar on Colloidal Dispersions in Water (pg. 205)
Exercises (pg. 207)
Project Topics (pg. 208)
References (pg. 209)
12 Diffusion and Osmosis (pg. 211)
Diffusion (pg. 211)
Osmosis (pg. 216)
Diffusion and Osmosis in Cooking (pg. 216)
Exercises (pg. 223)
Project Topics (pg. 223)
References (pg. 224)
13 Nutrition (pg. 225)
Digestion (pg. 225)
Nutrition (pg. 227)
Exercises (pg. 250)
Project Topics (pg. 251)
References (pg. 252)
14 Food and the Senses (pg. 259)
Flavor (pg. 259)
Herbs and Spices (pg. 267)
Food Additives (pg. 268)
Exercises (pg. 272)
Project Topics (pg. 272)
References (pg. 273)
Final Thoughts (pg. 275)
Index (pg. 277)

Sandra C. Greer

Sandra C. Greer is a retired chemistry professor who taught at the University of Maryland College Park and at Mills College in Oakland, California. She is a past winner of the American Chemical Society Francis P. Garvan–John M. Olin Medal and is the author of Elements of Ethics for Physical Scientists (MIT Press).

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