Mac-n-Cheese and ScienceSaturday, April 21, 2012 | 11:53 pm
So today I spent the day taking two more NYSTCE tests, first the chemistry test and then the students with disabilities test. Anyhow, because of the tests and the work I still need to complete and prepare to teach for the rest of the school year I missed out on a return trip to my undergrad college campus this weekend to celebrate with the TKE boys on shirt night. While I may not be there in person, tonight I was there in spirit as I made myself easy mac for dinner. As an undergrad I was certainly into easy mac because it was cheap and easy to make and I could make a delicious bowl
So my facebook post along with the fact that I’ve been focusing on chemistry gearing up for today’s exam have inspired this blog.
If you ever opened an easy mac container you’ll notice white flakes. On the container it warns you that you will see loose what powder in the pasta and that this is necessary for proper cooking. I wonder what this white flaky substance is. I figured that the flakes are in with the noodles to allow them to cook in 3 1/2 minutes and aid in heat distribution but I did some research online and others seem to think that its used to thicken the cheese sauce and to make it so the water did not boil over. Before this self contained bowl, in college, the macaroni just came in a package that you had to pour into your own bowl and I never noticed the white flakes before. Maybe it has something to do wit the size of the bowl. It seems that I can’t find the answer for sure but some people think that it is a modified starch called Maltodextrin, which is listed in the ingredients, and used to thicken the powder cheese sauce. I guess it would be interesting to do some experiments to figure out (1) what the heck the white flakes for sure are and (2) why the white flakes are in the bowl. Maybe I’ll have some free time tomorrow and see what happens if I cook it without the powder. Just thought it was an interesting concept of science in our everyday lives that I dont generally think about. If anyone has any insights about the powder let me know.
(posted in Reflection)