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Harvard’s Science + Cooking lectures: Now playing on iTunes U

January 20, 2012 |  7:00 am

Science + Cooking
Apple just released its iTunes U app for iPad and iPhone, which makes it much easier to browse for free classes and lectures from top universities around the country.

One category is Food & Nutrition, where you’ll find 32 courses available, including Tips for Sustainable Gardening from Oregon State University, Food and Sustainable Agriculture from the Yale School of Forestry, Food Processing from UC Davis and Health and Nutrition from Cornell University.

But the real find here is Science + Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to Soft Matter from the Harvard School of Engineering and Science, 52 one-and-a-half- to two-hour videos from a lecture series that “discusses concepts from the physical sciences that underpin both everyday cooking and haute cuisine.” You have Ferran Adria of the late El Bulli presenting spherification, Jose Andres of The Bazaar (and minibar in Washington, D.C.) discussing basic components of food and gelation, and Wylie Dufresne (wd-50 in New York) on inventions with transglutaminase. 

Just listen to the titles of some of the lectures: “Mixing the Unmixable,” “Sous-vide Cooking: a State of Matter,” “Meat Glue Mania,” “Olive Oil and Viscosity.” Heady stuff, and it’s free, free, free -- even the app.

A new way to suck up large amounts of time and bandwidth for the aspiring or experienced cook. But also a new way to learn from the best in the business. An incredible resource. Note that, because the lectures are videos, once downloaded, they will show up in the video app, not the iTunes U library.

Also, the iTunes U app syncs, so you can start watching a lecture on an iPad and finish it on an iPhone. Pretty seductive.  

However, maybe millions are trying to watch the same lecture at the same time. I keep getting messages that the lecture cannot be downloaded at this time (it could just be my sluggish connection), but with a little patience it eventually restarts.

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-- S. Irene Virbila

twitter.com/sirenevirbila

Image: A screen shot of the title page of Harvard's Science + Cooking lecture series.

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