Tuesday, October 22, 2013

I got accepted to Harvard

Well, kind of…it’s an online class and everyone that wants to take it gets accepted.

The course is being run through edX and is titled: Science and Cooking From Haute Cuisine to Soft Matter Science. Each week there are about 90 minutes of lectures to watch, recommended reading out of Harold McGee’s On Food and Cooking, a homework assignment, and a lab to do.

I did the first homework assignment. It was real homework. Nothing too difficult, but time consuming. A lot of it was centered around a Toll House cookie recipe. Based on the questions that come up in between video lectures, I thought the homework was going to be a breeze. But instead of questions like “Do you like to drink milk while you eat chocolate chip cookies?” it was more like: Glutenin (molecular weight 75,000 amu) makes up about 60% of the protein in all-purpose flour. Assuming all purpose flour is 10% protein by weight, about how many molecules of glutenin are in this recipe? 

Certainly doable for a nerd like myself. I’ve never thought of ingredients as molecules so that aspect is interesting, but I haven’t done this kind of chemistry homework since the early 90’s. It was a little bit of a shock to the system. In case you were wondering, I came up with 130,600,000,000,000,000,000 molecules also known as a shit-ton. I hope to get to do the lab tomorrow. In the lab, you calibrate your oven using the phase change of sugar. Since the melting point of sugar is 366 deg F, when set to 350 the sugar shouldn’t melt. I’m interested to see how the new kitchen oven does.

If you are interested, you can sign up and join the course. The tuition is free and to allow people more time to join, the first assignments aren't due until mid-November.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Not a local sign

Back in August, we took a family vacation to Vermont. A more detailed post of the trip never happened because while driving to Vermont, we agreed on a purchase price for the house we are currently moving into. So basically since we got into the car on August 10, everything has been and continues to be chaotic.

I was moving some files around on the computer and I stumbled across this sign I saw at a gas station just outside Killington, VT. I've only seen the opposite of this sign locally.

To erase any doubt I was in the Capital District, the mini-mart at this gas station had a surprisingly good wine selection at reasonable prices.

And here's a picture of me trying to fly at Okemo.

I would describe the leap as "whiplash-y." A friend's daughter that also made the leap showed wisdom beyond her years when she told me, "I'm glad I did the jump to experience it, but I don't need to do it again." Couldn't agree more.