Experimenting! (a scientist plays with food!)

I usually cook with recipes. I am a fairly strict follower of protocol. I like reading the methods sections of papers . That was a lie, sorry. But I also like just throwing ingredients around like I’m the rat of Ratatouille, Remy. This was the first time I really tried a whole meal without a recipe.

And it worked, mostly. I made a vegetable cheese quiche with a bulgur wheat crust, and I think it worked out pretty well. The crust needs a little more crustifying, but it wasn’t bad at all. Maybe my next step is to experiment with this until I get the method down correctly.

Also, I wish I knew more about food chemistry. It would explain a lot of things about flavors tasting well together. Kind of like my undergrad thesis (which involved C. elegans chemotaxis to or away from odors that are produced by bacteria [see page 24! I did my senior thesis in Glater lab!]) The funny thing about doing a thesis on food preference in nematodes is that it relates a lot to everyday life – at least in the way I think about smells and tastes. It’s all about how we sense the signals and react. But it’s also about the chemical interactions between the signals, which are really just molecules that for some reason smell.

Biology is so exciting to me. Today was my grad school orientation and I got signed up for classes. Genetics and prokaryotes! What more can a girl want? I also started learning more about my project for the first research rotation – dealing with extracellular function sigma factors in bacteria! Extracellular function sigma factors are a type of alternative sigma factor that helps the bacteria respond to stress. Sigma factors are proteins that allow RNA polymerase to bind to DNA to begin transcription (and so they are pretty important in the cell). These alternative sigma factors allow for different sets of genes to be expressed depending on what signals there are to tell the cell what sigma factor is used. And in the end, this goes back to how the cell reacts to the environment, which is what gives me happy giggles of joy.

Anyway… that was a random biological tangent.

Here’s a picture of food!

This is what it looked like before I cut into it. Which is an interesting exercise when you don’t have a dedicate pie cutter or server.

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