Artificial and Natural Flavorings

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Taught by Jonathan Soma

Soma was born in the South, is what someone from the North would say. He co-founded the Brainery, is the sciencey half of Masters of Social Gastronomy, and plans on getting married to Waffle House. In his more droll moments he is a tragic sellout to higher ed as a professor of data journalism at Columbia University's journalism school.

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What makes real vanilla extract so expensive while imitation vanilla costs a couple dollars? Is it worth it?

In this class, we'll pit the two against each other in taste tests to see which you prefer, and examine what (if anything) "natural" and "artificial" actually means.

Beyond vanilla, we'll peek into the world of flavor chemists, who spin batches of chemicals into the scent of pineapple or the taste of fresh strawberries. 

Find out what notebook paper has in common with vanilla ice cream, and uncover the secrets of Juicy Fruit gum. We’ll bring it all back home by examining the NYC’s very own maple-syrup-scent mystery, and see what you can do to make "pancake syrup" in your kitchen.

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