Does Molecular Gastronomy Make You Nervous?


Mustard ice cream on braised pineapple with coconut foam, pineapple tuille, and mustard sauce at wd-50 in New York. Photograph from roboppy on Flickr.

Molecular Gastronomy doesn't have to be scary as it sounds.

As our Chicago correspondent Michael Nagrant points out at Hungry Mag, frying an egg in a skillet "southern grandmother style" is molecular gastronomy. The egg proteins get friendly with other molecules. The runny yolk solidifies. Molecular gastronomy—in action! Done.

Then you have Alinea chef Grant Achatz and his idea of molecular gastronomy. Before dining at Alinea, Nagrant thought the experimental foams and mousses might "reinforce or mimic the alienation of the world, leaving us more cold and unsettled than we were before." Cold and unsettled: nobody wants to feel that at the table. But that was before he ate at Alinea.

Just because it's sciencey doesn't mean molecular gastronomy has no "soul" or "classic roots." For Nagrant, the food "evoked real and personal memories of seasons past." Are you still skeptical of molecular gastronomy? Prefer the runny yolk option? Or could coconut foam remind you of a childhood emotion or past summers?