"Cooking is chemistry … it's essentially chemical reactions."
~ Shirley Corriher
Back from the crazy culinary weekend we had, I feel a little like I did after coming home from summer camp as a kid. We had a lot of fun, had super highs and hardly any lulls in excitement, experienced a roller coaster of new things … and honestly it all was a bit emotional! We all get home a bit torn, wanting to do so many different things: part to decompress and relax, part to share all our exciting stories with others, part to just quietly process by ourselves, and part to relive our experiences by going back in some way.
Tonight, I wanted to celebrate chemistry and cooking in something I'd always wanted to do as a kid but never got a chance to. When we went to the Exploratorium's After Dark event, "Gastronomy," I saw a science and chemistry kit for experiments using ordinary kitchen items. One of the coolest experiments in the kit (in my opinion) was a baking soda and vinegar volcano. I've seen kids make volcanoes for science fairs in tons of movies and I'd always wanted to make one, but never had the excuse to (we never had a science fair like that when I was in school). Yeah, it wasn't a huge volcano, but it would do the trick.
The kit included instructions, and descriptions about the chemistry that was created during each of the experiments. In this case, it also talked about what happens when a real volcano erupts. I thought this was a cool feature in this little kit.
This is all you need to make a baking soda and vinegar volcano!
I added the baking soda, a few drops of dishwashing liquid, and a few drops of red food coloring. The dishwashing liquid and food coloring help to slow the chemical reaction, and give the "lava" its cool color!
Slowly pour the vinegar in, and … eruption!
This was neat! Like I said in my post about brining my own corned beef, I used to love Mr. Wizard when I was a kid. I think being able to do science experiments in your own house with stuff that's already there is super awesome. If you have kids (or are a kid at heart yourself), I highly recommend getting a few home science kits or looking up cool little experiments you can do with everyday items. It's so fascinating to see how science works all around us, and really neat to see how it's always at work, even in something as familiar as the kitchen.
Kidz Labs Kitchen Science Kit