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Keys to Good Cooking: A Guide to Making the Best of Foods and Recipes Hardcover – Oct 26 2010

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday Canada (Oct. 26 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385666454
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385666459
  • Product Dimensions: 18.5 x 3.8 x 24 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #106,589 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“Get this book and you’ll wonder how you ever managed to cook without Harold McGee in your life. . . . No saucepan is left unturned in McGee’s quest to explain the mysteries and alchemy of the kitchen. . . . it is a joy to find a book that deals with the nuances of cooking, all those hair-pulling moments that result in apologies at dinner. Even for those successful chefs, this book will polish your skills.”
Weekly Times Now

Praise for Harold McGee:
"Dazzlingly informative ... McGee is the father of modern food science and by far the most enjoyable writer to read on the subject."
— Sunday Telegraph (UK)

"He has made the jump from mere author to timeless authority."

About the Author

HAROLD MCGEE is a world-renowned authority on the chemistry of foods and cooking. He studied science and literature at Caltech and Yale, and has written two prize-winning books, On Food and Cooking and The Curious Cook, as well as many articles and reviews. He lives in San Francisco.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Excellent reference tool. This book offers comprehensive information about the science and art of preparing food. With attention given to both the foodstuffs and the equipment used to prepare them, all readers are bound to learn something new. Further, reading this book will allow one to better evaluate recipes so that fewer "new tries" end up in the garbage disposal. McGee's offering would be a welcome gift by all those who enjoy cooking....or eating.
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Format: Hardcover
An excellent book - there's so much information and in the short time it has been in our house, we have referred to it frequently. It would make a perfect gift for anyone learning to cook and also for long time cooks. It would make a wonderful birthday or wedding present
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa2ef9d68) out of 5 stars 66 reviews
63 of 66 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa986463c) out of 5 stars An excellent summary of his previous works Nov. 22 2010
By Dr Garry - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm going to disagree with some other reviewers here. I have been been reading Mr McGee for many years, and regard myself as a huge fan.
Few of his previous works would be suitable for the everyday cook. This one is. How many people would wade through his earlier erudite discussions of protein strings, just to get a practical morsel for the kitchen? Few indeed.
This is a book that distills Mr McGee's work into a single practical volume. It may be "the size of a brick", but so what? Nor do I find the typography and layout disconcerting. I think they are ideal: they send you to the essential points immediately.
I have sent this book to some of my friends who would never read even think to peruse Mr McGee's previous opuses. But I am sure they will at least leaf through this one.
113 of 123 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa3079090) out of 5 stars A solid reference - Nov. 3 2010
By Andrea Gillin - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having read and purchased McGee's other titles I did not expect this one to be terribly different. That is to say that his books tend to be chock full of information without many pictures. I consider myself an experienced cook and baker, and still find this information very helpful when a question arises about why something happens in cooking the way that it does. If you are the type that prefers lots of pictures, even humor, then Alton Brown is probably your best go to source. Although McGee himself is not without humor - it was the famous scene from "Blazing Saddles" that sent him in this direction food science, but this book is pretty cut and dry. On the front jacket cover the chapters and their contents are listed nos. 1-24, breaking down the subject matter from 'Basic Kitchen Resources' to 'Nuts and Oil Seeds' and much more. I, however, prefer to judge a book by its index and this book has a decent one. Whoever handled the indexing for this title did a fairly thorough job, but missed the boat by not cross-referencing, which I personally think is critical in a book of this nature. Maybe that was a decision on the publisher's part rather than the indexer, but I feel like something's missing. All in all, this is an excellent reference. If you're like me and consider Hester Blumenthal's "In Search of Perfection" your idea of leisure reading then this book will be right up your alley. If not, use it strictly as a reference, because I don't think any decent cookbook collection should be without McGee's books!
152 of 170 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa3079054) out of 5 stars Disappointing Nov. 4 2010
By Jackal - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I really liked the author's On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen, which is a five star book. That book was more detailed about food than cooking, so there was definitely room for improvement on the cooking side. However, this is not really what his new book accomplishes. Instead, in my mind, it is a dumbed down version of the old book (i.e all science and explanation of why is totally gone). It is organised around different cooking tasks, like making meringues and cooking rice, and you do get more direct advice than in the author's previous book. This is all good. Sadly, the book is mostly targeted to the eager-to-learn novice or the less experienced. If you have cooked for a couple of years and read the author's previous book, you are likely to find the simple stuff quite tedious. I advice you look at chefs that are also good technicians, Pepin comes to mind (Jacques Pépin New Complete Techniques) and also Fundamental Techniques of Classic Cuisine. There you will learn tons of useful stuff. A scientist trying to provide similar advice is borderline ridiculous. You will find several entries in which you don't learn anything new. Check out the three short video tips that are posted by amazon on this page. If you find these three examples really useful, you should probably buy the book.

The above could have been forgiven, if the book had a decent layout. The old book was crammed with information and had a well-suited typographical layout. The current book has wide margins, spacious line spacing and quite a large font size, not to mention the puke greenish-blue highlights. We get something that looks like it went straight from Microsoft Word to the printing press; loads of italic and bold, bullets with huge indents... I do not understand the publisher's thinking at all. It is not a coffee table book, because it has no pictures and is full of practical advice. It is not a practical tool to have in the kitchen because it is thick as a brick. For some reason, the publisher made the book as bulky as possible. With the same layout as the old book, the number of pages would shrink with 60% percent.

The following doesn't really apply to this book, but since my review is featured, it might be helpful to you, dear reader: If you want more information about cooking (as opposed to ingredients) than is found in On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen, I highly recommend Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking. Or if $500 is too much have a look at Modernist Cuisine at Home. That is assuming you are a bit of a science geek, but you would be if you like the author's first book.
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa3079624) out of 5 stars a useful addition Nov. 13 2010
By R. Cane Questions - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I enjoy using McGee's "Keys to Good Cooking. its information is useful, clear, and fairly copious, and as usual it debunks commonly held myths. the book takes the perspective of focusing on ingredients or types of ingedient and then the different means of preparing them and how any method affects the taste and texture. since I do more experimentation than recipe following, McGee's approach works well for me. it presents alternative ways to consider the taste or texture problem I am trying to solve, and so far has steered me in fruitful directions.

if I could own just one book by McGee, it would still be the justly famous [[ASIN:0684843285 On Food and Cooking], which is a hard act to follow. nonetheless, I find the new volume a welcome addition and I refer to it frequently.

one warning about the Kindle edition, however: the publisher made the index flat text without hyperlinks, so you can see what's in the book, but you can't get there from here. this is *REALLY* irritating; perhaps later editions will correct this lunacy.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa30793e4) out of 5 stars GET "ON FOOD AND COOKING" INSTEAD Nov. 28 2012
By Brian Rose - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is very casual. I found it to be fairly random, and not as informative as I'm used to from Harold McGee.

BUY "ON FOOD AND COOKING" INSTEAD. Its by the same author, and is a masterpiece. It covers every aspect of cooking to the very grittiest detail. The chapter on eggs begins with a detailed, scientific description of the chickens entire gestation period.

Why is that important? Once you know what an egg is composed of you'll know why and how cooking it certain ways changes its characteristics. Once you know the chemistry and physics behind food and cooking you know EVERYTHING. No more rules of thumb or pointers, just genuine, fundamental knowledge.

If you want simple rules of thumb, but no genuine knowledge, then buy this book. If you want the knowledge of an executive chef buy "On Food and Cooking" same author, different world.

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