A Thickener Primer

Most of the time, when we’re talking about thickening in the kitchen, we mean the thickening of watery substances: broth, juice, milk, thin syrups, that sort of thing. Thickening is necessary if we want those substances to have much texture other than…watery. The obvious question here is: why can’t water itself have a more interesting texture? Does it have to be so, well, watery? And what makes it that way? The answer is that water flows because its molecules are so incredibly small. They’re made up of just three atoms: two hydrogens and one oxygen if I recall correctly. Dihydrogen monoxide.