Edible Elements

Science Gallery, Bangalore

I studied culinary arts and in my first year, we were introduced to the class called Science of Cooking. I was quite worried when I saw it on the calendar. In school math and science were a really big struggle and I thought going to culinary school would get rid of all that.

But the class was nothing like I had imagined. I actually started learning about science through food. Learning how Baking soda reacts with acids in the cake batter to make carbon dioxide, to achieve perfect aeration. And even the formulas behind fermenting bread.  I was cooking better-tasting food.

 I also ended up experimenting with Idli’s to understand scientifically what makes the best one!

We often tend to silo off the sciences and the arts. But food is complex–it’s a science and an art. It gives us nutrition for health and delicious tastes for pleasure.

A plate of food could tell stories of a movement or a cause, like we’re going to look at iodine here and it’s relation to Gandhi’s salt march. Or celebration or of history about places and people Through food, we can be classified religiously, economically and socially. 

But what are some of the building blocks of this complexity? Every substance we eat and drink is made of a combination of elements from the periodic table. They react differently with each other and with every process we apply to create something edible and tasty from a food source.

So today we are going to take the elements of science and to use cooking and taste to create an experiences for ourselves to understand the Edible Elements that we come across in our daily lives and see them, not just through science or nutrition but through the stories and how this element interacts with the food on the period table and beyond.

Don’t be afraid to ask or share stories we are really keen to listen.

As a cook, it’s been interesting to look at these elements in a new light and explore their composition deeper and has left me with more questions than before, to what effect does cooking change the elemental composition of the ingredient. Does a combination of elements have particular tastes? How do aspects of agriculture, biodiversity, climate change, air influence the elemental composition of different food-sources?

We welcome you to join us at the table/tables and see, touch, taste, smell and share.

And remember the tasting and thinking is not meant to stop there. Similar to how food is continuously evolving the periodic table is as well (and being turned upside down).

We want our visitors to leave with the thought of— As cooks and eaters can keeping in touch with our elements change the way we see our food socially, nutritionally, economically and politically?