Introduction: How to Cook Up a New Invention

Believe it or not, there’s a lot of inventing going on in the kitchen. Most kitchens today are full of gadgets that can physically transform ordinary ingredients into something new and interesting. They can be as simple as a wire whisk or as complicated as a microwave oven.

Then there’s the chemistry involved in cooking. All food—even “natural” and organic food—contains chemicals. That’s not a bad thing. Every substance on Earth is made up of chemicals, and chemical reactions are what give cooked foods their taste, texture, and appearance. When you add chemicals to a dish to make it thicker, gooey-er, ...

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