Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Curious Cook: Book Review

"The Curious Cook" is author Harold McGee's follow-up book to his "On Food and Cooking". "The Curious Cook" is a collection of fascinating information and experiments aimed at helping non-scientific folks understand the sometimes mysterious ways of food and cooking. Fascinating and enjoyable.

Part one starts off by de-bunking the age-old idea that searing meat before cooking seals in it's juices. Wait! Searing meat does seal in the juices...doesn't it? Apparently not. Here's the first paragraph in chapter one, The Searing Truth:

"It's in the best of cookbooks and the worst of cookbooks, the simple and the sophisticated. "Sear the meat to seal in the juice," they say. This catchy phrase is probably the best-known explanation of a cooking method. It originated with an eminent scientist. And it's pure fiction."

Makes you want to read more, doesn't it? The whole book is like that. One thing invites you to read the next, and, as scientific as the information is, McGee makes it totally accessible.

Other chapters include:
Chapter 3: Simmering Down--Cooking tender meats well below the boil
Chapter 10: Fruit Ices, Cold and Calculated--Three dozen fruits, five styles
Chapter 12: Fat and the Heart--Coping with quirky biology
Chapter 14: Minding the Pots and Pans: The Case of Aluminum--No metal surface is inert
Chapter 17: From Raw to Cooked: The Transformation of Flavor--Why does the human animal like cooked foods?

Harold has a website with more great stuff for curious cooks.

I loved this book, and if you're curious about things kitchen and food, you will too.

If you know of a great cooking-related book, send me the info and I'll give it a read and a review!
Happy Reading!

1 comment:

  1. I love books like this. I really like to read about methods and how and why they are used. It makes many of the recipes we make "make sense"!


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