mercredi 2 février 2022

No, cooking is not science !

 I had to answer to a confuse message that I got by email : 

No, cooking is not science !
Or more precisely, one can speak of the "science of the cook", but this means only a knowledge, and this knowledge can include advanced techniques. But in the meaning of sciences of nature, it would be a nonsense to say that cooking is science, as explained well in the introduction of the Handbook of Molecular Gastronomy.

Cooking means "producing food", and this is technique + art

Sciences of nature mean "exploring the mechanisms of phenomena using the scientific method", ie.
- identification of phenomena
- quantitative characterization of phenomena (measurement)
- grouping the data in equations (said "laws" in the past)
-making theories, by the introduction of new concepts quantitatively compatible with the equations
- looking for theoretical consequences of the theory
- experimental tests of the theoretical predictions
- and so on forever, improving and improving the knowledge.
You see : no common activity... but if you study the mechanisms of phenomena occurring during cooking, then this science is called molecular and physical gastronomy, or molecular gastronomy for short.

I add that there is a difference between technique, technology and science.

And of course, I don't make a hierarchy between cooks, technologists and scientists : a good scientist is better than a poor cook, and a good cook is better than a poor scientist.

One question to finish: why do some people want to say what they are not? In big letters, in my office, it is written "you are what you make".
if you cook you are a cook, and this is a wonderful (if do it well, if you like it)
If you do technology, you are a technologist, and this is wonderful (if you do it well, if you like it)
If you do scientific research, you are a scientist, and this is wonderful (if you do it well, if you like it)
If you teach, you are a teacher, and this is wonderful (if you do it well, if you like it)

But let's always be clear with our activities: they are better done when the goal is clear and when the method is well suited to reacing the goal, isn't it ?

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