FoodLab: the tastiest Olin class

This semester I've been taking a co-curricular (read: faculty-led just-for-fun class) in food science, taught by one of our materials science professors, Debbie. This is one of the most in-demand co-curricular, filling up less than ten seconds after co-curricular registration began. Over the semester we covered topics ranging from crystal growth to collagen, and chocolate to eggs. Each time we would meet in the kitchen, discussing the latest readings and making recipes that were appropriate for the week. For our final class, we decided to have a food science potluck, where everyone would make one item and explain the science behind it.

The first dish we had was ceviche, made by Nik and Nina. Ceviche involves cooking fish with acid (from lime juice) instead of with heat, the way we usually think of cooking. We had sweet potatoes and a traditional Peruvian purple-corn drink with it. Here's Nina with the ceviche as it was in the finishing portion of cooking:


Our full dinner consisted of:

  • Ceviche with sweet potatoes
  • Kung Pao Chicken (made by our own Jessie)
  • Banana muffins (half with gluten and half without)
  • Baked Alaska
  • Homemade cheese
  • French-style Meat- a traditional Russian meal with meat, potatoes, and cheese


Here is Jessie working on her Kung Pao Chicken in one of Olin's dorm kitchens.

kate_cooking.jpgKate changed her dish last minute, so it didn't have a ton to do with food science, but it was one of the most delicious. This is why I love old family recipes.

My contribution was homemade salted and herbed butter. It came out quite good- we used both the shaking method, passing it around as the other things cooked, and the electric-mixer method. In the end, FoodLab was an excellent (and tasty!) end to my final day of classes. It was also fun to touch on a number of food science topics that we hadn't really covered during the rest of the semester. This has been a great experience for me, and I'm now considering doing my required Olin Self-Study in a food science area.

This is planning for later, though. I'm now in the wonderful pre-finals phase, as I also scramble to get everything set up for this summer and next semester. I have been accepted to an art program in Florence next year, so I'm looking forward to taking a semester abroad to paint pictures, draw portraits, make hats, and see the sights. All I need to worry about now is getting a visa and learning some more Italian.

Until later,


Posted in: