Course Spotlight: Science of Food and Cooking

The MLA in Gastronomy Program’s course, the Science of Food and Cooking will be back by popular demand for the fall 2017 semester.

Baking science Cookie variations VRyanphoto IMG_4665
Students alter a cookie recipe’s ingredients resulting in differences in color and texture during a baking science experiment

Through a combination of academic lectures and hands-on cooking experiments in BU’s professional kitchen, students will take a comprehensive look at the molecular changes that occur as food is prepared and cooked. We will examine the science behind the transformation of milk into cheese and ice cream, what makes baked goods tender and dense versus light and airy, how the color of naturally occurring pigments in fruits and vegetables changes depending on conditions, and much more. Flavor science, sensory analysis, molecular gastronomy, and nutritional impact are encompassed in this exploration of the science of food. Students will also consider food science in broader social and cultural contexts. 

Join us for an engaging exploration of the science of food!

Instructor Valerie Ryan is a food scientist and food studies scholar. She has worked for both government and industry in the areas of food science and nutrition research, sensory analysis, and product innovation. Ryan has focused her food studies research on the impact of taste preference on human evolution. As a food  correspondent for the Boston Globe, she authored the column, “A Side of Science,” and numerous other articles and recipes.

Candy science and Crystallization Frank Carrieri VRyanphoto IMG_4613
Student Frank Carrieri makes candy for an experiment on crystallization

The Science of food and Cooking, MET ML 619, is designed for graduate students in food studies and other non-natural science majors and does not require prerequisites. Classes will meet on Monday evenings, from 6 to 8:45 pm, beginning September 11.  Registration information can be found at

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