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On Food and Cooking Hardcover – Nov 23 2004


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On Food and Cooking + The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America's Most Imaginative Chefs + Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 896 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; Rev Upd edition (Nov. 23 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684800012
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684800011
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 17 x 4.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,361 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents


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First Sentence
What better subject for the first chapter than the food with which we all begin our lives? Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book was recommended to me a friend -- the executive chef of a restaurant recently rated the best restaurant in a large city. I live in a small tourist town with many outstanding restaurants and chefs who rate McGee (as it is affectionately known) as an essential reference in any serious kitchen.

For someone with a serious, creative, interest in the hows and whys of the culinary arts and sciences, I would suggest a thorough cover-to-cover read-through to know what's there and to gain basic knowledge. The book then should be kept at hand as a frequent reference for creative ideas, solutions to failures, and how to achieve desired results with ingredients and techniques.

I've given four copies as gifts to other serious cooks/chefs and they found that, once started, they couldn't put it down until they got to the end. A creative cook will find that their copy of McGee becomes more stained and battered than any conventional recipe book on the shelf.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By stuyoung on Oct. 25 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First, a disclaimer: As a chemical engineer foodie, I'm fascinated by the topic of food science. That being said, this book is beautifully arranged, has just the right width and depth of information on each topic, and has fielded every question that has popped into my mind.
My only complaint is that I wish there were more illustrations or photos to accompany the text. Maybe I've been spoiled by books like Modernist Cuisine, and maybe I'm expected too much from a book that is focusing on science, but I can't help feeling that some visuals would contribute to my understanding.
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By Smith on May 15 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Book was good overall. However, badly packaged as the box was the same size as the book so the outer jacket was crushed and forced into box
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I had a copy of this book many years ago, donated it to a library so others could enjoy it, then decided I wanted my own copy again. I'm glad to have it back on my shelf. I'm working my way through it gradually so I can take in as much as possible. It's wonderful as a reference book about some of the major components of the human diet.

McGee covers the chemistry of various foods and cooking processes, describing them carefully and clearly. If you don't really care about understanding the chemistry in such detail, there is plenty of very straight forward description about why various foods behave as they do when cooked and how to get better results with recipes using them. It can function as a trouble-shooter for me, helping me avoid cooking mistakes. There is also a fair amount of food history, usually in the beginning of each section, which I find fascinating and fun to read.

I find McGee to be quite poetic in his introduction to eggs, and I wonder if they're one of his favourite foods. It's nice to see his personality come out in what could have been a very dry book had it only focused on the science.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is amazing. I read that it's mandatory in chef's school, because it shows to the chef what happens to the food when they are prepared, in terms of chemistry, microbiology, etc, in very lay terms.
It starts with a classification of foods by types (milk and its derivatives, meats and poultry, bread, etc). Each part follows a logical development, from an historical point of view (i.e. why the mankind started the consumption of milk and why we started the production of its derivatives). Each process is explained in detail, with its different branching and particularities.
This is probably the only book where you can find information about the preparation of wine, beer, cheese, yogurt, bread, stock, and basically, any food that you could imagine. There are no recipes. But certainly, the explanation behind the recipe (i.e. why we sear the meat before cooking it) it's here.
I purchased this book at least 3 times. One for me, and the other 2 as gift. And they both love it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It is a book that talks about the science in cooking. the chemical process that is taking place during each cooking technique. different flavor agents, levels of acid and alkaline, sweetness and bitterness, that is involved in each product that we use in the kitchen is all described in full detail. If you want to get to know your ingredients better, which you should as a cook, I recommend this book
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