McGee on Food and Cooking: An Encyclopedia of Kitchen Science, History and Culture Hardcover – 8 Nov 2004
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It answers every culinary question. . . This is the definitive, heavyweight reference book for the keen cook. (Spectator)
There has been no book like this since Alan Davidson's Oxford Companion to Food, and there a few books so comprehensive, perspicuous or gracefully written on any subject. It is no exaggeration to call it a masterpiece. (Paul Levy, TLS)
Dazzling informative. . . . McGee is the father of modern food science and by far the most enjoyable writer to read on the subject. (Bee Wilson, Sunday Telegraph)
if you have to buy a present for someone really obsessed with cooking the outstanding choice is a work that is not new and does not contain a single recipe. McGee on Food and Cookery is an expanded version of Harold McGee's classic exploration of science in the kitchen. Not only does he explain how every culinary reaction works, he also explores the history of everything we eat... For the price of a meal, you'll get a lifetime's nutrition. (Christopher Hirst, Independent)
He has made the jump from mere author to timeless authority ... the book is quite remarkable in its depth, breadth and clarity. (Observer)
Everything you've ever wanted to know about the science, history and culture of food and cooking, in one encyclopaedic, 896-page reference bookSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
And so it is turning out. It's great fun to dive in at random, and just read all about the topic at that point. I guarantee there will be numerous things you never knew, and some things that you did know, explained in more detail than you would have thought possible. Initially, some of this level of detail might seem unnecessary, but when taken in the context of the whole section it all makes perfect sense, and enhances the overall understanding of the subject.
The art of beating eggwhites, for example, is described in minute detail, covering the various stages that the beaten whites pass through, together with a scientific explanation of why this happens (and why the same process does not work for egg yolks). Having the scientific background knowledge helps you understand just why things can go wrong, and hopefully avoid those problems in the future.
Incidentally, for anyone who may have purchased Heston Blumenthal's book "Family Food", it is clear that Mr Blumenthal has been strongly influenced by McGee's book. The section on the effects of temperature on meat proteins is fascinating, and is very closely paralleled in Blumenthal's devotion to low-temperature meat cooking. The two books certainly complement each other very well indeed, and would make an ideal joint-purchase.Read more ›
Every concievable topic is covered in detail; from the manufacture of soy sauce, to descriptions of the aromatic compounds in different herbs and spices. Why does fish smell fishy, and exactly what happens to meat when it's browned?
This is an almost overwhelming resource, and a must for anyone eager to develop their culinary understanding beyond the basic information found in most recipe books. I have been better able to control the food that I cook with a fraction of the information found within this amazing read.
An absolute must.
In a nutshell:
If you read this book, you will be able to get the most out of every ingredient and piece of equipment in your kitchen. There will be a hundred "AH! THAT'S where I've been going wrong!" moments and countless times when answers you have searched for all your culinary life (Like "How can I get my cheesecakes not to crack??") will suddenly shine from the pages.
Also a brilliant gift for any foodie!
McGee settles it. Ask McGee. He WILL have the answer, and then a whole lot more. I mean it people, this book could save your marriage. In point of fact, if your going to get stranded on a desert island, take this along, IT COULD SAVE YOUR LIFE!
Everything you or anyone else will ever ask yourself about food. And then enough to keep you entertained (never mind well fed) for 10 years on a desert island.
Mr. McGEE I hope you read this one day, you are a great man, I salute you.
I'm also slightly toasted on Mulberry Gin, so forgive my grammar!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Came in good condition, though oddly enough there were some sunflower seeds smooshed between the back cover / last pages. They cleaned out perfectly fine though. Read morePublished 25 days ago by Izzy
Amazing detail. Large unwieldy book but really is encyclopaedic..Published 1 month ago by Penny Hyatt
Great book although it came with the price sticker of £7.50 on it when I bought it for £21! At least peel the sticker off before sending it...Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
superb reference book - like a professional resource for son who is keen to learn all about cookingPublished 5 months ago by Warwickshire Wife
If there ever was something you wanted to know about the processes involved în cooking, this book probably has the answer. It is not a recipe book. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Andrei I
The techniques and discussions on cooking processes are explained simply, in an easy, understandable way.Published 6 months ago by Anuradha Bhatt
This book is worth it for the section on eggs alone. There's a lot of helpful science and I refer back to it from time to time.Published 6 months ago by Mr Graham Pilmoor
a fantastic dictionary for just about anything you wanted to know about food and cooking, can't believe the in-depth and detail about all the subjects!Published 7 months ago by sir Percy phillips