Synopses & Reviews
"The Curious Cook is an indispensable kitchen companion to conventional teaspoon-of-this, dash-of-that cooking volumes." —Village Voice
"Lively reflections on cooking matters and questions." —The New York Times
"If you like to know what you're doing in the kitchen and be entertained while you find out, you must read this book." —Vogue
The Curious Cook, the follow-up to the award-winning On Food and Cooking, which was called a "minor masterpiece" by Time magazine, continues to translate into plain English for home cooks what scientists have discovered about food. Harold McGee puts to rest countless time-honored culinary myths and answers questions about the hazards of salmonella in mayonnaise and hollandaise sauce, how you can retain the green in salads, guacamole, and pesto, and how to keep tender meats from becoming tough when braising, as well as the relation of certain foods to heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer's disease. Filled with literary and historical anecdotes and packed with fascinating scientific lore, The Curious Cook is a must for every kitchen library.
"Some works are so original they defy classification. Such a book is Harold McGee's The Curious Cook." —Los Angeles Times
"A thoroughly charming and extremely useful new book." —The Washington Post
"The Curious Cook is as explosive as a le Carr yarn, as simple as good bread, as complex as a classic sauce, and as enlightening as only Harold McGee can be." George Lang, owner of the Caf des Artistes, New York City
"Harold McGee plays with his food and encourages everybody else to do the same." Mary MacVean
When Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking was published in 1984, it proved to be one of the sleepers of the year, eventually going through eight hardcover printings. It was hailed as a minor masterpiece" and reviewers around the world prasied McGee for writing the first book for the home cook that translated into plain English what scientist had discovered about our foods. Like why chefs beat eggs whites in copper bowls and why onions make us cry."
Includes bibliographical references (p. -329) and index.
Table of Contents
PART ONE: Playing with Food: Experiments.
1. The Searing Truth: Cooking always squeezes out meat juices.
2. Oil Drops Keep Falling on My Toque: The fate of spatter from the frying pan.
3. Simmering Down: Cooking tender meats well below the boil.
4. The Green and the Brown: How to keep the green color of salads and sauces.
5. Taking the Wind Out of the Sunroot: Making the Jerusalem artichoke more digestible.
6. Beurre Blanc: Butter's Undoing: A sauce made by transforming butter back into cream.
7. Simplifying Hollandaise and Béarnaise: Properly understood, these sauces almost make themselves.
8. Mayonnaise: Doing More with Lecithin: Mayonnaise can be made with little or no egg yolk.
9. Persimmons Unpuckered: Updating ancient Chinese methods of artificial ripening.
10. Fruit Ices, Cold and Calculated: Three dozen fruits, five styles.
11. The Pleasures of Merely Measuring: Prowling the kitchen with thermometer and stopwatch.
PART TWO: Making the Good Life Better.
12. Fat and the Heart: Coping with quirky biology.
13. Food and Cancer: Learning how to improve our odds.
14. Minding the Pots and Pans: The Case of Aluminum: No metal surface is inert.
PART THREE: Reflections.
15. The Physiologist of Taste: Science in Brillat-Savarin's classic.
16. The Saga of Osmazome: The early chemistry of gastronomical pleasure.
17. From Raw to Cooked: The Transformation of Flavor: Why does the human animal like cooked foods?