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Old 02-27-2008, 07:01 PM   #1
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I have a bone to pick with all of the non-scientific, non-technical people out there who shudder at the word "chemical" as if it was the greatest evil in on the planet. As defined by Webster's Dictionary, chemistry is: a science that deals with the composition, structure, and properties of substances and with the transformations that they undergo2 a: the composition and chemical properties of a substance <the chemistry of iron> b: chemical processes and phenomena (as of an organism) <blood chemistry>.

Chemistry is an essential science in food nutrition, medicine, metalurgy, and a host of other useful disciplines. It is the science by which we find the nutrients found in various foods.

Chemicals are substances derived or created by chemical processes, or the combination of multiple substances to form another substance. Loosely, stainless steel is a chemically altered form of iron. Koolaid is a chemically derived soft drink. Flavor extracts are chemicals in which the flavor producing molecules are extracted from the parent compounds.

What we think of as chemicals are often times simply the scientific name for a naturally occuring substance, such as papain, the enzyme found in papaya, or bromilin, a tenderizing agent found in pineapple. And then there is
acetylsalicylic acid. It is used and has been used by millions of people to relieve pain, prevent heart attacks, reduce fever, and relieve inflamation. It is a chemical that is inexpensive, and hard to replace. Using it has become a normal part of life for many people. What is this chemical? You might know it better by its other name, aspirin.

It's true that chemicals are abused by companies and can pose serious health risks. But other chemicals, and substance derived by the use of chemicals has improved the lives of countless people. And no, I'm not a chemist. I just want everyone to understand that everything has the potential for good and bad. Used properly, chemicals help us. Misused, they hurt us.

Case in point (the point that everything can be used for good and bad), there is a movie where a lady killed her husband with a frozen leg of lamb, and then cooked the lamb and fed it at a picknic to get rid of the evidence. That leg of lamb was bad for the husband, good for the people at the picknic.

Chemicals can be good.

Seeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North

“No amount of success outside the home can compensate for failure within the home…"

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Old 02-27-2008, 07:23 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Goodweed of the North View Post
...Case in point (the point that everything can be used for good and bad), there is a movie where a lady killed her husband with a frozen leg of lamb, and then cooked the lamb and fed it at a picknic to get rid of the evidence. That leg of lamb was bad for the husband, good for the people at the picknic.
Interesting post.

I saw an Alfred Hitchcock Presents show that was a lot like that. Barbara Bel Geddes played a woman who killed her husband with a frozen leg of lamb. She cooked it while the police were at her house investigating his murder. It smelled so good that they couldn't resist when she asked them to have some. They disposed of the murder weapon and didn't even know it. LOL

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Old 02-27-2008, 09:51 PM   #3
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Goodweed of the North,
You bring up a good point with your comments. I've seen many times in cooking classes or during conversations with friends that Chemical sometimes is used or assumed as a synonimus of Synthetic or Non-natural (as something bad) when in reality there is nothing farther from the truth. As you pointed, chemistry -and statistics, I might add- are essential for cooking, once you understand the chemistry behind cooking, your cooking greatly improves and so your capacity to experiment. This may be hard to believe, but ask any experienced good baker and he/she will confirm this.

The reverse assumption occurs when the word Natural is used, specially in foods, cleaners, etc. All natural ingredients does not mean something is good, it only means there are no synthetized (man created) ingredients on the compound...as an example: lead and mercury and natural elements, but also neurotoxins and they should not be ingested or exposed significantly to living forms.

Advertisement and lack of scientific knowledge help propagate this. Same as you, I am no chemist, just an engineer; but my sister is a Biochemical doctor and I get lectured every now and them about all sort of reactions and reasons about why something works better or is healthier.
"Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are" Anthelme Brillat-Savarin
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