Think about your favorite family traditions and holidays. What makes them special? Aside from the people and the seasonal fun activities, food is probably a big part of them. It’s a big part of Camp Quest traditions too: we love s’mores around the campfire!
When baking or cooking, we usually follow a recipe that a family member gave us or that we found on a cooking blog. These recipes are often based on techniques and ingredient combinations discovered by cultures over thousands of years. People discovered how to make cheese at least 7,500 years ago (older than writing!), but they probably didn’t do so using the scientific method and certainly didn’t understand the chemistry and microbiology of cheesemaking.
Today, food scientists use chemistry, biology, engineering, botany, and more to make food safe, nutritious, delicious, affordable, and abundant. Food scientists know exactly what each ingredient contributes to the texture, nutrition, flavor, and shelf life of a product, as well as how to scale production up from a small lab to a huge factory that makes thousands of identical cookies per minute.
The nutrition we get from food comes from macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats, proteins, fiber, water) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). Probiotics are bacteria and yeasts found in some foods, like yogurt, that live in your intestines and help you digest food (read on to learn how to get to know your own microbiota!). Food can also contain additives like colorings, caffeine, and preservatives. Recipes involve acids, bases, liquids, rising agents, etc...it’s amazing ancient peoples let alone modern food scientists can understand everything that’s happening in your seemingly simple loaf of bread! » Read more