Cookwise Hardcover – Sep 3 1997
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Is it safe to let a biochemist into your kitchen? If it's Shirley Corriher, extend an open invitation. Her long-awaited book, Cookwise, is a unique combination of basic cooking know-how, excellent recipes--from apple pie to beurre blanc--and reference source. She makes the science of cooking entirely comprehensible, then livens it up with stories, such as when her first roast duck blew up because she overstuffed it and the fat from the bird caused it to expand beyond capacity. Food companies pay Corriher fancy fees to troubleshoot their recipes, and Cookwise puts her encyclopedic knowledge ever at your fingertips. If you want to know how to make the flakiest pastry, best-textured breads, delicious fruit desserts from fruit that's not fully ripe, impeccable sauces, and attractively bright cooked vegetables, this book contains the answers. "What this recipe shows" tells you up front what's useful in each of the book's 230-plus recipes. "At-a-glance," "What to do," and "Why" help you learn or troubleshoot in minutes. If eight steps to a perfect Juicy Roast Chicken are daunting, think of the delight of Rich Cappuccino Ice Cream in three steps or the seductive Secret Marquise in five.
From Library Journal
Corriher is a well-known culinary consultant and problem solver whose answers to kitchen mysteries have appeared in many food publications. Now she has set down some of her vast knowledge in this big, wide-ranging reference/cookbook. In seven basic chapters, from The Wonder of Risen Bread to Sweet Thoughts and Chocolate Dreams, she explains why recipes work, what to do when they don't, and how to make them even better (anyone who's ever wondered why the same cake recipe always tastes better when her neighbor makes it will find out the probable reasons why). More than 200 recipes interspersed throughout demonstrate Corriher's explorations and explanations. Also included are At a Glance charts for easy reference (e.g., Finetuning Cookies), trouble-shooting charts (Yeast Bread Problems), charts on the basics (Whipped Cream: What To Do and Why), and dozens more. Although the recipes are delicious?and surely foolproof?this unique work will be far more valuable as a reference than as a cookbook. Highly recommended.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
The primary value of the book is not that it explains mysteries of cooking technique, but that it explains them so well. I just finished a review of a book that attempted to explain the difference between saturated, mono-unsaturated, and poly-unsaturated fats, and it made a complete botch of the job. Shirley's explanation is so clear, it embarrasses you into having dozed through that lesson in high school. In fact, Shirley's book gives the clearest possible argument I have seen in a long time for justifying subjects like physics and chemistry in High School for people who plan to go into law or computer sciences or hair dressing. Everyone must eat. Therefore, everyone must either cook or rely on someone to cook for them. And, no sass about a raw cuisine either, because understanding what the absence of heat does to foods is as important as the application of heat.
My first very pleasant surprise when I started this book is that the first two chapters deal with baking subjects rather than savory cooking. And, I have read many an essay in the beginning of books on baking, and not a single one of them explains the mysteries of wheat flour, yeast, gluten, and bread making quite as well as Shirley's first chapter.Read more ›
I should hope the eye latches on to the word "practical" before it does "science" in the previous sentence. The author is not just a "culinary food sleuth" who roams the country giving speeches and fixing problems in corporate test kitchens; she is also a dedicated home cook with extensive experience cooking for real people in family and social situations. You can buy stimulating, even well-written, books on food science that may or may not give you techniques you can apply in your own kitchen, but Cookwise treats science only as a means to immediate results.Read more ›
I first discovered Shirley when she appeared in a number of episodes of "Good Eats with Alton Brown" on Food TV. Her explainations helped make the most basic level of the science behind the food come alive.
Her book, however, is not as entertaining as Alton's book. Shirley does get far more in depth than Alton does, and sometimes her stories aren't as relevant as Alton's. And the way she flows into the recipies, it almost makes me feel that I can't go further until I do my lab work.
This isn't the book for you if you just want recipies. This isn't the book for you if you want to be entertained more than you want to cook. But this is the book for you if you have a desire to be a better cook by learning the "why" behind cooking.
Most recent customer reviews
This is a great reference book for cooking and baking. I'm a bit of chemistry nerd and treat my kitchen as a lab so this book helps me a lot. It's one of my favourites.Published 4 months ago by jk100
Excellent book to help any cook. Nice binding and good print. I think every household should have one. thanks. thanksPublished on Feb. 8 2014 by Thea
Right off the bat, I wanted to like this book. I really really did. I have a tremendous respect for someone like Shirley Corriher, who is a huge advocate of better cooking through... Read morePublished on April 17 2004 by m.e.
Several months ago I got 'CookWise', which became the first cookbook I read cover-to-cover. What I appreciate about this book is that it explained how ingredients interact. Read morePublished on March 29 2004 by Ann
This Cookbook can be read like a novel, used to cook great food from or studied like a text. All cooks that want to know more about why they are doing what they are doing Must... Read morePublished on Dec 21 2003 by Robb Saye
Why does food do what it does? What happens to it when you apply heat (i.e., cook or bake)? Can you be a better cook if you understand the inner-workings of the molecules that... Read morePublished on Aug. 30 2003 by B. Mann
This is a wonderful book which has improved my cooking tremendously. My cake baking is so much better now, and folks are begging me to bake cakes for them. Read morePublished on Feb. 2 2003
For my nephew's birthday, I tried making the Basic Moist Sweet Cake, Version I (p.143). I am a good cook and generally do not have problems with recipes. Read morePublished on Jan. 24 2003