Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

The Geometry Of Molecular Gastronomy

"Chefs, among them Hes ton Blumenthal of Bray, England, New York City’s Wylie Dufresne, and Chicago’s Grant Achatz, have taken to foaming all manner of savory foods. These dishes have an aura of mystique about them and not just for their novel texture. Although foams may look like random jumbles, the bubbles within all foams seem to self-organize to obey three universal rules first observed by Belgian physicist Joseph Plateau in 1873. These rules are simple to describe but have been remarkably hard to explain. The first rule is that whenever bubbles join, three film surfaces intersect at every edge. Not two; never four—always three. Second, each pair of intersecting films, once they have stabilized, forms an angle of exactly 120 degrees. Finally, wherever edges meet at a point, the edges always number exactly four, and the angle is always the inverse cosine of –1/3 (about 109.5 degrees)."
Foam is scientifically interesting. But I still wish chefs would stop trying to pass it off as sauce. Because it doesn't taste as good.


6 Comments / Post A Comment

HiredGoons (#603)

rabies chic.

skywalker (#240,350)

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[cubic closest packed joke]

And this is why we call the result of three intersecting surfaces a "plateau?"

KarenUhOh (#19)

A confident chef once put foam on my Whopper, even though I changed my order three times at the drive-up window.

En Vague (#82)

Joseph Plateau! One of my favorite historical figures. The scientist who in studying the after-effects of retinal imaging would stare at the sun only to eventually go blind.

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