By Diane Fresquez
Food meets technological know-how, through Proust.
Diane Fresquez lives in Belgium, and for a few years was once a distinct correspondent for the Wall road Journal.
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Additional resources for A Taste of Molecules: In Search of the Secrets of Flavor
It was a breezy, damp morning, and I was met at the little station in town by two fair-haired Danish beauties: Helene Hausner, a thirty-oneyear-old doctoral student at the University of Copenhagen in the Department of Food Science, who greeted me with a dazzling smile, and Selma, her four-month-old daughter who was bundled up in a pram. I had come to learn about Helene’s research into the complicated subject of how what a mother eats influences the flavor of her breast milk. — 61 — From the station it was a short walk to the center of town where we stopped outside a café facing a picturesque lake, in the center of which stood the Frederiksborg Castle, spread across three small islands.
The higher the temperature and the longer the grain stays in the kiln, the more flavor and the more color it gets,” Debbie said. Chocolate malt has a lot in common with black pepper: unpalatable on its own, but when added to food (or beer, in this case) it can be an indispensable flavor and color enhancer. We moved from the kitchen to a room next door, which had a row of little cubicles and some computers. Here Debbie gave me a selection of little “sniff pots” on which to test myself while she provided a running commentary on brewing, aided by a power point presentation.
Charles Roundell and Harry Roberts, The Still-Room, 1903 T alking to Xavier and Sonia about mead making was basically straightforward, as they were following in prehistoric man’s footsteps by allowing water, yeast, and honey to ferment. But fine-tuning the flavor in order to recreate Xavier’s childhood memories seemed as delicate, skilled, and near-impossible a process as the work of a Japanese scientist I once read about who had made violin strings out of spider silk. Beer making, on the other hand, was robust and familiar, and had long been associated with the home.