Kitchen Chemistry

  1. Andy Resnick

    Andy Resnick 5,751
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    I imagine this is a common question, but is there any useful material out there for understanding, for example, the chemistry of instant pudding? Or what all those chemicals in shampoo do?

    I have McGee's book "On Food and Cooking", which is highly interesting, but I'd appreciate a little more quantitation.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. chemisttree

    chemisttree 3,723
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    McGee's book is a great read. I don't know where to find books on the chemistry of everyday items but I'm sure there must be some out there. I've read many of the ingredient lists on products and look up the ones I don't know about. A good reference book is McCutcheon's book entitled 'Functional Materials' which is an annual reference guide to these chemicals. The table of contents (or Index of Functions as McCutcheon's refers to it) has entries starting at Absorbents/Adsorbents, Algicides/Antimicrobials/Bactericides/Disinfectants/Fungicides, Anticaking Agents,... to Suspending Agents, Thickeners, UV Absorbers/UV Light Stabilizers, Water Repellents, Waxes & Polishes. The guide is arranged by Company, Function, and Alphabetically.

    McCutcheon's also publishes an annual reference called, "Emulsifiers & Detergents".
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2008
  4. Andy Resnick

    Andy Resnick 5,751
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    I discovered (re-discovered?) the Merck Index- whoa. This is pretty much what I was looking for: now I know what sodium lauryl sulfate does, for example. And why carageenan is used in pudding. I'm working through the list on baby formula: would you like some cyanocobalamin with your calcium pantothanate, anyone?
     
  5. chemisttree

    chemisttree 3,723
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    Mmmmm, yummy! B12 and calcium-fortified goop in jars! Where's my spoon?
     
  6. Take a look at the homeopathic pain reliever 'Head On.' It has a very interesting--and very short--list of ingredients.
     
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