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.
"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." -Charlie Trotter, chef-owner of Charlie Trotter's
I heard this recommended on an ABC interview by a famous chef. He considered it to be the book that enabled top chefs to achieve as they have. It contains both the physics and chemistry of food and the cooking process, a history of how foods have developed, details of how to cook them to obtain the best results, eg tender juicy meat, tasty vegetables, and the explanation behind the processes. There is a wealth of information. There are some tips on ways to get the best health benefits, eg how salt and acid foods can increase the extraction of calcium from the bones. It is not a medical book but info about food naturally relates to physical health. As I am currently learning to cook properly (later in life) as I have found that many foods cause my body harm (no grain, sugar, corn, soy, rice, fermented foods, etc etc), I need to cook everything from scratch and this book will help me improve for years to come. It is very detailed, comprehensive, interesting but also complex at times. This is definitely for people who are very serious about cooking, those who enjoy the intellectual challenge of learning dense material and also for others who really want to understand more even if they just dip into the book from time to time. There are 900 pages and not a singe recipe!
Fabulous book! Readers without any science experience or knowledge should not be put off as it is not a "heavy" read. McGee writes in a very light & informative manner, sprinkled with annecdotal material, and some very interesting historical [word] pictures about our food, where it comes from, and whys & wherefores of how to get the best results from efforts in the kitchen. Being American in origin does not reduce the usefulness of his writing, as it can with some works on food & cooking, because it is the principles, not the local methods, he is interested in. In otherwords, the information is universal, not culturally specific.
I have had an interest & experience in the kitchen since very young, and spanning some 60 years from wartime England [WWII]. This book has helped me to fill in many gaps in my knowledge of food & cooking, and why I sometimes have unexpected disasters. I also have found out why I do so well with some of my regular successes. This is important to me as I am very much an 'instinctive' cook - if such a person exists - & I also like to understand the things I do.
It is not a 'coffee table' book, but I keep mine there to browse & pick-at as the fancy takes me; an excellent way to use this book.
This is an amazing book. It told me all the reasons for why things worked like they do in the kitchen, and taught me much, much, more!! It is not a recipie book, but if you want to know all about the different methods to do something, and the benefits or drawbacks of each method. If you buy this for someone who loves to be in the kitchen, you will be remembered fondly by them forever!
I've been a keen home cook for over 20 years now and my interest has developed to the point that, instead of just blindly following a recipe, I want to know why I have to follow certain procedures. Knowing what reactions and processes take place during cooking gives you the freedom to change a recipe and know what the end result will be. This is science written in easy-to-understand language and is a fascinating read. I now know why this book is a classic and regarded as a "must have" by all great chefs and foodies. If in doubt, buy it!
This is a great book on the 'science' of cooking, but one that's easy to read and understand. It's clearly organised into chapters (such as meat, dairy, baked goods) and subchapters. It goes into quite a lot of detail covering some history, uses etc. for each item. This is also good for cooks, as it explains the different chemical components and reactions in food.
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