People think of kitchens as warm, comforting places where loving arms lead to full bellies, and contentment and togetherness are the order of the day.

Not in my house.

Most houses aren’t built or outfitted with a full-on, working chemistry lab (for reasons that are simply baffling to me). So that leaves me with no place to play except the kitchen. And since kitchens are made for food, the appropriate chemistry is, of course, edible and experimental at the same time.

I like combining salty and sweet tastes, like beef and pineapples (or nectarines). Give me rice and I’ll doctor it up until it’s got more flavors in it than a salsa. And soups–soups are primordial flavor incubators.

Most families consider dinner one of those areas where stability can be found in a home. The family dinner, guaranteed to fill bellies and bring siblings, parents, kids together.

Not in my house.

Dinner is a time of excitement, a roulette wheel punctuated with, “I saw this work on the internets once,” and, “Hey, try this. It doesn’t taste as bad as it smells.”

I use my kitchen as a science lab. Some (my kids) would call it “unholy alchemy” (and sometimes they’d be right). But combining and blending proteins, carbohydrates, flavors, and textures is a vehicle for creation. And yes, sometimes it’s unholy. But sometimes, it’s unholily delicious. The one thing I can’t stand is our propensity for glomming onto overly-sweet, or fatty, salty fried, or the way that processed and chemically altered foods also chemically alter the tastes of our palates. I like my greasy, salty food as much as the next cholesterol-challenged American, but dammit, I’m not going out like that, and neither is my family.

We are adventurous in our vacations, our hobbies, our ideas in education–why shouldn’t we make eating an adventure, too?

Dangerous Links for Adventurous Eaters’s Kitchen Chemistry – a collected list of kitchen chemistry, including the infamous “Mentos & Diet Coke” experiment

The Naked Scientists’ Kitchen Experiments – Once you’ve cratered the kitchen, be sure to check out their Garage Experiments…

The Mentos & Diet Coke Experiment, a la Mythbusters

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