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Marty Jopson
Jopson may be known to you as the “Mad Scientist” who appears on the One Show from time to time. He is a PhD in Cell Biology but has a stage show in which he demonstrates various scientific facts and which usually ends in lots of flames and a very loud BANG! The book he brings us is The Science of Food in which he goes to great, and humorous, lengths to explain how science makes some of the food we eat today possible.

The book is written very much with the layman in mind and is very easily read – something I was very pleased about being the ultimate layman. Jopson explains things like the difference between long grained molecules and short grained molecules which apparently is very important in processed foods. I even understood what he was writing about!

He also includes a bit about the science of “does the 5 second rule work?” i.e. if you drop food on the floor can you pick it up and eat safely within 5, or 3 or whatever length your belief stretches to. Basically the answer is “No” you can’t as bacteria will be picked up. The point is though how much and under what circumstances; if the floor is dry then the food will pick up fewer bacteria than if the floor is wet. Strangely the best place to drop food is on carpets, as the pile of the carpet means that there are fewer points of contact. There you go – fascinated now are we? Indeed a sixteen year old intern won the Ig Noble Prize in 2004 for her research in to this very subject!

This would not be a complete book about food science if it did not include that vegetable that is the scourge of any Christmas Dinner table – the Brussels Sprout! He concludes that it is better to steam quickly for a short time rather than boil for eternity until the sprout is mushy. I could let the author know that I, and I am sure many readers, reached that conclusion at the age of about 8-10!

This is a fun book with a very serious background to it. It discusses questions like the future of lab-grown meat in our food chain, what does ‘best before’ really mean, how bacteria are really helpful to us, as well as being deadly.

I enjoyed the book and the approach that the author took. This would be an excellent book for the budding chef in your household to find in their Christmas stocking this year. A good read, with complicated information well presented for an easy time.

Amazon product

3.5 Mr Mushroomheads.
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