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.
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.