Food & Gastronomy

Meet Count Rumford I: Rumford’s original bread oven

Count Rumford, aka the American adventurer Benjamin Thompson, is famous in scientific circles for elucidating the nature of heat, and in food circles for his invention of the Rumford stove. But seldom do the twain meet, as I discovered when I entered into...

A machine that learns to cook by watching you

The personal touch seems to be imperative in cooking. From childhood we learn by watching and imitating, trying for ourselves. But with advances in robotics, could a machine learn to cook by watching you? The answer, in my opinion, is "probably yes". The real question...

How To Dunk a Biscuit

Live appearance (and demonstration) on BBC TV "One Show" by Skype from my kitchen in Australia, and went without a hitch!

Shaken, not Stirred: The Story of Mixers and Mixing

Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery, St Catherine's College, Oxford, July 5-7 (2013) A talk in which I dressed up as James Bond to deliver a stirring message, with co-author Janet Clarkson playing the part of "M", and third author Alan Parker staying safely away in...

All Wrapped Up – A History of Mummy Eating

Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery, St. Catherine's College Oxford, July 6-8 (2012) (with Janet Clarkson) Now published in the proceedings of the symposium, and also available as a video showing me delivering part of the talk dressed as a mummy. From the abstract:...

Letter: How Should You Cook Boxer Shorts?

Guardian Physicist and U.K. Guardian correspondent Jim Al-Khalili has offered to eat his boxer shorts if it turns out that neutrinos can actually travel faster than light, as recent experiments suggest. In this letter to the Guardian (publisher on November 26th) I...

The Great Aussie Barbecue

Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery, Oxford U.K., 8–10 July, 2011 The Aussie barbecue is a unique celebratory institution. From humble beginnings, with meat cooked on a ploughshare over an outback campfire, or on a shovel in the firebox of a steam locomotive, the...

The Kitchen Thinker: Anosmia

Daily Telegraph (UK) A great summary by food journalist Bee Wilson of a talk that I gave at the 2009 Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery. I described how the sense of smell is unique to each of us, and how this affects our enjoyment of a meal. Here is one example, as...

Is There Any Point to ‘Frivolous’ Academic Research?

BBC News Magazine Denise Waterman, writing for BBC News Magazine, puts the arguments for and against, with my work on the perfect cheese sandwich as a prime example. My own argument is simple: if I can open a door to the world of science by showing how scientists...

A Dunkable Delight, the Sweet Potato Biscuit

Daily Mail (London) (and many other newspapers) Felice Tocchini has created a biscuit which he claims can survive up to a minute in a hot drink before disintegrating into a sodden mess. This smashes the current record of 25.5 seconds for a chocolate digestive…The...

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