The Chemistry and Culture of Food

Are natural vitamins better? Why are some foods taboo in some cultures? What is the skinny on fat? Why does cooking take longer at high altitude? How did food impact human evolution – and vice versa? This course will explore the biology, chemistry, and culture of food. We will survey the origins of food lore and discuss the modern view of diet and nutrition. In addition to the reading, we will test out some of the myths and controversies related to food preparation – both in class and in your own kitchen laboratory. MSC

Note: The same course is offered at two different class periods this semester.

Required Books: Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, Near a Thousand Tables: a History of Food, ISBN 978- 0743227407; Robert Wolke, What Einstein Told His Cook, ISBN 978-0393329421.

Barbara Snapp received her Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from Cornell University where her research focused on the ecological adaptiveness of behavior. Her passion is teaching science, and especially teaching broad survey courses where she can interweave basic themes to build a multidimensional understanding.

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