Neutralised!

Recently I read somewhere, “Alchemy and Magic became boring after they got rebranded as Chemistry and Physics.” That is very true and being a Science teacher, I can vouch for it. Children are dazzled by the reactions they see but most of them run away from writing or balancing equations. Chemistry is a very logical subject; the elements are disciplined and usually stick to the rules. Not that there are no aberrations, but they can be taken care of at least at the levels that I teach.
The reactions that we study happen in our daily life, from respiration to decomposition, all are chemical reactions. I constantly tell my pupils that Chemistry is not what happens in the lab or in the book, it happens around us all the time. It is this reason that I was able to demonstrate a few reactions during the course of my online classes without feeling the need to have sophisticated lab equipment and reagents as my kitchen is a storehouse of many chemicals. One most basic reaction is the neutralization reaction which is the reaction between an acid and a base. I tell my students all the time that there is usually a reason why certain things are done in a particular manner. Talking of neutralization reaction, I remind them that bitter gourd is bitter because of its highly basic nature and it is this reason why a lot of sour is added in cooking it, to neutralize the effect.
Now, Shubham is a new kid in the kitchen. He has been learning to cook as a part of his “leaving the nest protocol.” While he normally sticks to the recipe, he does have an affection for sour flavours. I have repeatedly told him to stick to only one or at the most two sour ingredients when it comes to cooking curries but at times he tends to go overboard with the stuff. One day, he offered to make chicken curry while I took my classes online as his had not started then. Knowing his zest for experimentation and limited experience in the kitchen, I repeatedly told him to be careful with the ingredients and to curb his zeal for the ‘sour’. But despite my repeated instructions, he added a little extra lemon to the curry which already had tomatoes and sour curd to give it an extra punch of freshness. As expected, it turned out to be more sour than refreshing.
When he called me in to taste it, I was appalled by the overpowering sourness of the lemons and told him that he had messed up the chicken and that it was a lost cause. I had to log in to take my class and told him to leave the chicken as I had no time to work on it. After the class was over, Shubham came and asked me to taste the chicken again, he cajoled and tried to convince me that he had fixed it. I tasted it with apprehension, but it had indeed become a little less sour than before. While it was not completely fixed, it was much better and bearable enough to eat. I looked at him questioningly and he responded sheepishly, “I listened to what you taught and put it to practice.”
Incidentally, I was teaching the topic of acids and bases to my class X pupils and taking a cue from that Shubham went ahead to perform his own neutralisation reaction by adding a little baking soda to the curry! The situation was neutralised literally. 😃
Science is magic and magic happens everywhere all the time, even in the kitchen!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Mark Ryan says:

    something wicked this way comes.
    🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A. Shruti says:

    Thanks. Glad you liked it.

    Like

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