RESOURCES: Food as You've Never Seen It

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Science  14 Dec 2001:
Vol. 294, Issue 5550, pp. 2255
DOI: 10.1126/science.294.5550.2255b

Chefs don't keep a microscope in the kitchen, but maybe they should. The microscopic characteristics of food contribute to attributes such as elasticity, firmness, and grittiness—and therefore to aesthetic appeal. Explore the fine structure of milk, yogurt, cheese, and other foods at this site created by Milos Kaláb of the Southern Crop Protection and Food Research Centre in Guelph, Canada.

Kaláb has spent several decades probing various foods with electron microscopes, and here you'll find answers to questions such as why milk is opaque (it contains light-scattering particles of fat and protein) and how different manufacturing processes produce different kinds of cheese. Striking images appear in a gallery and scattered throughout the accounts. Highly magnified chocolate resembles wood shavings, for instance, whereas the starch from a grain of rice looks a bit like a pile of boulders. Guest experts have contributed more than a dozen backgrounders on topics such as how whipping keeps ice cream smooth. (It disperses air bubbles and ice crystals, thus making the mixture lighter and less lumpy.)

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