Guest Hollow’s Chemistry in the Kitchen Curriculum Book and Resource List

Literature-based chemistry that’s engaging and fun!

Welcome to the Guest Hollow’s Chemistry in the Kitchen Curriculum Book and Resource List! This list is to give you an idea of what will be needed if you are using Guest Hollow’s Chemistry in the Kitchen Curriculum along with some helpful tips and other information. For details about the curriculum itself, please click here.

Guest Hollow's Chemistry in the Kitchen books

In order to use Guest Hollow’s Chemistry in the Kitchen Curriculum, you will need to obtain the scheduled books and other items separately. You may be able to borrow many for FREE from your local library! Check out the F.A.Q. below for tips on how to save money when using a literature-based curriculum.
Thank You,
The Guest Family
© Guest Hollow, LLC

Every purchase comes with a printable book list!

Every purchase of Guest Hollow’s Chemistry in the Kitchen Curriculum comes with a FREE printable book list to help you with your planning and shopping.

The printable version of the book list features:

  • The ISBN number and author’s name
    You can make sure your copy of the book matches the one in the schedule.
  • Notification of when each book or item is used
    You can plan ahead when to check out books from the library. Books used throughout the year are marked “multiple weeks,” so you can decide whether you want to purchase them vs. borrow them.
  • Checklists for planning
    A handy checklist helps you plan if you are going to buy or borrow a book. It can also help you choose the format of your books (physical copy, e-book, or audio book).
  • Books are ranked in order of importance
    Books are ranked in order of importance to help you choose which books you need the most and which can potentially be skipped.
  • Consumables are marked
    You’ll get advance notice of which items are consumable, so you’ll know what you may need to purchase and how many copies you may want to get if you are using the curriculum with multiple students.

Here’s an example of the printable book list:

Keep scrolling to see the full online book list (below the F.A.Q. on this page).

Homeschool chemistry curriculum book list sample

We’ve scheduled in lots of colorful, fact-filled, interesting and engaging books for this year’s study of chemistry! Before taking a look, we’ve addressed some common questions:

Book and Resource F.A.Q.

No. We’ve ranked items in the book list at the beginning of the printable schedule to help you plan your purchases. If you are on a strict budget, don’t have a good library system, or need to limit your student’s amount of reading, the ranking system will help you prioritize items.

Items we feel shouldn’t be dropped or substituted are marked with a #1.
Other items are ranked as follows:
#2: This item is not absolutely necessary, but highly recommended.
#3: This item is optional but recommended.
#4: This item is optional and less important than the others

Some customers only use books ranked 1 and 2 as well as books that are featured in the workbook.

You can also use substitutes from your own home or local library. For example: There is a scheduled book about Louis Pasteur. If you can’t obtain that book, you can use a different book about Pasteur or a book about another famous chemist during the same weeks. Keep in mind that the scheduled books were all hand-picked for their content and presentation.

Some books are marked “unscheduled.” These books are optional and are not featured in the curriculum schedule. They are intended to potentially enhance your studies, and you can fit them in whenever you have the time for them (or ignore them completely, if you wish).

We were once homeschoolers, and we know what it’s like living on a budget. We wrote a blog post to help you SAVE MONEY when using a literature-based curriculum. In the post you’ll find handy tips on where to get books, what subscriptions can help out, what some libraries offer for free, where our customers go for used books, and how to find books our customers are selling when they are done. Take a look:

How to Save Money When Using a Literature-Based Curriculum

Our customers frequently resell their used Guest Hollow homeschool curriculum books on our Facebook Groups. Here’s a list of groups you can join and post in! We encourage you to try and recoup some of your investment in books when you are done by posting them for sale in our groups.

You may NOT resell, share, or distribute any of Guest Hollow’s digital products (or printed out copies of our digital products) which includes but is not limited to schedules, workbooks, printables, and other materials.

Every student’s reading ability and interest differs. If you have a reluctant reader or a student whose reading skills are not fully developed, you can do some of the following things:

  • Read books out loud
    You can read some or all of the books to or with your student. This is a terrific way to participate in what s/he is learning, too! Our children loved read-alouds, even in high school.
  • Use audiobooks
    Audiobooks can be obtained from or a variety of other places. There are some benefits to using audiobooks. They can be listened to in the car, during lunch, while doing chores, while keeping hands occupied (knitting, coloring, etc.), and other times when print books don’t work as well.
  • Don’t overwhelm
    It may not be the best choice to do more than one literature-based program at a time with a student who doesn’t like reading. Don’t be surprised if this reluctant attitude toward reading changes during the course of the program, though. Many of our customers have told us their reluctant readers learned to love reading using our curriculum!

You’ll have to check with your local educational authorities or in some other way determine if Guest Hollow meets requirements since states and colleges have different expectations.

When we were teaching our kids, we usually had what we thought of as a “core” curriculum (science, geography, or history). Because these programs were so literature-rich, we didn’t do a separate literature course. This enhanced our children’s retention and enjoyment of the material they were learning, since their reading assignments complimented their studies. Of course our kids also did plenty of reading in their free time as well!

Guest Hollow’s Chemistry in the Kitchen Curriculum covers a lot of different types of information. We think the BEST curriculums are those that are multidisciplinary. We believe subjects don’t exist in a vacuum, so we like to tie different subjects together, when possible, to expand students’ understanding of specific topics or things they encounter in various scheduled books and/or videos.

Additional credits could possibly be earned for history, literature, and home economics (or some type of cooking course).

Don’t forget to research your local requirements and consult the local experts in your area! We are in NO way advising what credits you should assign. You are ultimately responsible for researching this topic and deciding what will work for you and your family based on your local requirements, future plans, college requirements, and other considerations.

Science is full of historical discoveries and persons who changed our way of thinking about things. It’s our philosophy that learning a bit of history makes some concepts clearer and more meaningful (as well as memorable).

Warning! Preview all materials! We strongly recommend you preview all items to see if they are appropriate for your student. Every family is different in what they find offensive! Additional notes about some of the books are in the descriptions below.

Additional notes about some of the books and movies are under the images. Please note that we have not marked every possible objectionable item.

Some of the books below have this statement in their description:

This book is referenced in the curriculum workbook/study guide.

Those books are referenced in the free PDF workbook that is included with your chemistry curriculum purchase.

Scheduled Books and Items
Guest Hollow's Chemistry WorkbookGuest Hollow’s Chemistry Workbook

This book is included as a FREE download with your purchase.

Some of the books below have this statement in their description:

This book is referenced in the curriculum workbook.

Those books are referenced in the FREE PDF workbook that is included with your chemistry curriculum purchase.

The workbook pages were created for those of you who wish to assess your student’s reading assignments and to help train students to look through a text for information. They are also designed to help students retain what they’ve read.

There is an answer key provided at the back of the workbook.
The Elements – Ingredients of the Universe Student Text
Get a PDF copy here. (Note: The PDF is the full text as I believe there is no digital copy of just the student text.)

Note: Do not order the full text. You just need the student text, because we don’t schedule in the activities from the teacher’s section.

This is a text used in the optional 4-week supplement included with the curriculum for students who need to know the basics of chemistry or need a refresher.

This introduction to chemistry has a writing style that is warm and engaging and often includes whimsical humor and cartoons. The topics covered include the structure of atoms, how atoms bond (covalent, ionic, metallic), electron orbitals and shells, the octect rule, the history of the Periodic Table, and an overview of each family group on the Periodic Table (metals, non-metals, noble gases, alkali metals, etc.). After using this curriculum, the student will be ready to tackle high school chemistry without fear.  
The Joy of Chemistry: A Quick Study Guide for Kids and Beginners to Learn Chemistry Using Fun Analogies and ExamplesThe Joy of Chemistry: A Quick Study Guide for Kids and Beginners to Learn Chemistry Using Fun Analogies and Examples

This is a text used in the optional 4-week supplement included with the curriculum for students who need to know the basics of chemistry or need a refresher.

The Joy of Chemistry explains the fundamental building blocks of all the sciences to your kids in a truly relatable and engaging way. They’ll discover:

* Exactly how particles are like people — and how understanding their characteristics, goals, and relationships is the key to understanding the world
*Vivid, relatable analogies that kids will get first time round.
*The logic behind the periodic table of elements (and how it helps you to understand it)
*The fascinating movement and behavior patterns of particles — and how they affect the world
*The ‘royalty of elements’ — because if there’s one thing that kids understand, it’s how hierarchies work
*Key terminology defined and explained in kid-friendly language (without dumbing down)
*Bonus knowledge-check section at the end of every chapter to consolidate your child’s understanding
Culinary Reactions: The Everyday Chemistry Of Cooking
Chemistry, food science / cooking

Note: There is a brief mention of evolution and a couple pages discuss wine & beer making.
Culinary Reactions: The Everyday Chemistry of Cooking

This book is referenced in the curriculum workbook /study guide.

When you’re cooking, you’re a chemist! Every time you follow or modify a recipe, you are experimenting with acids and bases, emulsions and suspensions, gels and foams. In your kitchen you denature proteins, crystallize compounds, react enzymes with substrates, and nurture desired microbial life while suppressing harmful bacteria and fungi. And unlike in a laboratory, you can eat your experiments to verify your hypotheses.
            In Culinary Reactions, author Simon Quellen Field turns measuring cups, stovetop burners, and mixing bowls into graduated cylinders, Bunsen burners, and beakers.”
Chemistry, history, biology
Hindenburg Mystery (streaming video from Amazon)

The Mythbusters team takes on the Hindenburg explosion!
Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe
Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe

This is such a beautiful book!

“Gray, an element collector and Popular Science columnist, has created a visual homage to the periodic table of the elements. The book begins with an introduction to the arrangement of the periodic table. The first 100 of the elements are each profiled on a two-page spread. The left-hand side of the spread features a large color image of the element in its true form, when possible. The right-hand side includes various images of ways the element appears in the world and explanations of some of the compounds in which it can be found. For example, the Selenium entry includes images of selenium sulfide medicated shampoo, Brazil nuts (which are high in selenium), and a red vase that gets its color from a selenium glaze. Most of the images are items from the author’s personal collection.”
Dr. Joe & What You Didn't Know: 177 Fascinating Questions About the Chemistry of Everyday Life
Chemistry, history, etc.

NOTE: This book has some minor adult references, like how chasteberry was taken in historical times by monks to decrease s*x drive, and a mention of glow-in-the dark condoms, etc. I do not schedule those sections. Evolution is mentioned in question 66.
Dr. Joe & What You Didn’t Know: 177 Fascinating Questions About the Chemistry of Everyday Life

This book is referenced in the curriculum workbook /study guide.

Need this book in print format but Amazon is out of stock? Get it from the publisher.

“From Beethoven’s connection to plumbing to why rotten eggs smell like sulfur, the technical explanations included in this scientific primer tackle 99 chemistry-related questions and provide answers designed to inform and entertain.”
The Mystery of the Periodic Table
History, chemistry

Note to secular parents: On p. 5 it says “in the pre-Christian era”. Page 11 says “prior to the birth of Christ.” Chapter 16 says, “Human beings, especially scientists, but also philosophers and theologians, are always suspicious. They have a deep down feeling that things are not just put together randomly, a strange intuition that, underneath it all, there is a conspiracy going on, a great conspiracy of order.” 
The Mystery of the Periodic Table

“Leads the reader on a delightful and absorbing journey through the ages, on the trail of the elements of the Periodic Table as we know them today. He introduces the young reader to people like Von Helmont, Boyle, Stahl, Priestly, Cavendish, Lavoisier, and many others, all incredibly diverse in personality and approach, who have laid the groundwork for a search that is still unfolding to this day.”
Whipped cream dispenser
Supply for an optional recipe
Whipped Cream Dispenser

You will also need these:
N20 cartridgesFood-grade xanthan gum

These items may seem expensive (about $40 or so to whip up some cream!), but considering you aren’t buying a costly chemistry set, it might be something worth considering, especially as you can use the dispenser year-after-year, a perfect reminder of a fun year with chemistry and culinary creations!

This whipper is for an optional recipe scheduled in from the Culinary Reactions book. Students will love getting to play with it in the name of schoolwork. 😉
Cheesemaking Kit - Mozzarella & Ricotta
Food science / cooking
Cheese kit
Any cheese kit will do. Some are less expensive than others, and you can make different types of cheeses.
Napoleon's Buttons: How 17 Molecules Changed History
Chemistry, history

Note: There is an optional chapter about “the pill” (chapter 11). I’ve marked it in the schedule as being optional. Christian parents may wish to talk to their student(s) about this chapter, as it’s a good opportunity to discuss your personal beliefs concerning the pill and its possible effects. I’ve also skipped chapter 12 as it has some sexual content (p. 235-236) and discusses some of the chemicals associated with accusations of witchcraft.
Napoleon’s Buttons: How 17 Molecules Changed History

This book is referenced in the curriculum workbook /study guide.

Napoleon’s Buttons is the fascinating account of seventeen groups of molecules that have greatly influenced the course of history. These molecules provided the impetus for early exploration, and made possible the voyages of discovery that ensued. The molecules resulted in grand feats of engineering and spurred advances in medicine and law; they determined what we now eat, drink, and wear. A change as small as the position of an atom can lead to enormous alterations in the properties of a substance-which, in turn, can result in great historical shifts.

With lively prose and an eye for colorful and unusual details, Le Couteur and Burreson offer a novel way to understand the shaping of civilization and the workings of our contemporary world.”
Choose one of the following:
Salt: A World History
History, chemistry topics relating to salt

Salt: A World History

In his fifth work of nonfiction, Mark Kurlansky turns his attention to a common household item with a long and intriguing history: salt. The only rock we eat, salt has shaped civilization from the very beginning, and its story is a glittering, often surprising part of the history of humankind. A substance so valuable it served as currency, salt has influenced the establishment of trade routes and cities, provoked and financed wars, secured empires, and inspired revolutions.  Populated by colorful characters and filled with an unending series of fascinating details, Salt by Mark Kurlansky is a supremely entertaining, multi-layered masterpiece.
The Story of Salt
The Story of Salt

“Based on Mark Kurlansky’s critically acclaimed bestseller Salt: A World History, this handsome picture book explores every aspect of salt: The many ways it’s gathered from the earth and sea; how ancient emperors in China, Egypt, and Rome used it to keep their subjects happy; Why salt was key to the Age of Exploration; what salt meant to the American Revolution; And even how the search for salt eventually led to oil. Along the way, you’ll meet a Celtic miner frozen in salt, learn how to make ketchup, and even experience salt’s finest hour: Gandhi’s famous Salt March.”
What Einstein Told His Cook: Kitchen Science Explained
Chemistry, food science / cooking

Note: Alcohol consumption is mentioned. Recipes using alcohol are NOT scheduled in as activities. There are a few incidences of minor cursing.
What Einstein Told His Cook

This book is referenced in the curriculum workbook /study guide.

Wolke, longtime professor of chemistry and author of the Washington Post column Food 101, turns his hand to a Cecil Adams style compendium of questions and answers on food chemistry. Is there really a difference between supermarket and sea salt How is sugar made? Should cooks avoid aluminum pans? Interspersed throughout Wolke’s accessible and humorous answers to these and other mysteries are recipes demonstrating scientific principles.
Louis Pasteur: Founder of Modern Medicine
History, chemistry, biology, etc.

Note: This is a Christian resource. If you are a secular family, you can substitute any other biography of Pasteur.
Louis Pasteur: Founder of Modern Medicine (Sowers.)

“Learn about his early life as the son of a tanner. Experience his years of struggle as an unknown scientist and enjoy his triumph as one of the world’s most celebrated heroes.”
What Einstein Kept Under His Hat: Secrets of Science in the Kitchen
Chemistry, food science / cooking

Note: Alcohol consumption mentioned. Recipes using alcohol are NOT scheduled in as activities. I also don’t schedule in some of the pages that are solely centered around alcohol (beer/wine). There are a few incidences of minor cursing. There are a couple, brief mentions of evolution.
What Einstein Kept Under His Hat: Secrets of Science in the Kitchen

Note: This book was formerly called What Einstein Told His Cook 2: The Sequel: Further Adventures in Kitchen Science. The books are identical, so you can use the other version as well.

This book is referenced in the curriculum workbook /study guide.

This sequel to the best-selling What Einstein Told His Cook continues Bob Wolke’s investigations into the science behind our foods―from the farm or factory to the market, and through the kitchen to the table. In response to ongoing questions from the readers of his nationally syndicated Washington Post column, “Food 101,” Wolke continues to debunk misconceptions with reliable, commonsense answers. He has also added a new feature for curious cooks and budding scientists, “Sidebar Science,” which details the chemical processes that underlie food and cooking. In the same plain language that made the first book a hit with both techies and foodies, Wolke combines the authority, clarity, and wit of a renowned research scientist, writer, and teacher.
Choose one of the following:
Uncle Tungsten: Memories of a Chemical Boyhood
History, chemistry (and other science tidbits such as biology, etc.)

Note: In chapter 19 the author mentions how his mother (who was a dr. practicing obstetrics) brought home malformed human fetuses for her son to dissect. He also dissected part of a human body at the age of 14.
Chapters 22 and 25 have sexual content (click here to see a screenshot).

“Uncle Tungsten: Memories of a Chemical Boyhood

This book is so readable and interesting with lots of chemistry and history sprinkled throughout.

“In Uncle Tungsten we meet Sacks’ extraordinary family, from his surgeon mother (who introduces the fourteen-year-old Oliver to the art of human dissection) and his father, a family doctor who imbues in his son an early enthusiasm for housecalls, to his “Uncle Tungsten,” whose factory produces tungsten-filament lightbulbs. We follow the young Oliver as he is exiled at the age of six to a grim, sadistic boarding school to escape the London Blitz, and later watch as he sets about passionately reliving the exploits of his chemical heroes–in his own home laboratory. Uncle Tungsten is a crystalline view of a brilliant young mind springing to life, a story of growing up which is by turns elegiac, comic, and wistful, full of the electrifying joy of discovery.”
The Radium Girls
History, the element radium

The Radium Girls: Young Readers’ Edition: The Scary but True Story of the Poison that Made People Glow in the Dark

Explore the unbelievable true story of America’s glowing girls and their fight for justice in the young readers edition of the New York Times and USA Today bestseller The Radium Girls. This enthralling new edition includes all-new material, including a glossary, timeline, and dozens of bonus photos.

Amid the excitement of the early twentieth century, hundreds of young women spend their days hard at work painting watch dials with glow-in-the-dark radium paint. The painters consider themselves lucky―until they start suffering from a mysterious illness. As the corporations try to cover up a shocking secret, these shining girls suddenly find themselves at the center of a deadly scandal.

The Radium Girls: Young Readers Edition tells the unbelievable true story of these incredible women, whose determination to fight back saved countless lives.
Nova: Hunting The Elements
Nova: Hunting The Elements

You can also stream this program via Amazon. Click here.

“Where do nature’s building blocks, called the elements, come from? They’re the hidden ingredients of everything in our world, from the carbon in our bodies to the metals in our smartphones. Watch as David Pogue unlocks their secrets.”
Bad Science
Chemistry, biochemistry, medicine, etc

NOTE: There is some minor cursing and chapter 8 is about a sham treatment for A.I.D.S. promoted in Africa. It doesn’t talk about how A.I.D.S. is contracted.
Bad Science: Quacks, Hacks, and Big Pharma Flacks

“Have you ever wondered how one day the media can assert that alcohol is bad for us and the next unashamedly run a story touting the benefits of daily alcohol consumption? Or how a drug that is pulled off the market for causing heart attacks ever got approved in the first place? How can average readers, who aren’t medical doctors or Ph.D.s in biochemistry, tell what they should be paying attention to and what’s, well, just more baloney?
Ben Goldacre has made a point of exposing quack doctors and nutritionists, bogus credentialing programs, and biased scientific studies. He has also taken the media to task for its willingness to throw facts and proof out the window. But he’s not here just to tell you what’s wrong. Goldacre is here to teach you how to evaluate placebo effects, double-blind studies, and sample sizes, so that you can recognize bad science when you see it. You’re about to feel a whole lot better.”
Archimedes and the Door of Science
History, various science topics, math

Note: I have this book scheduled in the Knowledge of Nature curriculum, which is for much younger students. If your teen hasn’t read it yet, it’s still a worthwhile book that goes with some of the density concepts discussed in another text.
Archimedes and the Door of Science (Living History Library)

“Jeanne Bendick, through text and pictures, admirably succeeds in bringing to life the ancient Greek mathematician who enriched mathematics and all branches of science. Against the backdrop of Archimedes’ life and culture, the author discusses the man’s work, his discoveries and the knowledge later based upon it. The simple, often humorous, illustrations and diagrams greatly enhance the text.”
Uranium: Twisting the Dragon's Tail
Chemistry, history, physics
Uranium: Twisting the Dragon’s Tail 
(Streaming video from Amazon)
Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie: A Tale of Love and Fallout
History, chemistry
Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie: A Tale of Love and Fallout

This book is almost like a graphic novel. It’s very artistically presented and a novel (har har) way to learn about this important scientist. A plus: this book glows in the dark!

“Whether young or old, scientific novice or expert, no one will fail to be moved by Lauren Redniss’s eerie and wondrous evocation of one of history’s most intriguing figures.”
Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb
History, chemistry
Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb

“Trinity, the debut graphic book by Jonathan Fetter-Vorm, depicts the dramatic history of the race to build and the decision to drop the first atomic bomb in World War Two. This sweeping historical narrative traces the spark of invention from the laboratories of nineteenth-century Europe to the massive industrial and scientific efforts of the Manhattan Project, and even transports the reader into a nuclear reaction–into the splitting atoms themselves.”
Slow Death by Rubber Duck: The Secret Danger of Everyday Things
Chemistry, environmental science, biochemistry, health
Slow Death by Rubber Duck: The Secret Danger of Everyday Things

“Pollution is not only an abstract, distant problem seen in belching smokestacks and contaminated waterways; it’s also personal. Some of the most dangerous pollutants come from commonplace items in our homes and workplaces—shampoos and toothpastes, carpets and children’s toys.

To prove this point, leading environmentalists Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie conducted their own research by ingesting and inhaling a host of things that are part of our everyday lives. Using their own bodies as the reference point to tell the story of pollution in our modern world, they expose the miscreant corporate giants who manufacture the toxins, the weak-kneed government officials who let it happen, and the effects on people and families across the globe. This book—the testimony of their experience—exposes the extent to which we are poisoned every day of our lives.”
Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World

Note: Chapter 4 briefly mentions an advertisement that implied chocolate was better than sex. Evolution is also mentioned in this book, briefly.
Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World

This book is referenced in the curriculum workbook /study guide.

“Why is glass see-through? What makes elastic stretchy? Why does any material look and behave the way it does? These are the sorts of questions that renowned materials scientist Mark Miodownik constantly asks himself. Miodownik studies objects as ordinary as an envelope and as unexpected as concrete cloth, uncovering the fascinating secrets that hold together our physical world. In Stuff Matters, Miodownik explores the materials he encounters in a typical morning, from the steel in his razor to the foam in his sneakers. Full of enthralling tales of the miracles of engineering that permeate our lives, Stuff Matters will make you see stuff in a whole new way.”
NOVA: Secrets of the Samurai Sword
History, chemistry
NOVA: Secrets of the Samurai Sword

Learn how chemistry helped make samurai swords. Interesting!
Pandora's Lunchbox: How Processed Food Took Over the American Meal
Food science, health, chemistry

This book has a mild reference to sex in chapter 3.
Pandora’s Lunchbox: How Processed Food Took Over the American Meal

This book is referenced in the curriculum workbook /study guide.

“If a piece of individually wrapped cheese can retain its shape, color, and texture for years, what does it say about the food we eat and feed to our children?

Former New York Times business reporter and mother Melanie Warner decided to explore that question when she observed the phenomenon of the indestructible cheese. She began an investigative journey that took her to research labs, university food science departments, and factories around the country. What she discovered provides a rare, eye-opening—and sometimes disturbing—account of what we’re really eating.

Combining meticulous research, vivid writing, and cultural analysis, Warner blows the lid off the largely undocumented—and lightly regulated—world of chemically treated and processed foods and lays bare the potential price we may pay for consuming even so-called healthy foods.”
The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements
Chemistry, history

Note: Contains references to evolution.
The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements

This book is referenced in the curriculum workbook /study guide.

“Why did Gandhi hate iodine (I, 53)? How did radium (Ra, 88) nearly ruin Marie Curie’s reputation? And why is gallium (Ga, 31) the go-to element for laboratory pranksters?*

The Periodic Table is a crowning scientific achievement, but it’s also a treasure trove of adventure, betrayal, and obsession. These fascinating tales follow every element on the table as they play out their parts in human history, and in the lives of the (frequently) mad scientists who discovered them.”
Taste: Surprising Stories and Science About Why Food Tastes Good
Food science, chemistry, biology

Note: In Chapter 16, there is a mention of how the author smoked weed at one point for an experiment. You can skip this chapter, if desired.

Taste: Surprising Stories and Science about Why Food Tastes Good

This book is referenced in the curriculum workbook /study guide.

This books has some great hands-on activities!

“Whether it’s a grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup or a salted caramel coated in dark chocolate, you know when food tastes good. Now here’s the amazing story behind why you love some foods and can’t tolerate others.

Whether it’s a salted caramel or pizza topped with tomatoes and cheese, you know when food tastes good. Now, Barb Stuckey, a seasoned food developer to whom food companies turn for help in creating delicious new products, reveals the amazing story behind why you love some foods and not others.

Through fascinating stories, you’ll learn how our five senses work together to form flavor perception and how the experience of food changes for people who have lost their sense of smell or taste. You’ll learn why kids (and some adults) turn up their noses at Brussels sprouts, how salt makes grapefruit sweet, and why you drink your coffee black while your spouse loads it with cream and sugar. Eye-opening experiments allow you to discover your unique “taster type” and to learn why you react instinctively to certain foods. You’ll improve your ability to discern flavors and devise taste combinations in your own kitchen for delectable results. What Harold McGee did for the science of cooking Barb Stuckey does for the science of eating in Taste—a calorie-free way to get more pleasure from every bite.”
Molecules: The Elements and the Architecture of Everything
Molecules: The Elements and the Architecture of Everything

Another beautiful book by Theodore Gray!
“In his highly anticipated sequel to The Elements, Theodore Gray demonstrates how the elements of the periodic table combine to form the molecules that make up our world.”
Ingredient for an activity

Vegemite is required for one of the activities in the book Taste: Surprising Stories and Science about Why Food Tastes Good.
Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of Antibiotics Is Fueling Our Modern Plagues
Chemistry, biochemistry, medicine, biology, health

Note: Evolution is mentioned in this book. Chapter 4 (p. 41) features cursing, from a child hallucinating under the influence of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of Antibiotics Is Fueling Our Modern Plagues

This book is referenced in the curriculum workbook /study guide.

This is a really fascinating book full of important topics. Your kids will want to know this information, especially if they have children in the future.

“In Missing Microbes, Dr. Martin Blaser goes back to the discovery of antibiotics, which ushered in a golden age of medicine, and traces how our subsequent overuse of these supposed wonder drugs has left its mark on our systems and contributed to the rise of what Blaser calls our modern plagues: obesity, asthma, allergies, diabetes and certain forms of cancer. Blaser’s studies suggest that antibiotic use during early childhood poses the greatest risk to long-term health; alarmingly, American children receive on average seventeen courses of antibiotics before they are twenty years old. His studies also suggest that C-sections deprive babies of important contact with their mothers’ microbiomes.

Taking us into the lab to explain his groundbreaking studies, Blaser not only provides elegant support for his theories but guides us toward avoiding even more catastrophic health problems in the future.”
Swindled: The Dark History of Food Fraud, from Poisoned Candy to Counterfeit Coffee
Food, chemical makeup of foods, history, etc.
Swindled: The Dark History of Food Fraud

Bad food has a history. Swindled tells it. Through a fascinating mixture of cultural and scientific history, food politics, and culinary detective work, Bee Wilson uncovers the many ways swindlers have cheapened, falsified, and even poisoned our food throughout history. In the hands of people and corporations who have prized profits above the health of consumers, food and drink have been tampered with in often horrifying ways–padded, diluted, contaminated, substituted, mislabeled, misnamed, or otherwise faked. Swindled gives a panoramic view of this history, from the leaded wine of the ancient Romans to today’s food frauds–such as fake organics and the scandal of Chinese babies being fed bogus milk powder.
Instant snow
Item for an activity
Instant Snow

This is an optional material that goes with one of the sections students read in the Dr. Joe book.
Carbon Chemistry 2nd Edition

Chemistry – organic and biochemistry
Carbon Chemistry (by Ellen McHenry) – An Introduction to Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry

*Make sure to get the FULL book, not the student text.

Click here for a sample! (Scroll down to the FREE sample chapters link.)

Carbon Chemistry says it’s designed for the target ages of 9-14, but honestly, there is a lot of great material in it for any age (even adults), and I think it’s perfect for this course. Many high schoolers never even cover the material in this book! I think Ellen put that age range on it because she made it so easy to understand! 😉

With her book you get the reading material and printables (like end of the chapter questions and activities in the teacher’s section like building a model of carbon’s allotropes out of candies, and so on).
Soap kit
Item for an activity
Soap Kit

Choose a soap kit. There are lots of different kits available (some less girly than others, if you have a boy). See which one appeals to your teen. 😉

Alternate option: Properties of Soaps and Detergents kit
First Bite: How We Learn to Eat
Food psychology, social science, neuroscience
First Bite: How We Learn to Eat

This book is referenced in the curriculum workbook /study guide.

“We are not born knowing what to eat; as omnivores it is something we each have to figure out for ourselves. From childhood onward, we learn how big a “portion” is and how sweet is too sweet. We learn to enjoy green vegetables—or not. But how does this education happen? What are the origins of taste?

In First Bite, award-winning food writer Bee Wilson draws on the latest research from food psychologists, neuroscientists, and nutritionists to reveal that our food habits are shaped by a whole host of factors: family and culture, memory and gender, hunger and love. Taking the reader on a journey across the globe, Wilson introduces us to people who can only eat foods of a certain color; prisoners of war whose deepest yearning is for Mom’s apple pie; a nine year old anosmia sufferer who has no memory of the flavor of her mother’s cooking; toddlers who will eat nothing but hotdogs and grilled cheese sandwiches; and researchers and doctors who have pioneered new and effective ways to persuade children to try new vegetables. Wilson examines why the Japanese eat so healthily, whereas the vast majority of teenage boys in Kuwait have a weight problem—and what these facts can tell Americans about how to eat better.”
Junkyard Planet
Chemistry, recycling, etc.
Junkyard Planet: Travels in the Billion-Dollar Trash Trade

“When you drop your Diet Coke can or yesterday’s newspaper in the recycling bin, where does it go? Probably halfway around the world, to people and places that clean up what you don’t want and turn it into something you can’t wait to buy. In Junkyard Planet, Adam Minter-veteran journalist and son of an American junkyard owner-travels deeply into a vast, often hidden, 500-billion-dollar industry that’s transforming our economy and environment.”
Unscheduled Books

You can assign any (or none) of these books as extra credit reading. They are NOT in the schedule. Books that are “harder” are marked with an asterisk.
That’s the Way the Cookie Crumbles: 62 All-New Commentaries on the Fascinating Chemistry of Everyday Life
That’s the Way the Cookie Crumbles: 62 All-New Commentaries on the Fascinating Chemistry of Everyday Life

“Interesting anecdotes and engaging tales make science fun, meaningful, and accessible. Separating sense from nonsense and fact from myth, these essays cover everything from the ups of helium to the downs of drain cleaners and provide answers to numerous mysteries, such as why bug juice is used to colour ice cream and how spies used secret inks. Mercury in teeth, arsenic in water, lead in the environment, and aspartame in food are discussed.

Mythbusters include the fact that Edison did not invent the light bulb and that walking on hot coals does not require paranormal powers. The secret life of bagels is revealed, and airbags, beer, and soap yield their mysteries. These and many more surprising, educational, and entertaining commentaries show the relevance of science to everyday life.”
Elements of Faith
Chemistry, Bible
Elements of Faith (Revised & Expanded)

“It’s easy to see the wonder of God’s creation all around us, but to truly appreciate the incredible design, organization, and creativeness of the Creator, you have to delve into the elements that make up our world. Here is a one-year, junior high curriculum that does that and more, including uplifting biblical applications, weekly readings, activities, and quizzes.”
The Elements: An Illustrated History of the Periodic Table
Chemistry, history, elements
The Elements: An Illustrated History of the Periodic Table (100 Ponderables)

This book is full of history and chemistry!
Rare: The High-Stakes Race to Satisfy Our Need for the Scarcest Metals on Earth
Chemistry (metals)
Rare: The High-Stakes Race to Satisfy Our Need for the Scarcest Metals on Earth

“How will your life change when the supply of tantalum dries up? You may have never heard of this unusual metal, but without it smartphones would be instantly less omniscient, video game systems would falter, and laptops fail.  Tantalum is not alone.  Rhodium. Osmium. Niobium. Such refugees from the bottom of the periodic table are key components of many consumer products like cell phones, hybrid car batteries, and flat screen televisions, as well as sophisticated medical devices and even weapon systems. Their versatile properties have led manufacturers to seek these elements out to maximize longevity, value, and efficiency, but not without a human price.”
Thomas Jefferson's Creme Brulee: How a Founding Father and His Slave James Hemings Introduced French Cuisine to America
History, food

Note: This book mentions how Benjamin Franklin was considered vulgar because he kissed the ladies in France in greeting (p. 29).
Thomas Jefferson’s Creme Brulee: How a Founding Father and His Slave James Hemings Introduced French Cuisine to America

“This culinary biography recounts the 1784 deal that Thomas Jefferson struck with his slaves, James Hemings. The founding father was traveling to Paris and wanted to bring James along “for a particular purpose”— to master the art of French cooking. In exchange for James’s cooperation, Jefferson would grant his freedom.

Thus began one of the strangest partnerships in United States history. As Hemings apprenticed under master French chefs, Jefferson studied the cultivation of French crops (especially grapes for winemaking) so the might be replicated in American agriculture. The two men returned home with such marvels as pasta, French fries, Champagne, macaroni and cheese, crème brûlée, and a host of other treats. This narrative history tells the story of their remarkable adventure—and even includes a few of their favorite recipes!”
Chilled: How Refrigeration Changed the World and Might Do So Again
History, chemistry, technology, physics
Chilled: How Refrigeration Changed the World and Might Do So Again

“The refrigerator. This white box that sits in the kitchen may seem mundane nowadays, but it is one of the wonders of 20th century science – life-saver, food-preserver and social liberator, while the science of refrigeration is crucial, not just in transporting food around the globe but in a host of branches on the scientific tree. Refrigerators, refrigeration and its discovery and applications provides the remarkable and eye-opening backdrop to Chilled, the story of how science managed to rewrite the rules of food, and how the technology whirring behind every refrigerator is at play, unseen, in a surprisingly broad sweep of modern life.”

The Invention of Air: A Story Of Science, Faith, Revolution, And The Birth Of America
History, chemistry

Note: Evolution is mentioned in this book.
*The Invention of Air: A Story Of Science, Faith, Revolution, And The Birth Of America

“In The Invention of Air, national bestselling author Steven Johnson tells the fascinating story of Joseph Priestley—scientist and theologian, protégé of Benjamin Franklin, friend of Thomas Jefferson—an eighteenth-century radical thinker who played pivotal roles in the invention of ecosystem science, the discovery of oxygen, the uses of oxygen, scientific experimentation, the founding of the Unitarian Church, and the intellectual development of the United States. As he did so masterfully in The Ghost Map, Steven Johnson uses a dramatic historical story to explore themes that have long engaged him: innovative strategies, intellectual models, and the way new ideas emerge and spread, and the environments that foster these breakthroughs.”
Creations Of Fire: Chemistry's Lively History From Alchemy To The Atomic Age
History, chemistry

Note: This is a thick book packed with info. It’s arranged by time period (practically from the beginning of time) and discusses chemists and their discoveries in the context of history. I haven’t included it in the schedule because it’s a bit much for the intended audience of this curriculum. However, it’s a good book for students who want to learn more about the people who shaped our understanding of chemistry. Evolution is mentioned.
*Creations Of Fire: Chemistry’s Lively History From Alchemy To The Atomic Age

“In this fascinating history, Cathy Cobb and Harold Goldwhite celebrate not only chemistry’s theories and breakthroughs but also the provocative times and personalities that shaped this amazing science and brought it to life. Throughout the book, the reader will meet the hedonists and swindlers, monks and heretics, and men and women laboring in garages and over kitchen sinks who expanded our understanding of the elements and discovered such new substances as plastic, rubber, and aspirin. Creations of Fire expands our vision of the meaning of chemistry and reveals the oddballs and academics who have helped shape our world.”
Fifty Foods That Changed the Course of History

History, food
Fifty Foods That Changed the Course of History

“A beautifully presented guide to the foods that have had the greatest impact on human civilization.
Though many of the foods in this book are taken for granted and one (the mammoth) is no longer consumed, these foods have kept humans alive for millennia and theirs is a fascinating story.
Like the other titles in this highly-regarded series, this book organizes the fifty foods into short illustrated chapters of fascinating narratives: the “who, where, when, why and how” of each food’s introduction and its impact on civilization in one or more cultural, social, commercial, political or military spheres. “
Pinecone hedgehog

The terrific materials listed above are forks on this page are for Guest Hollow’s Chemistry in the Kitchen Curriculum! We invite you to check it out!

Chemistry in the Kitchen Currixculum

Guest Hollow’s Chemistry in the Kitchen Curriculum


Most chemistry curriculums are comprised of thick, boring textbooks that require a firm grounding in algebra and feature labs with chemicals that can strike fear in a homeschool parent’s heart. Our chemistry curriculum is like nothing out there in the homeschool market (that I know of)! You don’t need to know any higher level math to do it. You don’t have to purchase a $250 lab kit with chemicals galore and test tubes. This is a PRACTICAL chemistry course for those of you who have students who hate math, hate science, and are in tears thinking of that scary chemistry textbook they are supposed to choke down. This is also the perfect science curriculum for those students who LOVE science and want to learn some down-to-earth science they will use and enjoy knowing throughout their lives. 

4 thoughts on “Guest Hollow’s Chemistry in the Kitchen Curriculum Book and Resource List

  1. Can this be used or modified for a student with celiac disease and unable to use gluten and wheat containing products?

    1. Here is info we put in our curriculum FAQ about dietary restrictions:

      Although it’s ultimately up to you, many families with special dietary needs have used Chemistry in the Kitchen successfully!

      We’ve read posts in our Facebook groups about families adapting specific recipes to be gluten-free, sugar-free, vegetarian, Paleo, and diary-free (and/or to meet other requirements) with successful results. Some families who can’t eat specific recipes share them with a youth group, friends, or other family members.

      The curriculum is very flexible, and you don’t have to make all the recipes! Use the ones that work for you. There are still plenty of non-food related activities to do and learn from.

      You may want to visit the Facebook Guest Hollow Chemistry in the Kitchen User’s Group to see posts in which other parents share how they adapted recipes to make the program work for them.

      We do NOT make any dietary claims about the recipes scheduled in Chemistry in the Kitchen. You are ultimately responsible for making sure the recipes are appropriate for your student and/or family.

      I hope this helps! There are lots of great tips people have shared on our Chemistry Facebook group! 🙂

  2. How many books are listed under #1 and #2?

    1. There are about 9 books that are listed 1 or 2. There are a few more that are ranked 2-3 (as in they could be thought of as a 2 or 3 depending on interest level, etc.). 😉

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