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

4.6 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews

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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: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 161,418 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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.


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There's a lot of good technical information in there but it takes a lot of finding. Lots of repetitions, lots of interviews with people answering the same questions over and over. If you like a good read, it's for you, if you want to quickly find technical answers to cooking questions, there are better publications.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Absoultely fantastic book as a primer into the world of kitchen science also ideal for sciencey people who need to get into the kitchen more and learn the life skill that is cooking. I've bought 2 of these for gifts and have the e-book on my Kindle.

Whilst there are classic books like McGee on Food and Cooking which is all about the science of ingredients and cooking and the £375 Modernist Cuisine which also throws in history, hygine and recipies into the mix this book covers a lot for quite a lot of the same material quickly as well as giving some rather fun ideas to have some science fun in the kitchen.

As well as giving the answers the book also encourages you to experience the results for yourseld by doing experiments and adjust the levels of ingredients of various recipies so you can create your own perfect mix.
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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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