CHEM 180   Food      -  Let’s Eat                This course is not currently being offered


This course will explore the science of food, both as a necessity and as a source of pleasure, through an understanding of the underlying science of food, nutrition, cooking, and sensation.  All foods are chemicals and the body uses these chemicals in various ways. Cooking is a combination of chemical and physical processes, and the course will include some cooking exercises aimed at understanding the role of various ingredients in the final product obtained, whether muffins or mayonnaise. Food is also a source of sensory pleasure. The chemical basis of taste and smell will be considered including tasting exercises. Finally, there are safety, economic, political and social justice issues surrounding our use of food and its availability. Students will explore some of these issues through independent research and both written and oral presentations.

1 credit   Enrollment limited to 24 students.



Class Activities


Chocolate tasting – Lab activity which asks students to compare the sensation of chocolate to the data obtained from Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC). The DSC shows melting points and the amount of heat required to melt a given amount of chocolate. Conclusions are drawn about the effect of physical properties on the sensations associated with eating chocolate.


Making Muffins – Protein content of flour plays a large role in the amount of rising that occurs. In this activity, various flours are used to make muffins and the density of the muffins and their texture are evaluated.  Photos of FYSM 248 making muffins.


Triangular taste tests – Various food products are tasted in groups of 3 to determine if students can perceive differences. Typical examples are Coke vs Pepsi, and Coke vs Caffeine free Coke. Other taste activities include determining relative sweetness and sourness of solutions and identification of flavors of food flavor ingredients.


Leavening Agents – Which chemical leavening agents work fastest and produce the most bubbles? Rates of chemical reactions and amounts of products formed are explored.

 Food Dyes - Paper chromatography of food dyes in M&M's candy and other products.



General Syllabus for Course

Detailed Syllabus for Specific Assignments