Use the Scientific Method to Improve your cooking

Use the Scientific Method to Improve your cooking

Improve your cooking and recipes with The Scientific Method

Are you tired of eating the same thing over and over? Or are you frustrated every time you try to make something new? You can use the scientific method to systematically improve your cooking. Ultimately, through each improvement you’ll understand more about cooking. In addition, adding structure to your cooking will also help you innovate.

What is the Scientific Method? 

Food Scientists inside Food Labs everywhere use the scientific method. Food Scientists use the scientific method to test ideas and learn from their results.  The scientific method is a system of steps used to solve problems.

Food Scientists think through their experiments.  The scientific method is a process used to structure thoughts and to draw conclusions.  You can use it for the same reason.

You can use the Food Detective Scientific Method to improve your cooking

The scientific method may seem scary, but it really is not.  You do not have to be a scientist to use it!  Solving problem through the scientific method is a valuable skill both inside and outside of the kitchen and food labs.  The Food Detective Scientific Method ™ is the application of the scientific method to develop new food products, formulas, and recipes.

What are the steps in the Scientific Method?

  1. Ask Questions:  To start approaching things from a scientific perspective, ask yourself “why, what and how”. 
  2. Define the Problem: The problem definition step is very critical for the scientific method.  Define the problem in a clear statement that sets a goal and gives direction on how to solve the problem. 
  3. Conduct Research: Gather information around what you already know and conduct background research.  Some tools Food Scientists use include the internet, trade magazines, experts and books to conduct research. 
  4. Form a hypothesis:  Your research should help you narrow your lists of possible causes for the problem.  In order to use the scientific method efficiently focus on one cause.  Make a prediction, or propose an answer to your question. 
  5. Perform an Experiment:  A well-designed experiment will have a control and a variable.  All observations are important.  There are two types of observations: quantitative and qualitative.  Quantitative observations are numerical and are communicated in numbers.  Qualitative observations are descriptions and cannot be measured in numbers.  A useful tip for remembering is nothing that quantitative has “quant” as the prefix, which is the same for quantity.  
  6. Evaluate the Results:  Look through your data for patterns, common factors and changes.  Look to see if you have answers to the question that support or reject your hypothesis.  Determine a conclusion about the accuracy of the hypothesis. 
  7. Draw conclusions: Use the results to draw conclusions.  A conclusion analyzes and applies data by answering how, what, where, when or why.  Ultimately, your conclusion should answer, what do your data and observations suggest?
  8. Communicate results:  What did you learn? Share your results in a research report, scientific article or in the blogosphere.

The scientific method helps Curious Food Detectives think like scientists!  By engaging the scientific method, we learn and practice STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, data collection and interpretation and communicating results to others. 

By developing these skills, you can apply what you learn to create innovative products!  I like to call the scientific method as applied to food the Food Detective Scientific Method™

Use the Food Detective Scientific Method in your cooking

Why should you use the Food Detective Scientific Method™?

Anyone can use the scientific method to improve cooking through experimentation.  The Food Detective Scientific Method is easier than you think!

As you conduct experiments, you may start finding as many unanswered questions as answers.  Each unanswered question may be turned another scientific experiment!  The opportunity for new, innovative discoveries is limitless. 

Understanding scientific methods and research can also help you as a consumer to better understand media hype.  It is common for scientific research to have conflicting results. 


References

Steps of the Scientific Method.  https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/science-fair/steps-of-the-scientific-method.  Retrieved 26 July 2020.

Cooking Up the Scientific Method.  https://teachersinstitute.yale.edu/curriculum/units/2009/3/09.03.02/2.  Retrieved 26 July 2020.

Six Steps of the Scientific Method.  https://www.thoughtco.com/steps-of-the-scientific-method-p2-606045.  Retrieved 26 July 2020.


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