Hi, my name is Léon and I am one of the students working on the physics of cooking project this year. We have had some problems with ICT and I have been meaning to post for a while since we have made a lot of progress. I think the best introduction to our work would probably be a quick summary of my literature review to give you an idea of the field in general.
I was quite surprised about the amount of literature on frying potatoes and about food in general. Scientists from all kinds of backgrounds have successfully applied objective methods and carefully thought through theories to cooking. They have thereby made the science of cooking a well-established discipline in its own right. The first physicist to join this community was probably the Oxford physics professor Nicholas Kurti in the 1960s, however it wasn’t until the 1990s that a wider group of physicists started to get involved in this field.
My literature research has shown that there are several methods of determining the crunchiness of food. Most of them involve an analysis of how the chips react to force, however, they all vary slightly in both setup and preparation. This gives us a lot of space to play around with different methods and try to come up with the one that works best. Further, some textural properties such as crispness are not as well understood so we can look into these areas and try to find methods to describe these properties.
The research also came up with several papers exploring the computational simulation of frying potatoes. This area shows how useful physics theories can be in the world of food. One method used in almost all simulations is the so called Landau transformation, which is a change in coordinate systems commonly used to solve partial differential equations with moving boundaries in the world of physics. The papers show that the simulation of chips is doable with a high degree of accuracy, making it an interesting aspect of our project as it enables one to simulate frying under different conditions and trying to achieve consistency in the outcome.
Overall, I am very excited about starting this project and join and still don’t know exactly where this research will lead us. Sophia and I will try and document our progress and keep you posted about any progress we make. We hope that you are as excited as we are about this project in general and the new state of the art lab/kitchen that will hopefully be ready soon.