hope that the year has started well for you and look forward to seeing
you at our 2013 meetings! As you noticed, we did not meet in January,
but will have two presentations in February: on the 4th and 25th.
Our first February ECC meeting will take place on Monday, February 4, from 4 to 6 p.m.
in the Chemistry Department at NYU, room 1003 (31 Washington Place,
between Washington Square Park and Greene Street). You will need a
photo ID to enter the building.
Dr. Ole Mourtisen, of MEMPHYS--Center for Biomembrane Physics at the University of Southern Denmark, will present Deliciousness and the Science Behind It.
Use of the term umami to describe the sensation of deliciousness in
food is finding its way into the Western culinary vocabulary. Umami is
now ranked as a fifth basic taste along with the four classical tastes:
salty, sour, sweet, and bitter. Dr. Mouritsen will review the concept
of umami and deliciousness in a historical, evolutionary, and
scientific context and describe recent advances in the understanding of
the sensory perception of umami and the involved taste receptors. The
unique molecular mechanism behind umami sensation is now partly
understood as an allosteric (synergetic) action of glutamate and certain
5'-ribonucleotides on the umami receptors, and it explains why certain
pairs of foodstuff taste delicious, e.g., eggs with bacon, meat with
vegetables, and konbu with katsuobushi. Home and professional cooks and
chefs across the world are more or less unknowingly exploiting this
synergy in preparing delicious meals. As a specific example, Dr.
Mouritsen will describe experimental work with chefs on producing dashi
and umami flavor from Nordic seaweeds (you can read a recent paper
about that work in Flavour).
Please RSVP at ecc022013a.eventbrite.com. A link is also posted on our website. If you RSVP and can no longer make it, please let me know right away so that your seat can be released---thank you!
All my best,
---- Anne E. McBride Director, Experimental Cuisine Collective
ABOUT THE EXPERIMENTAL CUISINE COLLECTIVE The
Experimental Cuisine Collective is a working group that assembles
scholars, scientists, chefs, writers, journalists, performance artists,
and food enthusiasts. We launched in April 2007, as a result of the
collaboration of Kent Kirshenbaum of the chemistry department and Amy
Bentley of the nutrition, food studies, and public health department at
New York University with Chef Will Goldfarb of WillPowder. Our overall
aim is to develop a broad-based and rigorous academic approach that
employs techniques and approaches from both the humanities and sciences
to examine the properties, boundaries, and conventions of food.