I remember the growing up and watching my grandfather cook. He was a chef who loved French cuisine and made wonderful deserts. I got my love of food and science from him. He would sit there and tell me about what the heat would do to the sugar while I watched the sugar slowly caramelize. I listened in rapture as he explained the changes in consistency the and flavor of caramel. He also loved to make sauces and gelatin. The gelatin kind of grossed me out, but the sauces always smelled so delicious and tasted even better. I learned about blending the spices and about ratios and combination of ingredients. I remember the care he always took in measuring ingredients, how he would clean and sterilize his work area. How he seemed to cook from memory, but he always had his trusty notebook where he kept his notes on food and recipes.
These memories have wakened in me the desire to take the principles I practice in the lab, and transplant them into my kitchen. I love to experiment and think of new ways to prepare food. Not just changing the flavor, but changing how it is cooked and prepared. I am extremely lucky to have a partner who is as interested in cooking and creating good food as I am. We share recipes, ideas, menus, and generally wreak havoc in the kitchen, but we create great meals. She bakes and makes great deserts, while I love the salty and meaty foods.
I am lucky that I had a great introduction to food and the science of cooking at an early age. I learned that food was much more than sustenance. It excites and nourishes the soul just as it provides nourishment to our bodies. Now more than ever, I miss my grandfather and I wish I could prepare a meal for him like the ones he prepared many times while I was growing up.