Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Move over Ferran AdriĆ . Northern China has its own version of molecular gastronomy: hand-pulled noodles. Well not quite, but the above clip of Chef Mark Pi is fascinating not only because of the sheer craftsmanship required to, er, pull off such a feat, but because of the science lesson the narrator gives.

Physicist Philip Morrison gives us noodle making as a way of discussing the size, particularly the thickness, of atoms. He states: "We approach the division of matter...by halving and halving and halving it again." This point is clearly demonstrated by Chef Pi's demonstration of hand-pulling dragon's beard noodles. After folding the noodles a dozen times he's created 4,096 ultrathin strands. Morrison points out that if the venerable chef had managed 42 times his noodles would have reached atomic thickness.

Incidentally, this vid comes from a 1987 PBS program The Ring of Truth: Atoms. I found another great and hilarious clip featuring Julia Child. Without giving too much away, all I'm going to say is it involves her isolating pure carbon.

via slashfood

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