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Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks, and Good Food Paperback – 12 Aug 2010


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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (12 Aug 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596805888
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596805883
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 1.8 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,355 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

I'm hungry. Hungry for dinner; hungry for answers. Can knowing a little food science help you cook a better meal? Definitely. Keep you healthier? Yes! Let you pull off a crazy cooking challenge? Absolutely!! I love looking at how science can improve our everyday lives, whether inside or outside of the kitchen.

Visit my website to learn more about my book, Cooking for Geeks.

Website: http://www.cookingforgeeks.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/cookingforgeeks

Product Description

About the Author

Jeff Potter has done the cubicle thing, the startup thing, and the entrepreneur thing, and through it all maintained his sanity by cooking for friends. He studied computer science and visual art at Brown University.


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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By JLangbridge on 16 Nov 2010
Format: Paperback
When you think about geeks, you rarely think about them cooking; most people instantly imagine them with pizzas or crisps, not in front of ovens. Jeff Potter, the author, explains why most geeks are shy of kitchens. Being a geek himself, he explains cooking in software development terms; compiling food, defining vegetable variables, overclocking the oven, and looking at recipes as source code. He explains everything with a sense of humour that is a joy to read. This book had me hooked right from the beginning, so when he started to talk about cooking with stuff that can kill you; liquid nitrogen ice cream or electrocuted hot dogs, I couldn't put this book down.

Jeff starts off the book with easy recipes, with the explanation that if you want to learn a programming language, you don't start off by writing an operating system. The same thing goes for cooking; start off small, learn to read a recipe and learn to change elements to suit your style. Source code isn't static; you can always change it to suit your style. Jeff takes you through it step by step, but he goes one step further. Geeks aren't just interested in following steps, they want to know, and need to know why. Why do you need to cook at a certain temperature? Why do you need to add an ingredient before another one? Cooking isn't just about blindly following recipes, its science!

Cooking for Geeks isn't a reference book. Whilst it does contain recipes throughout the book, it isn't a book that you will idly pick up to make a meal for friends. You will learn what sort of a cook you are, and help you focus on what you are good at. It will help you select kitchen hardware depending on who you are and on what you want to do. It will help you prepare and calibrate your tools, especially your oven.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Shazzer on 5 Sep 2010
Format: Paperback
Reminiscent of the "Good Eats" TV series, this book delves into the whys and wherefores of food and cooking rather than simply presenting instructions and a pretty picture (though there's a bit of that too). Armed with this knowledge, it's possible to then hack recipe "code" to suit your resources and tastes.
With geeky tips such as how to calibrate your oven with sugar and the Optimal Cake-Cutting Algorithm for N People, info on how much whipping will turn your cream to butter, and any amount of the science behind how foods react to the application of heat over time, this book really lives up to its name.
As for how good the recipes are: my fussy four year old declared the buttermilk pancakes the "most delicious things I've ever eaten" and asked for seconds and thirds.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is packed with fascinating information, I have been a keen cook for many years but even so have learned loads of useful stuff that I never knew. The only reasons why I'm not giving it five stars are that I find the writing style a little annoying and at times patronising, and also the format of the book just feels wrong - the pages are too wide, which I found made it a little awkward to read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Laughlyn on 12 Aug 2012
Format: Paperback
I found a pdf of this book by accident searching for Heston Blumenthal recipes i was after and i went on about it so much my gf ended up just buying me the hard copy version :)

For a start this isn't a recipe book, sure there are a few example recipes but the book is mainly there to explain the science of cooking, how to improve upon and make the best of the recipes you already have.

If you've ever watch any of Heston Blumenthals shows or have his 'At Home' book Heston Blumenthal at Home then this could be a kind of companion book to one of those, explaining in better detail why stuff does what it does, why meat which is 60c in the centre will be more tender than one cooked at a constant high heat for example.

This book is best suited for someone who loves cooking, they don't really have to be a geek to use it, just curious about how food works. I've been cooking for just over 25yrs now (since i was 5) and i love tinkering around with recipes and i've tried several of the techniques in here already (thanks to Blumenthal) and they do make a difference but having an in depth explanation of the science behind it allows you to expand on the recipe with other meat, veg, sauces ect.

A great present for anyone who loves cooking, with a bit of showing off.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By N. Reynolds on 24 Mar 2011
Format: Paperback
Content's decent. Skimps on the basics, but you can Google easily enough.

Condescending as hell, relates everything to programming - look past that, you're rewarded with good information.

Grr. Annoyingly useful.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Andrew on 26 Feb 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was supposed to be the geek. But my wife, who is an excellent cook, is constantly dipping into my book, finding unusual facts about food chemistry and history - as well as recipes. Inevitably, the contributors vary in the level of their contributors, but I guess there's something for everyone here.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By rin on 29 Sep 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
it's cooking, kitchen tools and more explained in a way an engineer/designer would like to understand what goes on when cooking, and what goes on when things don't work as they were supposed to. It gives you an insight on why things work out in a certain way when cooking and this way helps you realize when and how to use your tools, how certain reactions cook the food and how to get the results you are aiming for. It's not a cook book although some nice recipes are included to help visualize the theory.
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