Reader Dan writes:
Hi Joe. You said in a post I recent read that George Washington Carver is “one of” your favorite food scientists. Who are some of your other favorites if I may ask? Can you give me your top ten?
I’m not sure if Dan is on the level here or if he’s having me on. But heck I’ll bite. For indeed I have many food science heroes. Nicholas Appert springs to mind, the inventor of canning. He really is the grandfather of modern food science. I’m also an admirer of Alfred Bird, inventor of stable baking powder and instant pudding (custard). There’s Otto Rohwedder, the sliced bread guy, and chocolate chemist Coenraad Van Houten. The truth of the matter is that “food science” encompasses so many different disciplines, from biochemistry to agriculture, engineering, and sensory analysis…it’s hard to limit oneself. But Carver was a botanist/agronomist…so in that vein I’ll say I’m a big fan of Thomas Jefferson, an agronomist who I’m told also had a hand in writing the Declaration of something-or-other. Also Luther Burbank, and of course my all-time agronomy hero, Norman Borlaug. Don’t know if you were serious or not, Dan, but thanks for a thought-provoking question!