Kitchen Chemistry

Course Info

Course Number/Code: ESG.SP287 (Spring 2006)
Course Title: Kitchen Chemistry
Course Level: Undergraduate
Offered By: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Department: Special Programs
Course Instructor(s): Dr. Patricia Christie
Course Introduction:
Syllabus When you click the Amazon logo to the left of any citation and purchase the book (or other media) from, MIT OpenCourseWare will receive up to 10% of this purchase and any other purchases you make during that visit. This will not increase the cost of your purchase. Links provided are to the US Amazon site, but you can also support OCW through Amazon sites in other regions. Learn more.Required Textbook

McGee, Harold. On Food and Cooking, The Science and Lore of the Kitchen. Scribner, 1997. ISBN: 9780684843285.


Welcome to the seminar entitled Kitchen Chemistry. This is a Pass/Fail, 6-unit seminar (2 hours of class and 4 hours of reading and homework per week). This seminar is designed to look at cooking from a scientific basis. Each week we will do an edible experiment and look at the science behind how it all works. We will examine chemical, biochemical, biological, microbiological, and maybe even physical principles. You are required to attend at least 80% of the classes.


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 for next year. The journal will have to be turned in at the last class in order for you to receive credit for the seminar. 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 14) 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.

CalendarCourse calendar.SES #TOPICS1Guacamole, Salsa, and Quesadillas2Cookie - Death by Chocolate3Pancakes4Bread5Scones and Tea6Meringue7Jams and Jellies8Three Bean Chili and Cornbread9Cheese10Wacky Cake11Emulsifiers12Ice Cream13Peer Teaching14Meatballs and Spaghetti