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Keys to Good Cooking: A Guide to Making the Best of Foods and Recipesby Harold McGee
Synopses & Reviews
The answers to many kitchen conundrums in one easy-to-use volume, from the author of the acclaimed culinary bible On Food and Cooking.
From our foremost expert on the science of cooking, Harold McGee, Keys to Good Cooking is a concise and authoritative guide designed to help home cooks navigate the ever-expanding universe of ingredients, recipes, food safety, and appliances, and arrive at the promised land of a satisfying dish.
A work of astounding scholarship and originality, Keys to Good Cooking directly addresses the cook at work in the kitchen and in need of quick and reliable guidance. Cookbooks past and present frequently contradict one another about the best ways to prepare foods, and many contain erroneous information and advice.
Keys to Good Cooking distills the modern scientific understanding of cooking and translates it into immediately useful information. Looking at ingredients from the mundane to the exotic, McGee takes you from market to table, teaching, for example, how to spot the most delectable asparagus (choose thick spears); how to best prepare the vegetable (peel, don't snap, the fibrous ends; broiling is one effective cooking method for asparagus and other flat-lying vegetables); and how to present it (coat with butter or oil after cooking to avoid a wrinkled surface). This book will be a requisite countertop resource for all home chefs, as McGee's insights on kitchen safety in particular — reboil refrigerated meat or fish stocks every few days. (They're so perishable that they can spoil even in the refrigerator.); Don't put ice cubes or frozen gel packs on a burn. (Extreme cold can cause additional skin damage) — will save even the most knowledgeable home chefs from culinary disaster.
A companion volume to recipe books, a touchstone that helps cooks spot flawed recipes and make the best of them, Keys to Good Cooking will be of use to cooks of all kinds: to beginners who want to learn the basics, to weekend cooks who want a quick refresher in the basics, and to accomplished cooks who want to rethink a dish from the bottom up. With Keys to Good Cooking McGee has created an essential guide for food lovers everywhere.
"Mr. McGee might have called this encyclopedic work 'The Kitchen Home Companion,' since it offers indispensable information on how to make the most of any recipe — a user's manual that enables home cooks to achieve maximum results...the enjoyment it affords will be found on the table." Wall Street Journal
"If you want to know virtually anything about the 'why' of cooking, read Harold McGee. Along the way, he'll teach you the 'how.'" St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"McGee's writing is broad, yet detailed at the same time, scientific, but comprehensible." Christian Science Monitor
"A great addition to any cookbook library. It picks up where many cookbooks leave off. The 'How's' and 'Why's' of a dish's success — or failure — are often a mystery, but McGee sheds light on many of those mysteries to make us more informed in the kitchen and ultimately, better cooks." Seattle Weekly
"McGee will banish any romantic notions about cooking with his fast-draw expertise....With an eminently pragmatic approach to cooking and a user-friendly précis of a lifetime's devotion to the kitchen, this is an invaluable addition to food literature." Publishers Weekly
The answers to many kitchen conundrums in one easy-to-use volume, from the author of the acclaimed culinary classic On Food and Cooking
Harold McGee is our foremost expert on the science of cooking, advising professional chefs worldwide. Now he offers the same authoritative advice for food lovers everywhere in Keys to Good Cooking. A companion volume to recipe books, a touchstone for spotting flawed recipes and making the best of them, Keys to Good Cooking is a welcome aid for cooks of all types — translating the modern science of cooking into immediately useful information. Taking home cooks from market to table — and teaching them the best way to select, prepare, and present an amazing array of food — Keys to Good Cooking is an invaluable resource for anyone who prepares food and wants to do it well.
Harold McGee is our foremost authority on the science of cooking, and an adviser to chefs worldwide. In Keys to Good Cooking he distills his knowledge and experience into a practical, comprehensive kitchen guide for home cooks.
Cookbooks past and present frequently contradict one another about the best ways to prepare foods, and many contain erroneous information about ingredients and methods. Keys to Good Cooking is a handy one-volume corrective to this world of confusion. It provides simple statements of fact and advice, along with brief explanations that help cooks understand what they're doing, and then apply that insight on their own. McGee covers everything from the market to the table, advising, for example, how to choose asparagus (thick spears have the largest proportion of tender flesh), how best to prepare it (snapping off tough ends wastes good asparagus; reclaim it by slicing them into thin rounds), and how to serve it (a thin coating of oil reduces moisture loss and wrinkling). His guidance about kitchen safety in particular will help save even the most knowledgeable cook from causing unintended harm (refrigerate leftovers quickly because cooking and slow cooling can stimulate the growth of harmful microbes; don’t treat a burn with ice because extreme cold can cause additional skin damage).
A companion volume to recipe books, a touchstone for spotting flawed recipes and making the best of them, Keys to Good Cooking will be a welcome aide for cooks of all kinds: for beginners who want to learn the basics, for weekend cooks who want to improve on favorite recipes or explore new ones, and for accomplished cooks who want to rethink a dish from the bottom up. Keys to Good Cooking is an invaluable countertop resource for anyone who prepares food and wants to do it well.
About the Author
Harold McGee writes about the science of food and cooking. He’s the author of the award-winning classic On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen, and writes a column, “The Curious Cook,” for The New York Times. He has been named food writer of the year by Bon Appétit magazine and one of the Time 100, an annual list of the world’s most influential people. He lives in San Francisco.
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