The Science of Good Cooking: Master 50 Simple Concepts to Enjoy a Lifetime of Success in the Kitchen (Cook's Illustrated Cookbooks) Hardcover – 1 Oct 2012
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About the Author
This book has been tested, written, and edited by the test cooks, editors, food scientists, tasters, and cookware specialists at America s Test Kitchen, a 2,500-square-foot kitchen located just outside Boston. It is the home ofCook s Illustratedmagazine andCook s Countrymagazine, the public television cooking showsAmerica s Test KitchenandCook s Country from America s Test Kitchen, America s Test Kitchen Radio, and the online America s Test Kitchen Cooking School."
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Top Customer Reviews
Each of the fifty concepts is a few pages of sciencey writing with the kind of diagrams I could never parse in high-school chemistry, followed by a bunch of related recipes (there are about 400 in the book), mixed with various test kitchen experiments, and lots of "Practical Science" sidebars. I actually found the latter to be the most interesting (and digestible) parts of the book, but a chacun son goût. Consider the following random sentence from Concept 31: "Onions glean their intense flavor and acrid odor from sulfur-containing substances similar to allicin, called thiosulfinates, which are created when the same enzyme allinase interacts with an odorless sulfur-containing amino acid, similar to the one in garlic, released when the onion's cell's are ruptured." That's all well and good, but too technical for me.Read more ›
This book is the perfect remedy to these problems: you can look up how to do things, which they have carefully proven by exhaustive experiment, and written down in a succinct way, with plenty of scientific detail if you are so inclined.
You can look up almost anything and get practical advice on how to do it better. The index is excellent, the table of contents broken down by method - so techniques are easy to find.
For example, I only recently began to cook steak (my wife doesn't like it, but now the kids want it). No matter what I did, it almost always turned out too tough, unless I bought a very expensive cut. So I looked up a method in this book: marinate in oil and salt, then heat it gently first in the oven, before pan frying it at high heat (i.e. you first warm the interior so that you can quickly sear both sides for flavor in the pan without reducing the temperature of the pan when you flip it). They discuss all other methods, such as pure pan frying and explain why slow heating works best. It works every single time. The same goes for beans, chickens, and veggies: there are simple things you can do to vastly improve the taste. Indeed, I am learning what I have been doing slightly wrong for the last 25 years of cooking! It is a revelation.
That being said, there are some things the book is not. First, it is not about nutrition, which doesn't appear in the index.Read more ›
Each section also offers up recipes that utilize the target concept, along with a sidebar on "why this recipe works" that serves to reinforce the previously studied concept.
This is indispensable for advanced home bakers; their discussions on starches in pudding and pastry cream, stabilizing whipped egg whites (meringues, mousse), lamination, fraisage, fermentation, tempering and blooming is worth the price of the book alone.
My only nitpick is that some of the font on sidebars (like the one on egg safety on page 173) is written in miniscule font that I had difficulty reading.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Interesting insight into the art of cooking. Delivered as promised.Published 8 months ago by r dixon
Helful to understand 3 things: right cooking times; right cooking temperatures; right salt concentrations in brining different meats. Read morePublished 24 months ago by Nuno Canha
So many questions I never asked, nor thought of asking, are answered in this book. Not too science-heavy for non-physics types.Published on 27 Nov. 2013 by NinjaBIlby
A Very interesting book, there are some tasty recipies which are described well. I am looking forward to trying more outPublished on 5 Sept. 2013 by Shirl