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Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks, and Good Food [Paperback]

Jeff Potter
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 43.99
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Book Description

Aug. 12 2010

Are you the innovative type, the cook who marches to a different drummer -- used to expressing your creativity instead of just following recipes? Are you interested in the science behind what happens to food while it's cooking? Do you want to learn what makes a recipe work so you can improvise and create your own unique dish?

More than just a cookbook, Cooking for Geeks applies your curiosity to discovery, inspiration, and invention in the kitchen. Why is medium-rare steak so popular? Why do we bake some things at 350° F/175° C and others at 375° F/190° C? And how quickly does a pizza cook if we overclock an oven to 1,000° F/540° C? Author and cooking geek Jeff Potter provides the answers and offers a unique take on recipes -- from the sweet (a "mean" chocolate chip cookie) to the savory (duck confit sugo).

This book is an excellent and intriguing resource for anyone who wants to experiment with cooking, even if you don't consider yourself a geek.

  • Initialize your kitchen and calibrate your tools
  • Learn about the important reactions in cooking, such as protein denaturation, Maillard reactions, and caramelization, and how they impact the foods we cook
  • Play with your food using hydrocolloids and sous vide cooking
  • Gain firsthand insights from interviews with researchers, food scientists, knife experts, chefs, writers, and more, including author Harold McGee, TV personality Adam Savage, chemist Herv&eacute This, and xkcd

"My own session with the book made me feel a lot more confident in my cooking."

--Monica Racic,The New Yorker

"I LOVE this book. It's inspiring, invigorating, and damned fun to spend time inside the mind of 'big picture' cooking. I'm Hungry!"

--Adam Savage, co-host of Discovery Channel's MythBusters

"In his enchanting, funny, and informative book, Cooking for Geeks (O'Reilly), Jeff Potter tells us why things work in the kitchen and why they don't."

-- Barbara Hanson, NewYork Daily News

Frequently Bought Together

Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks, and Good Food + The Science Of Good Cooking + On Food and Cooking
Price For All Three: CDN$ 79.55

Some of these items ship sooner than the others.

  • The Science Of Good Cooking CDN$ 27.55
  • On Food and Cooking CDN$ 28.84

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Product Details

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.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great cookbook! Feb. 11 2011
By Jessica Strider TOP 500 REVIEWER
Pros: a lot of extremely detailed information about cooking methods, equipment, reactions, etc., interviews with people who cook creatively

Cons: not many recipes, some information is well beyond what most cooks will use/need

This is an interesting cookbook. I would consider the first 5 chapters worth reading if you plan to do any cooking and want a better understanding of what's happening or if you like experimenting.

If you REALLY like experimenting the last 2 chapters will be perfect for you. If you don't feel like buying lots of chemicals to try new (and not necessarily edible) things, they're not as

The cookbook was written specifically for computer geeks who are afraid of doing things in a kitchen. The opening chapter has a lot of references to thinking of cooking techniques with regards to computing. If you don't know computer programming, you might consider this chapter skippable, but you'd miss out on some hidden gems of information, like the difference between all purpose and baking flour (gluten content).

Chapter 2 is an overview of cookware, a chapter I'd normally not find interesting. Here again, there were interesting tid bits of information, like what to look for in knives, how they get teflon to stick to the pan, and a tasty 1-2-3 crepe recipe.

Chapter 3 is where the experiments start. This is not so much a recipe book as it is an experimentation guide. Mr. Potter explains the theory behind something and then gives you a recipe with which to test that theory out. Often there are two recipes to compare and contrast. It's here I found the watermelon feta salad recipe, as an example of how you experience taste. I tried it, and it was very surprising.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating look at why recipes work Jan. 7 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Got this book for my 19 year old foodie-daughter. She makes the most amazing dishes, but follows recipes to a tee - afraid to deviate. Now she understands why certain ingredients are required, and how cooking temperature affects the dish.

The perfect book to help less experienced cooks get more experimental.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Understanding food for better cooking Nov. 3 2011
By ab
This book's message is that anybody can learn to cook, and the best way to start is with knowledge and experimentation. While you have to experiment on your own (the book gives some suggestions), it tries to fill in the knowledge.

My cooking history has been to learn a recipe here, another there, maybe get some tidbits of understanding by asking more experienced cooks. This book was my first systematic introduction to the kitchen, food, and the techniques available to a cook. It has been extremely influential. While more advanced cooks will probably know much of the information, I think most people at the inexperienced to intermediate level can gain tremendously by reading this book, geek or not. And yes, his geekery is unfeigned (which was surprising to me). I wholeheartedly recommend it to anybody who is ready to become a more versatile, creative, and competent cook.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun! Jan. 9 2011
By C. Jean
I bought this for my boyfriend who doesn't cool, and is computer geek. This book spoke his language and made cooking easier for him to understand!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative and Entertaining! May 12 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Bought this book as a Christmas gift for my boyfriend, who is a scientist and therefore has a very analytical mind. We haven't tried any of the recipes yet, but have started to use some of the tips for techniques in the kitchen (my favourite so far is roasting red peppers in the toaster). You don't have to be a science geek to enjoy and benefit from this cookbook, you just have to like to cook and be a little bit curious about how things work in the kitchen. There are fun little tidbits throughout and even if you're not totally interested in learning the science of cooking, it's a good read and the recipes are simple to understand.
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