stinney, April 8, 2008 (view all comments by stinney)
Wow this is an amazing "cookbook" - no recipes... but I find myself referring back to it constantly, to answer the little nagging questions I've had since I first watched an onion brown. This book is about how the alchemy of cooking works, and *why* - did you ever wonder what chemical process happens in carmelization, and how it's different from or similar to toasting coffee or roasting meat? Or what it is in the composition of various fruits and vegetables that make them react to each other in various ways? this book goes into the detail, discusses the chemistry, draws out the molecular changes, and explains it in terms I can understand without a degree in chemistry. If you like experimenting with recipes, making your own recipes, or are just interested in what happens when you're cooking... you MUST own this book. period.
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On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen
0 stars -
Scribner Book Company -
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"Before antioxidants, extra-virgin olive oil and supermarket sushi commanded public obsession, the first edition of this book swept readers and cooks into the everyday magic of the kitchen: it became an overnight classic. Now, 20 years later, McGee has taken his slightly outdated volume and turned it into a stunning masterpiece that combines science, linguistics, history, poetry and, of course, gastronomy. He dances from the spicy flavor of Hawaiian seaweed to the scientific method of creating no-stir peanut butter, quoting Chinese poet Shu Xi and biblical proverbs along the way. McGee's conversational style — rich with exclamation points and everyday examples — allows him to explain complex chemical reactions, like caramelization, without dumbing them down. His book will also be hailed as groundbreaking in its breakdown of taste and flavor. Though several cookbooks have begun to answer the questions of why certain foods go well together, McGee draws on recent agricultural research, neuroscience reviews and chemical publications to chart the different flavor chemicals in herbs and spices, fruits and vegetables. Odd synergies appear, like the creation of fruity esters in dry-cured ham — the same that occur naturally in melons! McGee also corrects the European bias of the first edition, moving beyond the Mediterranean to discuss the foods of Asia and Mexico. Almost every single page of this edition has been rewritten, but the book retains the same light touch as the original. McGee has successfully revised the bible of food science — and produced a fascinating, charming text. Forecast: With a bright red cover and rave blurbs from chefs like Jacques Ppin, Mario Batali, Bobby Flay and Thomas Keller, this book is sure to draw a lot of attention during the holiday season." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
by Bobby Flay, chef-co-owner of Mesa Grill and Bolo and author of Bobby Flay's Boy Gets Grill,
"Harold McGee has once again done the work and research for us all. Any culinary question is now easily answered in On Food and Cooking. It's virtually the 'tell me why' for adults in the kitchen."
by Rick Bayless, author of Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen and Mexico One Plate at a Time,
"A must-have resource for any student of the stove, On Food and Cooking synthesizes details from a wide variety of scientific disciplines and gastronomic traditions, sparking the reader's culinary imagination with every turn of the page. Harold McGee possesses that most rare combination: a scientist's skill and a cook's heart."
by Charlie Trotter,
"Without an understanding of basic food science and practical cooking technique, there can ultimately be no true creativity in the kitchen! Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking is the definitive treatise on this subject that both the professional and home cook will absolutely require to move their cooking forward."
by Thomas Keller,
"Having the pleasure of working with Harold McGee at The French Laundry kitchen was a dream come true. On Food and Cooking continues to be the most accurate source of information for generations of chefs. A charismatic teacher, Harold is a veritable fountain of information and without peer in our industry. His books are the most worn and dog-eared of my entire collection."
The revised edition of the classic "On Food and Cooking" features 90 percent new material, addressing the culinary mechanics, mysteries, and trends of the past 20 years. Compulsively readable and engaging, this updated volume covers every aspect of how food is grown, harvested, cooked, eaten, and digested. Winner of the James Beard KitchenAid Book Award in 2005, and the 2005 IACP Crystal Whisk Award. 200 line drawings.
The revised and updated twentieth anniversary edition of the classic On Food And Cooking — the book that single-handedly created the food and science genre. spawned a generation of imitators. and remains a bible for serious home cooks, food writers, and professional chefs.
Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking is a kitchen classic. Hailed by Time magazine as "a minor masterpiece" when it first appeared in 1984, On Food and Cooking is the bible to which food lovers and professional chefs worldwide turn for an understanding of where our foods come from, what exactly they're made of, and how cooking transforms them into something new and delicious.
Now, for its twentieth anniversary, Harold McGee has prepared a new, fully revised and updated edition of On Food and Cooking. He has rewritten the text almost completely, expanded it by two-thirds, and commissioned more than 100 new illustrations. As compulsively readable and engaging as ever, the new On Food and Cooking provides countless eye-opening insights into food, its preparation, and its enjoyment.
On Food and Cooking pioneered the translation of technical food science into cook-friendly kitchen science and helped give birth to the inventive culinary movement known as "molecular gastronomy." Though other books have now been written about kitchen science, On Food and Cooking remains unmatched in the accuracy, clarity, and thoroughness of its explanations, and the intriguing way in which it blends science with the historical evolution of foods and cooking techniques.
On Food and Cooking is an invaluable and monumental compendium of basic information about ingredients, cooking methods, and the pleasures of eating. It will delight and fascinate anyone who has ever cooked, savored, or wondered about food.
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