Harvard SEAS lecture 11/7/11, Dan Barber

Subject – Reclaiming Flavor.

Much to my surprise, Harold McGee was around to introduce Dan Barber to the audience.

  • Flavor molecules are actually a defense mechanism. Believe it or not, the flavor molecules are toxic to small insects and mold. It doesn’t seem toxic to humans, because we essentially dilute herbs by cooking. Physical/environmental stress to plants will cause the plants to boost flavor and antioxidants as a coping mechanism.
  • You can take advantage of this.  For example, a component of mold cell walls is chitin.  Chitin also exists in the exoskeletons of insects and crustaceans.  You can pulverize lobster shells and introduce it to plants, purposely tricking them into stress mode and make the plants increase flavor and antioxidants.

That pretty much ended Harold’s bit, and Dan’s presentation started. Continue reading

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