Cornstarch, A.K.A. OObleck, is good for more than cooking

Dr. Seuss invents OObleck

Cornstarch is a pretty boring food. This silky  powder has no taste, no smell and no color. But it has one  special thing going for it. It  gets  sticky when it’s wet.

Stickiness is the key to its success in making OObleck, the green slime that rains down from the sky in Dr. Seuss’s story about a king who makes a foolish wish. Use cornstarch to mix up a little OObleck yourself in just 10 minutes.

Here’s How:
Start with one cup of water and about one and a half cups of cornstarch. A few drops of green food coloring in the water makes your OObleck look like Dr. Seuss’s. Add the cornstarch in batches and mix until it’s smooth and firm. Slap the surface. It should feel solid. If it doesn’t slap you back, add a little more cornstarch. It takes about 10 minutes of mixing to get it just right. Honest to goodness  OObleck sometimes acts like  a solid and other times like a liquid. Squeeze it and it feels hard. Sink your hand into it, and it feels liquid. Now let’s see what amazing things we can do with this slime.

Do you like to listen to music? With OObleck, you can actually  watch music! Put some OObleck onto a shiny metal tray, like a pan for baking cookies. Put the whole thing on top of a stereo speaker (a woofer) and blast the music. Hold the tray down with your nails, not your fingertips, so as not to dampen the sound vibrations. Be amazed at what rises up.  Watch here to see what can happen.

There’s a lot of complex chemistry lurking in food. Cornstarch is a good example. It changes foods from liquids into jellies, thickening and stabilizing sauces and puddings. It doesn’t do much for the flavor but it certainly punches up the texture of the foods we eat. Cooking would be a lot duller without cornstarch. But if you’d rather play with it than eat it, there’s plenty we can do with this wonder food. More to come.

What's cookin' with you?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: