Eating the Periodic Table

Most of the entries in the periodic table are inedible. Sure, you need some essentials like calcium, potassium and sodium, as well as trace metals like iron, copper, manganese, etc., but they aren’t very tasty (or digestible) as elements. And while most foods contain the critically useful carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and phosphorus, I wouldn’t recommend eating any of these atomic delicacies in their native form.

Unpalatable as the elements may be, the symbolism of the periodic table has proved just as irresistible to restaurateurs as it has to other borrowers of the genre. The most likely place to find an example? Cambridge, Massachusetts, of course, where one can enjoy the gastronomic delicacies at the Miracle of Science Bar + Grill. Billing itself as “the leader in geek-chic”, the menu display uses Mendeleevian graphics almost exclusively. If you order Tc, for example, you’ll get turkey chipotle chili. Sm yields mesculin salad, and Cs brings forth the always reliable chicken sandwich. These are all so much tastier than technetium, samarium, and cesium.

Or you could also go to Midland, Michigan—home of Dow Chemical, the largest chemical company in the US—and visit Café Zinc at the H Hotel. While not as self consciously geeky (this is heartland America, after all), the restaurant still manages to spell out some nice elements embedded in its name: calcium, iron, zinc. You could also order an H salad although, one expects, it is highly flammable. A nice touch, and excellent food as well.

If you can’t make it to Cambridge or Midland, don’t fret, you can still enjoy the food connection via whimsical periodic tables of beer, candy, cupcakes, or just desserts in general.

Tom Tritton is President and CEO of CHF.

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Posted In: Technology

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