From Publishers Weekly
Not a recipe collection but a series of investigations into culinary problems and dogma, this combines McGee's ( On Food and Cooking ) appreciation of the good life with his background in biochemistry and dedication to experimental procedure. In the first section the author reconsiders received truths, such as "sear the meat to seal in the juices," and proceeds to demonstrate, in this case, that it just isn't so. He evolves a means for the home cook to sterilize egg yolks without ruining them for hollandaise or mayonnaise, and discusses the function of sugar in sherbet texture. Explaining the relevant chemistry in accessible terms, McGee appeals to those who savor nuances of method in problem-solving, but in spite of some witty touches and a tone much lightened by etymological and historical asides, his very perseverance can become wearisome. The second section addresses health problems associated with eating habits, including a lengthy and informative, though scarcely comforting, treatment of cholesterol's impact on the circulatory system. In the final, highly readable section, McGee offers a more subjective view of gastronomy in essays paying tribute to Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin and the continuing quest for a science of taste.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Back Cover
"The Curious Cook is an indispensable kitchen companion to conventional teaspoon-of-this, dash-of-that cooking volumes." —Village Voice
"Lively reflections on cooking matters and questions." —The New York Times
"If you like to know what you're doing in the kitchen and be entertained while you find out, you must read this book." —Vogue
The Curious Cook, the follow-up to the award-winning On Food and Cooking, which was called a "minor masterpiece" by Time magazine, continues to translate into plain English for home cooks what scientists have discovered about food. Harold McGee puts to rest countless time-honored culinary myths and answers questions about the hazards of salmonella in mayonnaise and hollandaise sauce, how you can retain the green in salads, guacamole, and pesto, and how to keep tender meats from becoming tough when braising, as well as the relation of certain foods to heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer's disease. Filled with literary and historical anecdotes and packed with fascinating scientific lore, The Curious Cook is a must for every kitchen library.
"Some works are so original they defy classification. Such a book is Harold McGee's The Curious Cook." —Los Angeles Times
"A thoroughly charming and extremely useful new book." —The Washington Post