In Politics of Nature, Bruno Latour describes a hypothetical wine-tasting event that begins in a cellar in Burgundy and ends in a chemistry lab equipped with a gas chromatographer, a tool that is capable of detecting the chemical compounds that are responsible for the taste and aroma of wine. In Latour’s view, the chromatographer is not an unwelcome scientific intrusion that detracts from the experience. To the contrary, combining the cellar with the lab results in a “double tasting” that enables us to detect subtle new differences, making the wine more, not less, nuanced and complex.1

The contributors to The Kitchen as Laboratory would agree wholeheartedly with Latour that science can enrich our culinary experiences. Framed by a useful preface and introduction, this edited volume includes thirty-three chapters, written mostly by food scientists and chefs, all of...

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