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Ideas in Food: Great Recipes and Why They Work Hardcover – 1 Apr 2011

3.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Clarkson Potter (1 April 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307717402
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307717405
  • Product Dimensions: 14.5 x 2.8 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 249,451 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Alex and Aki have done the hard work—this book will enlighten any cook with its insightful recipes and new perspectives on food. I will make sure to have a copy on hand at all of our restaurants."
--David Chang, chef-owner of Momofuku
"
"Ideas in Food" is filled not only with intriguing recipes but also enormous intelligence and thoughtfulness about the way food works and why, everything from the simple stuff, such as fruits and vegetables, to the bizarre, including ‘meat glue.’ Alex and Aki are serious players with food, and here they tell you all the cool stuff they've figured out. I love this book."
--Michael Ruhlman, author of "Ratio
"
"Alex and Aki have produced an essential reference book that belongs on the shelf of every fan of contemporary cooking.  By exploring the building blocks of flavor from the garden to the test kitchen, it opens a fascinating window on the past, present, and future of American cuisine."
--Michael Anthon

"Alex and Aki have done the hard work--this book will enlighten any cook with its insightful recipes and new perspectives on food. I will make sure to have a copy on hand at all of our restaurants."
--David Chang, chef-owner of Momofuku
"
"Ideas in Food" is filled not only with intriguing recipes but also enormous intelligence and thoughtfulness about the way food works and why, everything from the simple stuff, such as fruits and vegetables, to the bizarre, including 'meat glue.' Alex and Aki are serious players with food, and here they tell you all the cool stuff they've figured out. I love this book."
--Michael Ruhlman, author of "Ratio
"
"Alex and Aki have produced an essential reference book that belongs on the shelf of every fan of contemporary cooking. By exploring the building blocks of flavor from the garden to the test kitchen, it opens a fascinating window on the past, present, and future of American cuisine."
--Michael Anthony, executive chef of Gramercy Tavern
"I am so excited about Aki and Alex's book. I have been a fan for many years and am constantly inspired and educated by their work! I can't wait to cook my way though these pages and add these new techniques to my repertoire."
--Johnny Iuzzini, head judge of "Top Chef Just Desserts" and author of "Dessert FourPlay
"
"Alex and Aki's excitement and enthusiasm is contagious and it gives both professional and home cooks alike a kick start of creativity with the turn of every page."
--Chris Cosentino, chef-owner of Incanto
"Finally! A cookbook that puts it all into perspective. Aki and Alex blaze the culinary trail, looking under every rock they come across and sharing their insightful discoveries along the way. This is a book that will open the eyes of professional chefs and home cooks alike."
--Sean Brock, executive chef of McCrady's
"Alex and Aki have done a remarkable job of explaining many techniques and ingredients in the modern kitchen. I'm excited to see a book that makes this approach accessible to more people and that also includes delicious recipes."
--Wylie Dufresne, chef-owner of wd 50
"Aki and Alex share a mission--to change the way we think about both "what" we cook and "how" we cook. Delicious ideas leap from every page, easily put to immediate use in the kitchen. Painstakingly researched yet highly readable, "Ideas in Food" lays out the science behind cooking in a precise and personal way that we can all grasp!"
--Michael Laiskonis, executive pastry chef of Le Bernardin
"I have been a fan of Alex and Aki's website Ideas in Food for years and have always found it an incredible inspiration. It is fantastic that they have crafted an easy-to-read and informative book for everyone to enjoy."
--Grant Achatz, chef-owner of Alinea
"A fantastic glimpse into the minds of two of the most creative cooks in the country, "Ideas in Food" brings modern restaurant techniques and sensibilities into the home kitchen. A must for anyone interested in new ways of looking at food."
--Daniel Patterson, chef-owner of Coi
..".an everyday reference tool and a source of go-to recipes for anyone who spends a lot of time in the kitchen."
-- Publisher's Weekly
"The amazingly prolific hosts of one of the most fascinating food Web sites have finally gathered many of their most useful and ingenious ideas and recipes--ranging from brining a chicken and baking no-knead brioche bread to hypermodern creations such as yuzu meringue and encapsulated celery root--and put them between hard covers for our pleasure and edification." -- Vogue.com
"Illuminating...this book is bound to get many readers thinking of new possibilities in their kitchens."
-- Library Journal
"The brains and talent behind one of the very best food websites also are behind one of the very best new food books....""Ideas in Food"" is an entertaining, inspiring and enlightening book that will broaden your understanding about cooking and eating."
-- The Sacramento Bee

"Alex and Aki have done the hard work this book will enlighten any cook with its insightful recipes and new perspectives on food.I will make sure to have a copy on hand at all of our restaurants."
--David Chang, chef-owner of Momofuku
"
"Ideas in Food" is filled not only with intriguing recipes but also enormous intelligence and thoughtfulness about the way food works and why, everything from the simple stuff, such as fruits and vegetables, to the bizarre, including meat glue. Alex and Aki are serious players with food, and here they tell you all the cool stuff they've figured out. I love this book."
--Michael Ruhlman, author of "Ratio
"
"Alex and Aki have produced an essential reference book that belongs on the shelf of every fan of contemporary cooking. By exploring the building blocks of flavor from the garden to the test kitchen, it opens a fascinating window on the past, present, and future of American cuisine."
--Michael Anthony, executive chef of Gramercy Tavern
"I am so excited about Aki and Alex s book. I have been a fan for many years and am constantly inspired and educated by their work! I can t wait to cook my way though these pages and add these new techniques to my repertoire."
--Johnny Iuzzini, head judge of "Top Chef Just Desserts" and author of "Dessert FourPlay
"
"Alex and Aki's excitement and enthusiasm is contagious and it gives both professional and home cooks alike a kick start of creativity with the turn of every page."
--Chris Cosentino, chef-owner of Incanto
"Finally! A cookbook that puts it all into perspective. Aki and Alex blaze the culinary trail, looking under every rock they come across and sharing their insightful discoveries along the way. This is a book that will open the eyes of professional chefs and home cooks alike."
--Sean Brock, executive chef of McCrady s
"Alex and Aki have done a remarkable job of explaining many techniques and ingredients in the modern kitchen. I m excited to see a book that makes this approach accessible to more people and that also includes delicious recipes."
--Wylie Dufresne, chef-owner of wd 50
"Aki and Alex share a mission to change the way we think about both "what" we cook and "how" we cook. Delicious ideas leap from every page, easily put to immediate use in the kitchen. Painstakingly researched yet highly readable, "Ideas in Food" lays out the science behind cooking in a precise and personal way that we can all grasp!"
--Michael Laiskonis, executive pastry chef of Le Bernardin
"I have been a fan of Alex and Aki's website Ideas in Food for years and have always found it an incredible inspiration. It is fantastic that they have crafted an easy-to-read and informative book for everyone to enjoy."
--Grant Achatz, chef-owner of Alinea
"A fantastic glimpse into the minds of two of the most creative cooks in the country, "Ideas in Food" brings modern restaurant techniques and sensibilities into the home kitchen. A must for anyone interested in new ways of looking at food."
--Daniel Patterson, chef-owner of Coi
..".an everyday reference tool and a source of go-to recipes for anyone who spends a lot of time in the kitchen."
-- Publisher's Weekly
"The amazingly prolific hosts of one of the most fascinating food Web sites have finally gathered many of their most useful and ingenious ideas and recipes ranging from brining a chicken and baking no-knead brioche bread to hypermodern creations such as yuzu meringue and encapsulated celery root and put them between hard covers for our pleasure and edification." -- Vogue.com
"Illuminating...this book is bound to get many readers thinking of new possibilities in their kitchens."
-- Library Journal
"The brains and talent behind one of the very best food websites also are behind one of the very best new food books....""Ideas in Food"" is an entertaining, inspiring and enlightening book that will broaden your understanding about cooking and eating."
-- The Sacramento Bee"

About the Author

AKI KAMOZAWA and H. ALEXANDER TALBOT met in the kitchen at Clio in Boston in 1997 and have been cooking together ever since. They own Ideas in Food, a consulting business based in Levittown, Pennsylvania, and have worked with individual chefs as well as with companies such as No. 9 Group in Boston, Fourth Wall Restaurants in New York City, Frito Lay, and Unilever. Their company grew out of their "Ideas in Food" blog, which they started in 2004. Together they wrote an online column called Kitchen Alchemy for "Popular Science." Visit them at www.ideasinfood.com"


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Format: Hardcover
If a book's worth can be measured by the number of dog-eared pages, then Ideas in Food: Great Recipes and Why They Work could turn around the international financial crisis. In fact, my copy has so many turned page corners that I'm expecting a `Cease and Desist" order to arrive at my home any day now. Well over 75 pages are marked as requiring my re-reading and note taking. And lest you think I'm a chronic book destroyer, a quick scan of my most favorite and used books show less than ten dog-eared pages in any one book. This is one worthy book for anyone who cares about the inner workings of their food or for anyone who wants someone to do the homework for them so they can simply follow instructions and put out great dishes.

Aki Kamozawa and H. Alex Talbot are the pragmatic culinary uber duo from Ideasin Food.com and the Kitchen Alchemy column of Popular Science magazine. Their kitchen pedigree includes Clio in Boston and a slew of smaller kitchens and consultancies. In the modernist cyber kitchens, Alex and Aki are royalty.

The much anticipated Ideas in Food comes in at 320 pages with zero pictures, sketches, drawings or even graphical imagery. That's right! This book, the sister of the blog, as know for its rich stimulating photography as its cutting edge techniques, has left the artistic creativity to the reader's imagination. Instead, it hones in on the science of creating great food. And Aki and Alex bring the reader this science in such a friendly way that even the most science phobic among us will be able to understand why eggs cook the way they do.

But with Harold McGee and Hervé This books and the countless food blogs (paramount among them: CookingIssues.com) that examine food science, where does Ideas in Food fit in?
Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
useful and worth getting, if one is interested in knowing what goes on beyond the scenes in contemporary restaurants. this book is divided into sections: one for home-cooks and one for professionals. the information (technical and scientific) is sometimes daunting, but it is necessary, I guess.
I started reading their blog and then I bough the book. I would not say this is a MUST have book (a more home-cook friendly book is How to Read a French Fri) but one does get a lot of good info about the how/why of food.
some recipes are not terribly inviting, especially from a European point of view (as with many American cookery books one would occasionally like to say to the authors: less is more). there is a Japanese slant/twist to the whole book, that is not particularly inviting for me, but this is a matter of taste.
I would suggest: first read the blog, then check the book out in your library and get the feel of it. then buy it.
all in all: these guys know what they r doing and do it pretty well. I am glad I bought it. did it throw an amazing new light onto my cooking and knoledge? no. Did I get more than a couple of useful tips and hows? definetely.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I follw their blog, very interesting and inventive. They gimme lots of inspirations. Anyway, back to the book, this book will give you an information why and how things work in that way especially in molecular gastronomy world. Easy to read , didn't have full on information that put you off.
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Great book!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars 44 reviews
58 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply amazing! Very inspiring! 7 Jan. 2011
By Ethan U - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Even though my expectations for this book were extremely high, I can honestly say it's leagues better than I could have imagined. For anyone with even basic cooking technique, from home cook to professional, there truly is enough to reinvigorate and elevate your creativity in the kitchen for a long time.

The book is organized broadly into two parts, firstly for the home cook and lastly professionals. The techniques in the second part are not necessarily more difficult, but simply address newer food products and applications such as "meat glue", liquid nitrogen and carbon dioxide which most home cooks would not likely have on hand. However, Aki and Alex make them so familiar and understandable in their explanations that I'm left to believe that some will be as common to us as baking powder and gelatin someday.

The home cook section covers such topics as how to perfectly cook eggs, make no knead bread, fresh pasta, pickling and preserving, making vinegar from scratch, fruits and vegetables, ice cream, making fresh cheeses and a ton more! What I liked most is that unlike most cookbooks which just give you the "how to", Aki and Alex explain in simple detail why each step is taken in the recipe so these topics are truly demystified once and for all and you are left feeling like you've grown to be a more confident cook and not just followed someone's instructions.

I've only had the book a few days and I've already "cryo-blanched" some Kale to great effect (this is simply using a foodsaver vacuum sealer to vacuum seal raw kale leaves, freeze them and rethaw them so the process tenderizes the vegetable without cooking and destroying the nutrients.) I couldn't believe how easy it was.

Another great technique is their explanation of "pre-hydrating starches", which again in practice is simply soaking rice or pasta for a few hours in cold water (or any other flavored liquid!), draining it then cooking normally but in less time. When this is done the starch cooks quicker, and allows for the addition of extra flavor via the soaking liquid, really cool!

I have read my fair share of cookbooks and in terms of value for your investment I can't imagine a better pick than this book. There is so much knowledge, explained with such finesse and enthusiasm, this is definitely a rare find. I thank the authors for their contribution and hope they keep the ideas coming! :)
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A miniature Modernist Cuisine 21 Feb. 2011
By Robert E. Connoley - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If a book's worth can be measured by the number of dog-eared pages, then Ideas in Food: Great Recipes and Why They Work could turn around the international financial crisis. In fact, my copy has so many turned page corners that I'm expecting a `Cease and Desist" order to arrive at my home any day now. Well over 75 pages are marked as requiring my re-reading and note taking. And lest you think I'm a chronic book destroyer, a quick scan of my most favorite and used books show less than ten dog-eared pages in any one book. This is one worthy book for anyone who cares about the inner workings of their food or for anyone who wants someone to do the homework for them so they can simply follow instructions and put out great dishes.

Aki Kamozawa and H. Alex Talbot are the pragmatic culinary uber duo from Ideasin Food.com and the Kitchen Alchemy column of Popular Science magazine. Their kitchen pedigree includes Clio in Boston and a slew of smaller kitchens and consultancies. In the modernist cyber kitchens, Alex and Aki are royalty.

The much anticipated Ideas in Food comes in at 320 pages with zero pictures, sketches, drawings or even graphical imagery. That's right! This book, the sister of the blog, as know for its rich stimulating photography as its cutting edge techniques, has left the artistic creativity to the reader's imagination. Instead, it hones in on the science of creating great food. And Aki and Alex bring the reader this science in such a friendly way that even the most science phobic among us will be able to understand why eggs cook the way they do.

But with Harold McGee and Hervé This books and the countless food blogs (paramount among them: CookingIssues.com) that examine food science, where does Ideas in Food fit in? Having read pretty much every food science offering, I can say that this is the densest and most accessible of them all. McGee and This offer more lab sterile approaches to food science where their findings are undisputed and readily disseminated. You can't go wrong with either. CookingIssues is more experimental and up-to-the-minute, but at the whim of its authors' fancies. Ideas in Food starts with the basic principles but quickly races down roads guided by their own creativity. What good is it to learn the best way of making pasta if you don't do anything interesting with it? Where McGee and This's lecture circuit is the classroom, Kamozawa and Talbot's is in the kitchen.

The book is divided into two sections: Ideas for Everyone and Ideas for Professionals. The Ideas for Everyone section includes seasoning and preserving, bread, pasta, gnocchi and risotto, eggs, dairy, fruits and vegetables, and meat and seafood. The Ideas for Professionals section includes hydrocolloids, transglutaminase, liquid nitrogen and carbon dioxide. Possibly because I work with the professional additives that they cover, I did not find the professional section overly useful (with the exception of carbon dioxide which rarely gets coverage) with the exception that it provides a succinct summary of the various hydrocolloids. However, the Everyone section was ripe with new and refined ideas.

With no fuss, Aki and Alex throw out tip after tip. For example, they state that in frying "We use rice bran oil for frying because it has a high smoke point and a clean, neutral flavor, which means that fried foods tend to cook evenly without burning or absorbing any heavy flavors from the oil." After reading this I switched my restaurant's oil over to rice bran oil and we haven't looked back. Really, rather amazing stuff - how did I not get the memo on this earlier!? And transfat free!

In regards to brining, "We don't generally wash fish and seafood; instead we soak them in a 5 percent salt solution for ten minutes. This soak coagulates exterior proteins, firms the flesh, and extends the shelf life of the fish." When considering the best way to have pasta cook quickly, "The answer was a cold-water soak. This technique almost completely separates the hydration and cooking processes. We know that starch needs water to cook properly. A cold-water soak, at a 4:1 ratio of water to pasta, allows the starch to slowly absorb the water that it needs to gelatinize." Page after page of tips and techniques that are not esoteric, but down-to-earth useful.

Ideas in Food also offers 100 recipes ranging from scrambled eggs to root beer braised short ribs. Nothing crazy and fancy, just food that you're likely to attempt at home. And while the authors may mention the use of the expensive professional gadgetry in the introduction to the recipes, none is required to attempt the recipes in a home kitchen.

Ideas in Food: Great Recipes and Why They Work is a worthwhile book for your library. It is said that humans only use 10% of our brains, and if you only use 10% of this book, your meals will still be richer for it.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful and easily accessible approach to cooking 22 April 2011
By gfweb - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is the logical outgrowth of the "scientific" approach to cooking that is most associated with Harold McGhee and perhaps Alton Brown. It is more cooking/recipe focused than McGhee and a modestly motivated reader will come away with a changed approach to traditional dishes. Many of the recipes are simple eg pickled vegetables, but at the same time illuminating. There are sections designed to appeal to professional cooks but these aren't inaccessible to the rest of us and provide more advanced techniques that could easily fit into a home kitchen.

Recently Nathan Myrvold's monumental/titanic 6 volume Modernist Cuisine has gotten deserved attention. Clearly a great book, but Ideas in Food covers much of the same turf and at 1/40th the price.

Ideas in Food is not a replacement for The Joy of Cooking. It is a book to read, appreciate and grow into a better cook in the process.
18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing resource 29 Dec. 2010
By Joe - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
On one the best food books of 2010. A really great resource for home cooks as well as professionals. Working in a professional kitchen I found their entire book to be incredibly useful. Also bought the digital edition to always have at my disposal. A must buy for anyone who loves food and learning.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Science and sous vide cooking 20 Feb. 2011
By Lynn Harnett - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Divided into two sections, "Ideas for Everyone" (most of the book) and "Ideas for Professionals" this is a book for cooks who like to spend time in the kitchen and enjoy curling up with a cookbook in their off hours.

The husband-and-wife team discuss ingredients and how to use them in chapters including Seasoning and Preserving; Bread; Pasta, Gnocchi and Risotto; Eggs; Dairy, Fruits and Vegetables; and Meat and Seafood. The "professionals" section features Hydrocolloids, Transglutamase, Liquid Nitrogen and Carbon Dioxide.

The authors are big on sous vide - vacuum bag cooking - though they always offer alternative methods - generally using freezer bags or pressure cookers. They claim that the FDA does not allow any leaching plastics in food-grade plastic wrap or bags. Enthusiastic and willing to experiment, they might even convince you to invest in a FoodSaver. They also espouse cryo-blanching (freezing) for vegetables.

They explain why and how no-knead bread works, how to cook the perfect egg, make perfect mashed potatoes and risotto (twice cooking), and braise and roast meat. There are recipes for Preserved Lemons, Potato Chip Pasta, Crispy Chocolate Mousse, Parsnip Ice Cream, Homemade Ricotta and Yogurt and vinegars and pickles of all kinds.

A different sort of cookbook, this will appeal to those who cook for fun, enjoy the science and are willing to try new methods and ingredients.
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