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Food Science Smackdown: The Food Lab vs. The Sporkful

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Dec 17, 2015

This week's episode of The Sporkful podcast is up! Listen through the player or iTunes/Podcasts app. (And please subscribe!)

Serious Eats food science guru Kenji Lopez-Alt studied architecture at MIT and cooked in some of Boston's best kitchens, but he says his biggest inspiration is neither a chef nor a scientist.

It was Mr. Wizard -- the host of Nickelodeon's do-it-yourself science show for kids back in the '80s:

"Everything I learned conceptually about physics and chemistry and thermodynamics...I learned from Mr. Wizard by the time I was eight years old," Kenji says.

In this special bonus episode of The Sporkful, Kenji talks about his bestselling new cookbook, which aims to make the science of cooking as accessible as Mr. Wizard's science experiments.

Kenji's book covers everything from the science of salads to the best, experimentally-proven way to cook an egg:

Page 97_Foodlab

It turns out, the key to delicious eggs is color because if your brain thinks something tastes better (perhaps because of the way it looks), then it really will taste better to you.

"You taste things just as much with your brain as you do with your tongue or your nose," Kenji says.


Kenji also takes questions from listeners in a game we call Stump Kenji. If you've ever wondered what makes aphrodisiacs like chocolate and oysters work on a scientific level, Kenji has answers:

"It’s biochemical, it will trigger certain hormones, certain endorphins from your brain that actually get you in the mood."


Plus, Kenji and Dan debate three pillars of The Sporkful Food Philosophy: the inside-out pizza fold, cheeseburgers with cheese on the bottom, and the hot dog bun handle.

Can Dan's food innovations stand up to Kenji’s strict scientific scrutiny? Listen in to the full episode to find out.

This week's episode of The Sporkful podcast is up! Listen through the player or iTunes/Podcasts app. (And please subscribe!)

Connect with me on TwitterInstagram and Facebook!

Music in this episode by BWN Music:

- "Skinny Jeans" by Cullen Fitzpatrick

- "Simple Song" by Chris Bierden

- "Main Drag" by Jack Ventimiglia

Photos: FlickrCC/Wally Gobetz; FlickrCC/tarmo888; courtesy of Norton; courtesy of Kenji Lopez-Alt

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