I’m breaking my convention of lower case in the subject line in honor of DATEM. No, it’s not the singular form of “data.” DATEM is in my soup. It’s listed on the ingredients of my clam chowder. I scurried to Wikipedia to find out what I’m eating and the first thing I read was “This article is about the emulsifier. For the band, see Deadboy and the Elephantmen”.

Holy Elephantmen, my soup needed emulsification! What does an emulsifier do? It stabilizes an emulsion. So what exactly is an emulsion? You chemists out there already know. It’s a mixture of two liquids that are normally immiscible. Is it clear to you now? Vinaigrette is an emulsion. Oil and water are normally immiscible. But if you add a magic ingredient, an emulsifier, the extraordinary becomes possible.

How do they do it? Maybe with a surfactant, which lowers the surface tension between two liquids. DATEM is used in baking to build a strong gluten network. It’s the LinkedIn of chemicals. In soup … I don’t what it’s doing in soup. Probably building a gluten network to make the chowder gloopy. DATEM stands for Diacetyl Tartaric (Acid) Ester of Monoglyceride.

Now ask me about flocculation.
By the way, Deadboy and the Elephantmen.


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