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Keys to Good Cooking: A Guide to Making the Best of Foods and Recipes by [Mcgee, Harold]
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Keys to Good Cooking: A Guide to Making the Best of Foods and Recipes Kindle Edition

3.5 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Length: 578 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

Keys to Good Cooking, is a sort of prequel [to On Food and Cooking]: a primer in kitchen chemistry based on the principle that if you know why something happens, you might have more control over it... Even hopeless cooks will feel ahead of the curve, and are saved from condescension by McGee's calm, reassuring tone. (Guardian)

It's packed with information on subjects as diverse as how to choose the right flour, and how to cook quinces to perfection. One to make you go "ah-ha" (Delicious)

'All over America, serious cooks have often been heard to utter "TGFM", or its equivalent, 'Thank God for Harold McGee' (Vogue)

He has made the jump from mere author to timeless authority (Observer )

Review

'Keys to Good Cooking, is a sort of prequel [to On Food and Cooking]: a primer in kitchen chemistry based on the principle that if you know why something happens, you might have more control over it... Even hopeless cooks will feel ahead of the curve, and are saved from condescension by McGee's calm, reassuring tone.' -- Guardian 'It's packed with information on subjects as diverse as how to choose the right flour, and how to cook quinces to perfection. One to make you go "ah-ha"' -- Delicious 'All over America, serious cooks have often been heard to utter "TGFM", or its equivalent, 'Thank God for Harold McGee' -- Vogue 'He has made the jump from mere author to timeless authority' -- Observer

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1256 KB
  • Print Length: 578 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (9 Dec. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004JHY6XC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #351,656 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I found this book a disappointment, and after Dr McGee's previous seminal contributions, had expected much more. It consists of a series of 'hints' ranging from the quite useful to the banal "cold butter is too hard to spread" followed by the helpful suggestion that it should be warmed first. Similarly in a section on "Coffee and tea safety" (!)the reader is advised to "take first sips cautiously to make sure you don't take a mouthful of burning hot liquid".
I have huge respect for Dr McGee' previous books, which are truly outstanding, but this offering is not terribly useful, and was not particularly cheap. I felt as though I had had my pocket picked by a trusted and favourite uncle.
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Format: Hardcover
For once, I literally don't understand the negative reviews. It's as if they have read McGee's earlier works, wanted more of the same, and stopped reading once they found themselves thwarted. All their complaints are anticipated and answered by the author himself at the outset. This is not another exposition on the science of food - and quite honestly who needs one? - but a very practical and comprehensive guide on how to get the most out of recipes by applying relevant scientific knowledge. Even good recipes by your favourite food writer contain errors in thinking about food. This book aims to make you aware of the howlers repeated by even the best food writers, such as the oft-repeated claim that roasting meat over a liquid makes it more juicy - it does, but only on the surface. There is ample space for you to annotate the book as you apply the advice, making adjustments for your equipment and preferences. For, as the author implies, cooking from a recipe is not the same for each person doing it. Cookers and pans vary, as do interpretations of when a dish is "cooked", and what goes with what. Even more important, knowledge is incomplete and no writer has perfect command of even this incomplete knowlege. I rate this book as one of the most useful in my collection and will use it again and again. Potential buyers should be aware that the information aims to help the beginning cook as well as the more experienced. I find a few reminders useful and it is very easy to skip information not new to you. A couple of reviewers made dismissive comments about some of the health advice in this book. For example, to kill all the bacteria in a fresh sausage, it is recommended to poach the sausage to 60 C, hold it at that temperature for 30 minutes, and then quickly caramelise the skin.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Harold McGee is famous for writing the legendary book "On Food and Cooking", one of the best books on the subject ever written. This volume is completely different. It is not a book to settle down and enjoy reading, but is a collection of handy hints to delve into as you work in the kitchen. The layout is deliberately sparse so that you may write your own comments on the page, and the tips are pithy to the point of brevity. You might expect this book to distil the arcane practical wisdom of one of the masters, but most of the tips are really prosaic and quite obvious to anyone that has spent some time cooking. Most people will be able to find something rewarding in it though - for me the best advice was how to cook the perfect fried egg, which works a treat.
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Format: Hardcover
I pre ordered this as I loved my treasured "McGee on food and cooking" but I am afraid that this was no match. With the greatest respect, he teaches you how to suck eggs, not cook them.
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Format: Hardcover
The jury remains out on this book. If one had not read other examples of this author's work there might not be such a dilemma.

In many ways this is a really good book that has pulled a lot of useful information, hints, tips, suggestions, wrinkles and the like into one place. It is after all billed as a concise and authoritative guide designed to help home cooks navigate the ever-expanding universe of ingredients, recipes, food safety and appliances, arriving at the promised land of a satisfying dish. Yet if it was not written by Harold McGee then things would have been so much simpler. Why...?

McGee is a known, respected expert on the science of cooking and is held in the highest esteem by top-rate chefs and (without being disparaging) culinary madcaps such as Heston Blumenthal who try to push the envelope and migrate good food, innovative dishes and the science that sits behind them. So if you have thought that this is a distillation of much of McGee's knowledge you are in part wrong as you are getting his extensive take on "common sense" matters but not the more esoteric things that can make you go wow and huh? at the same time. Confused yet?

This book is, to be fair, written more for the average home cook, enthusiastic hobby chef and maybe newbie in the business. A comprehensive memory bank of things that you can possibly find elsewhere curated by a master. You are not getting the master's innermost secrets but neither are you getting the scrapings from his writing dustbin.
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