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What makes white meat white? Does searing really seal in flavor? Why is it that fruits ripen but vegetables don't? These and other food mysteries are conclusively solved in Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen. A unique mix of culinary lore, food history, and scientific investigation, McGee's compellingly readable book explores every aspect of the food we eat: where it comes from, what it's made of, and how and why it behaves as it does when we bake, broil, steam, or otherwise ready it for the table. In addition to chapters on foods such as eggs, fruit, meat, and dairy products, McGee investigates wine, beer, and distilled liquors (the first alcoholic beverage was probably produced 10,000 years ago when some honey was forgotten); food additives (adulterated food has always been with us); and digestion and sensation (most of our food aversions are learned by taste-testing in childhood), among other topics. A section on nutrition reveals, among much else, that Americans have always been prey to food faddism. The book concludes with an easy-to-understand investigation of the basic food molecules--water, carbohydrates, proteins, and fats and oils--and a discussion of cooking methods and utensil materials. There's a lively chemistry primer guaranteed to make clear and enjoyable what was probably less so in the classroom. With more than 200 illustrations, including extraordinary photos of cellular food anatomy, the book will delight anyone who cooks or enjoys food. --Arthur Boehm
I purchased this book on the tangential advice of Michael Ruhlman's "The Making of a Chef" -- it was one of the three Bibles of Cooking, if I remember correctly. Read morePublished on Jan. 13 2004
This is an excellent book on the science of cooking, for those interested in learning the reason behind cooking. Read morePublished on June 21 2003 by Erich E. Geary
Anyone who is serious about the craft of cooking needs to read this book. Anyone else will find it dreadfully irrelevant. Read morePublished on Dec 18 2002 by Steve Leroux
I really enjoy books that get into the "why's" of cooking like "What Einstein Told His Cook", and "I'm Just Here for the Food", but this book went a little far for me. Read morePublished on Nov. 3 2002 by A. Larson
I enjoy cooking. I like science. I wanted to introduce the two. After reading "the making of a chef" (Ruhlman) where McGee's book is one of the 3 bibles, I had to get it. Read morePublished on July 17 2002 by Ori Steinitz
Anyone who wants to go beyond the recipes would do well to read this book.Published on June 2 2002 by Jamie Nettles
I enjoy cooking but sometimes I wonder why I need to add an egg or put some milk in and this book explained it all. Read morePublished on April 4 2002 by Mr. Greg A. Wilkinson
This is an essential book for anyone who cooks. McGee explains in detail how and why cooking works; if you know what's in here, you can do anything in the kitchen without ever... Read morePublished on March 10 2002 by Randy Goldberg