Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 1 session / week, 2 hours / session


Welcome to the seminar entitled Advanced Kitchen Chemistry. This is a Pass/Fail seminar involving 2 hours of class and 4 hours of reading and homework per week. We will take a scientific exploration on the food we eat and enjoy. Each week we shall have a scientific edible experiment that will explore a specific food topic. This will be a hands-on seminar with mandatory attendance of at least 85%. Topics include, but are not limited to, what makes a good experiment, cheese making, joys of tofu, food biochemistry, the science of spice, what is taste?

Required Textbook

McGee, Harold. On Food and Cooking, The Science and Lore of the Kitchen. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 1997. ISBN: 9780684843285.


Kitchen Chemistry (SP.287 / 5.S15 / ESG.SP287)


As a student in this seminar, you are required to participate in at least 80% of the experiments and keep a journal commenting on each experiment: what worked well, what did not work well, ways that the session could be improved. The journal will have to be turned in at the last class. It will not be read until the grade sheets have been turned in, so honesty is appreciated. You are required to hand in the weekly problem sets at the beginning of the next week’s class.

The second to last class (week 11) will be an exercise in peer teaching. Working either alone or in pairs, you will be required to find at least two people to come to class and you will become the teacher. You will teach your fellow students about one of the recipes we did in class or one of your own. There will be reference books available to research your recipe.


1 How do we do a kitchen experiment?
2 Cheese
3 Tofu
4 Marinades
5 Candy
6 Your experiment: Muffins
7 Root beer
8 Make your own cake recipe
9 Ice cream
10 Fruit pizza
11 Peer teaching
12 Barbecue