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CookWise: The Secrets of Cooking Revealed Hardcover – Aug 21 1997

4.5 out of 5 stars 82 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

  • CookWise: The Secrets of Cooking Revealed
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  • BakeWise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Baking with Over 200 Magnificent Recipes
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 544 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Cookbooks; 1 edition (Aug. 21 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688102298
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688102296
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 4.1 x 25.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 82 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #239,188 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

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

Format: Hardcover
I suspect Shirley O. Corriher and her book, 'Cookwise' are two of the most commonly quoted sources in culinary writing today. Like James Beard's 'American Cookery' and Julia Child's 'Mastering the Art of French Cooking', this book has become such a well-established authority in it's field that any attempt at criticism may seem like sacrilege. Well, I'm here to tell you that the reputation of this book is entirely deserved, and you should have no feelings whatsoever that there is any hype involved in the book's good name.
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.
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Format: Hardcover
I've just opened Shirley Corriher's 500-page masterpiece Cookwise to a random page, hoping to find true wisdom. If the random opening technique works with my Shakespeare and my dictionary, it ought to work with a book subtitled: The Hows & Whys of Successful Cooking. Sure enough, I've hit pay dirt. The chapter is "Eggs Unscrambled," the recipe, "Mesmerizingly Smooth Flan." The author (who lives in Atlanta) lets it slip that she has actually taught the recipe "in Texas to people who had been making flan for years," and who subsequently abandoned their tried and true recipes in favor of hers. It's true that you'll see similar boasts-usually based on the work output of a female ancestor-in recipe books you can buy at any gift shop or truck stop. But Ms. Corriher leaves her Granny out of the picture; instead she relies on science. In the flan's case, using corn syrup with a little lemon juice prevents the caramel from crystallizing; an extra egg yolk adds smoothness; a towel placed underneath the baking disk prevents the bottom of the flan from overcooking. Tips and tricks are one thing-every cook should keep a collection-but few "kitchen secret" books can compare to Shirley Corriher's well organized voyage through practical food science.
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.
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Format: Hardcover
I purchased this book over a year ago and have been reading it little by little. It is fascinating! I've learned so much about food and cooking and why things work (or don't work) the way that they do. I'm nearing the end of the book and intend to start over again as there is just so much to learn.
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Format: Hardcover
I have been cooking forever, a devotee of Food Channel, myriads of cookbooks, a fan of Alton Brown (a lot of whose stuff has apparently come from Shirley who appears on the show). I can whip up a masterpiece (so I've been told) from the leavings in the refrigerator, recipes never to be repeated. I have created recipes from tasting commercial products for duplication and improvement. At last, the knowledge of how it all fits together in one place! This book is amazing. It is NOT a cookbook in the usual sense of a collection of recipes, but a Cook's book, that will teach you to cook better, more wisely, with better assurance of the results. It allows you to truly become a cook rather than a blind recipe follower. It tells you how AND why cooking works in all the big areas of baking, frying, candies, ice creams and lots of others. It is a friendly textbook that will confer a master's degree worth of useful knowledge. It is a must read if you care about food preparation beyond opening a box and mixing.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm not a big fan of "cookbooks". Or to be more precice, I'm not a big fan of recipie collections. If I buy a "cookbook", I expect to learn more about cooking, and I get the feeling that Shirley has forgotten more than I've learned!
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.
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