Harvard’s Science and Cooking Lecture Series Brings All The Girls To The Yard

Laura’s Team Pick:

If you find yourself with a free Monday night this fall and just happen to be in Boston, you’re in luck; after a few insanely successful years of offering an undergraduate course called “Science and Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to the Science of Soft Matter,” the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences is bringing all the class has to offer to the public during their three month long lecture series.

Howard McGee, a New York Times writer and the author of one of my favorite books (and the textbook for the course), opened the series on September 4th with a talk on the components and history of food. Last week, two Catalan brothers discussed how heat affects cooking and kicked off their session with a practical experiment involving the efficacy of whiskey rocks. Ladies and gentlequeers, this is Seduction 101: Nerdery and The Fastest Way To a Woman’s Heart.

But wait, here’s the best part: you can watch the lectures even if you’re nowhere near Havad Yad on YouTube or on iTunes.

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Laura is a tiny girl who wishes she were a superhero. She likes talking to her grandma on the phone and making things with her hands. Strengths include an impressive knowledge of Harry Potter, the ability to apply sociology to everything under the sun, and a knack for haggling for groceries in Spanish. Weaknesses: Chick-fil-a, her triceps, girls in glasses, and the subjunctive mood. Follow the vagabond adventures of Laura and her bike on twitter [@laurrrrita].

Laura has written 308 articles for us.


  1. Looks like I’ve found a new way to spend my funemployment. I’m in the square every other day out of boredom anyway.

    • Same here re: funemployment! Moving to Boston on Sunday, and now I have something to do Monday night, wheeeee.

  2. Science, cooking and nerdy lectures about them both?! Three of my passions combined! When’s the next flight to Boston?

  3. And for those who can’t make it to Boston: I just read today that there will be a somewhat similar *free* online class.
    https://www.coursera.org/ will be offering the class ‘The Science of Gastronomy’ – among many other classes about a wide variety of topics.
    The short description from their website:

    ‘This course introduces students to elements of science lying behind cooking and cuisine preparation. The ultimate goal is to help students recognize the importance of scientific principles being applied in everyday life, so that they will appreciate and be able to apply some of these principles in their future cooking practice.’

    They offer many classes that are more computer science / economics related, but also classes on topics like ‘Women and the Civil Rights Movement’. The video lectures are usually very good, you can watch them whenever you feel like it, and you do not have to pay to watch them. I think its great! :)

  4. And what about the whiskey rocks?? The suspense until after work will kill me. Maybe that’s a but dramatic, but cold whiskey is important!

  5. Spelman offered a similar course called food chemistry but it was for non majors and as a chem major they wouldn’t even let me audit it. It was quite upsetting!

  6. I want to be Harold McGee when I grow up–On Food and Cooking is THE BEST! It lives in my kitchen.
    I wish I was in Boston, but I will totally be watching these on YouTube!

  7. Watching these as soon as I get off work. Also, has anyone read Harold McGee’s food science book? I think my ex has mine, but it’s awesome.

  8. Ooh they started again for 2012? That’s great! I’m 3/4 through the 2010-2011 videos.

    I bought a whipped cream canister because of the emulsion lectures. ^_^

    Oh and Gordon Ramsay has a new show called Ultimate Cookery Course.

    And UK chef Lorraine Pascale (who used to be a model!) has a new show out! She has neat dishes.

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