Five College Consortium

Molecular Gastronomy

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Amherst College

Living organisms require resources to fuel the processes necessary for staying alive. We require a certain number of calories to fuel metabolic processes and to provide building blocks to replace old cells and build new ones.  Our food should provide a balance of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals that we need to consume regularly for a healthy existence. Yet humans have developed another relationship with food that can be either enriching or pathological.  Sharing meals with others, developing the skills to enjoy the sensory pleasures of food, learning about other cultures through their gastronomic habits, and eating moderately while consciously are all examples of a deeper productive relationship with food.  On the darker side, food can be a palliative to relieve our stress or satiate our addictions to sugar, fats, or salt.  Modern humans can be so far removed from our food sources that we lose the connection between animal and meat and do not know if the food on our plates contains added hormones, pesticides, or genetically modified products. This course will examine our core requirements for food as we eat to live, and some of the cultural, social, historical, and culinary dimensions as we live to eat.  Readings will include Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and selections from Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking by Nathan Myhrvold, Chris Young and Maxime Billet.

The two sections will meet together for 80-minute lecture/demos twice a week, and each section will meet separately for a culinary lab once a week for 80 minutes.  

Limited to 30 students. Spring semester.  Professor O'Hara.

Instructor Permission: 
Permission is required for interchange registration during all registration periods.
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Course Sections

Molecular Gastronomy
Sect # Credits Instructor(s) Instructor Email Meeting Times Location
01 4.0 Patricia O'Hara WF 12:30PM-01:50PM MERR 4