Science Experiments You Can Eat
Kids take the reins in the kitchen with this hands-on book of edible science experiments! With contemporary information that reflects changes in the world of processing and preserving foods, this cookbook demonstrates the scientific principles that underpin the chemical reactions we witness every day—just by cooking. And once readers have tested their theories and completed their experiments, they can feast on the results! From salad dressing to mayonnaise, celery to popcorn, and muffins to meringues, this book uses food to make science accessible to a range of tastes. Also included is essential information on eating healthfully, plus additional resources for further exploration.
I absolutely loved the idea of this book. As huge fans of Alton Brown’s famously cerebral cooking show, Good Eats, my kids have long enjoyed the marriage of recipes and ingenious explanations for the scientific concepts behind them. My hope was that Science Experiments You Can Eat would provide them with a similar merger of visual, whimsical, and interactive.
The book’s recommended age range is 8-12 year olds, but due to minimal illustrations and lots of dense text making use of more advanced vocabulary, I would recommend it as better suited for ages 10 and up. The meringue experiment (exploring the properties of egg whites) felt like an interesting and age-appropriate choice—given appropriate adult supervision. The explanations for why protein molecules behave the way they do under various conditions was clear and concise, albeit a bit dry in presentation.
I regret that, due to the sample size, I can’t comment on the efficiency of the overarching buildup in lessons and concepts. I also wish I could offer a rundown of my favorite section and experiment. (The chapter I was given was actually chapter 5 out of 11, and so I’m not certain how much more I might have appreciated the progression if I’d been able to read what led up to it.)
According to the table of contents, the chapters are labeled as follows:
Food For Thought; Solutions; Suspensions, Colloids, And Emulsions; Carbohydrates And Fats; Proteins; Kitchen Chemistry; Plants We Eat; Microwave Cooking; Microbes; Enzymes And Hormones; and Science Experiments We Do Eat. Additional tools listed include: Measuring Calories, How To Read A Nutrition Facts Label, Cooking Terms And Instructions, Equivalent Measures, and Scientific Glossary.
Science Experiments You Can Eat is inspired in concept and strong on the technical front. I would have liked to see more illustrative engagement in what small portion of it I was shown, but I do suspect the complete product would be a useful learning tool for kids in more of a Middle Grade range.