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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For all those adults who still ask why?
I love it when all those dry science facts can be linked together to explain things we see around us. This book is full of those experiences. The science is well explained and there are panels with more complicated explanations for those with more than a basic knowledge. The book has inspired me to experiment with the various methods of cooking - just finished baking a...
Published on 18 Feb. 2001 by Ms. Phoebe Bright

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37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, but ...
I enjoyed reading this book, especially the chapter about chocolate (which I must re-read some time soon), BUT overall it was a bit like nouvelle cuisine: looks good, tastes good, but ultimately not entirely satisfying. It was more like a starter than a main course and because it is a hardback I do not consider it particularly good value for money (as a paperback at half...
Published on 1 Aug. 2006 by food4thought


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37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, but ..., 1 Aug. 2006
By 
food4thought (Hampshire, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Science of Cooking (Hardcover)
I enjoyed reading this book, especially the chapter about chocolate (which I must re-read some time soon), BUT overall it was a bit like nouvelle cuisine: looks good, tastes good, but ultimately not entirely satisfying. It was more like a starter than a main course and because it is a hardback I do not consider it particularly good value for money (as a paperback at half the price it would be an excellent buy).

I was surprised by some omissions - for example there's nothing about the process of caramelisation, which is central to many sweet and savoury dishes. Also, it gets a bit too autobiographical for my taste - especially things like the lutefisk incident which used up several of its all-too-few pages.

If you're only going to buy one book on the science of food, it might be better to go for a more comprehensive tome but if you're assembling a collection of such books, this one should definitely be included.
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For all those adults who still ask why?, 18 Feb. 2001
This review is from: The Science of Cooking (Hardcover)
I love it when all those dry science facts can be linked together to explain things we see around us. This book is full of those experiences. The science is well explained and there are panels with more complicated explanations for those with more than a basic knowledge. The book has inspired me to experiment with the various methods of cooking - just finished baking a sponge so I could try the idea of dropping the cake when you take it out of the oven to stop it sinking!
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60 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb book, 31 Oct. 2001
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This review is from: The Science of Cooking (Hardcover)
This book is wonderful in two respects. First, it explains interesting science clearly and with examples that make sense. Second, it explains what happens when we cook. It contains more tips on producing tasty food than many cookbooks I've read. It also makes clear why many claims about cooking are just myths. Essential reading.
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great for scientists or cooks, 27 Jan. 2003
By 
Mr. A. Laing - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Science of Cooking (Hardcover)
This book explains clearly the fundamental processes that go on when cooking basic dishes. For example: bread, pastry, or meat. It enables you to use the scientific principles described to improve and understand your cooking. A fascinating read, and understandable even if you're not a graduate scientist.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars P. Barham's The Science of Cooking, 28 Oct. 2008
This review is from: The Science of Cooking (Hardcover)
Having been lectured by the author in Physics at the University of Bristol it was interesting to read a book that continued to portray his enthusiasm for science. A thoroughly useful book that has definately improved my understanding of cooking, would have liked a bit more physics, and as I know he posseses great explanatory skills to illuminate topics that would appear otherwise unfathomable to the non-physicist, I feel this may be it's only low. However this book is certainly accesible to all and has some good basic recipes to illustrate the scientific principles covered.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Some detail missing perhaps..., 28 Dec. 2004
By 
Neil Attrell "Neil Attrell" (Holloway, London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Science of Cooking (Hardcover)
In common with all the other reviewers, I found this book to be a revelation. My mother's rules-of-thumb, passed down, are now given a scientific basis, or a better alternative is offered.
Although this book has changed many of my cooking practices, I would offer one caveat: if you are seeking specific information when designing new recipes you may find this book lacking. In particular, the index has no entries for either salt or alcohol; the latter rarely needed, admittedly, but the former absolutely basic.
These niggles aside, I can thoroughly recommend this book to all but the most pedantic (probably including myself!).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Book got basic physics wrong!, 4 Feb. 2015
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This review is from: The Science of Cooking (Hardcover)
I stopped reading immediately after reading the passage below. It is quoted from the book, at the beginning of chapter 4 on heat.

"Suppose you put two different objects both at the same temperature, perhaps 20°C (for example, a piece of metal and a bowl of water at room temperature) in an oven at a fixed temperature say 50°C. Heat from the oven will flow into both objects and they will both heat up. But the rates at which they heat up will not be the same. The amount of heat that must flow into each object to raise its temperature from 20°C to 50°C will differ for different objects.
Scientists define the "specific heat" of a substance as the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of 1kg of the substance by 1°C. Metals tend to have much higher specific heats than water. So in the example above, the piece of metal would need to absorb more heat than the bowl of water (assuming they each had the same weight). In practice, the metal would take longer to heat up to the temperature of the oven"

This is completely opposite the reality. This is a complete misunderstanding that cannot be contributed by a typo. The knowledge that water can hold more heat than metals is basic high school physics. This is so basic that I cannot trust anything from this book, so I will probably throw it away.

To backup my argument, here are the values for specific heat capacity of some metals and water from WolframAlpha:
aluminum: 904 J/(kg K)
copper: 384.4 J/(kg K)
iron: 449 J/(kg K)
water: 4180 J/(kg K)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book about cooking I've ever read, 26 May 2008
By 
Tomasz Wegrzanowski (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Science of Cooking (Hardcover)
This book is a rare gem - instead of just providing a list of recipes like most books about cooking do, it gives you detailed descriptions of how various methods of food preparation work.

The book presents both scientific theory behind the techniques and practical instructions on how to use it in everyday cooking.

Definitely a must have for everybody seriously interested in good food.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Food from a physycist, 10 Nov. 2006
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This review is from: The Science of Cooking (Hardcover)
The contents of the book are fascinating, and Peter enlivens thing with his personal narrative on occasion. Unfortunately his style is a little dry but the amount of information packed into this book is well worth the effoprt involved in reading it. Peter is a superb lecturer and if you get the chance go to one of his food science days run occasionally at Bristol University. Not only will Peter make ice cream using liquid nitrogen (beating Heston Blumenthal by many years) but will also freeze and shatter his tie for the amusement of his audience. Then you get to eat the practical.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars science of cooking, 28 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: The Science of Cooking (Hardcover)
Excellent book that describes cooking in a really informative manner. Really lets you know why you should do certain things in the kitchen. However DO NOT TRY AND BUY THIS BOOK FROM MONTEIL BOOKS. THEY 'LOST IT IN THE POST' and they did not replace it as they 'had no more in stock' and they also did not refund me my money. Buy it from someone else.
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The Science of Cooking
The Science of Cooking by Peter Barham (Hardcover - 4 Oct. 2000)
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