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On Food and Cooking: On Food and Cooking (Hardcover)
This is my favorite book about food.
Most cookbooks use a familiar formula -- a mouthwatering, full-color image, followed by a recipe detailing the whats and hows of the preparation. McGee's landmark, comprehensive reference book opts for a different approach. In fact, there aren't any recipes at all in On Food and Cooking's nearly 900 pages.
Instead, McGee focuses on the deeper questions of cooking and baking -- not simply, how much flour do I add?, but rather, what is the role of flour (or other starches) in thickening a sauce? What is happening on a molecular level, and at what temperature? Why are some starches different than others, and which ones are best for which applications?
At every turn, McGee uses science, history, and a lifelong passion for food to answer all of these questions and thousands more. While this is not a book you'll read in one sitting, it is an indispensable reference for any science-minded cook, unparalleled in both depth and scope. I reach for it regularly, and always find everything I wanted to know and more."
--Matt, Longfellow Books— From Matt Recommends!
A kitchen classic for over 35 years, and hailed by Time magazine as "a minor masterpiece" when it first appeared in 1984, On Food and Cooking is the bible which food lovers and professional chefs worldwide turn to for an understanding of where our foods come from, what exactly they're made of, and how cooking transforms them into something new and delicious.
For its twentieth anniversary, Harold McGee prepared a new, fully revised and updated edition of On Food and Cooking. He has rewritten the text almost completely, expanded it by two-thirds, and commissioned more than 100 new illustrations. As compulsively readable and engaging as ever, the new On Food and Cooking provides countless eye-opening insights into food, its preparation, and its enjoyment.
On Food and Cooking pioneered the translation of technical food science into cook-friendly kitchen science and helped birth the inventive culinary movement known as "molecular gastronomy." Though other books have been written about kitchen science, On Food and Cooking remains unmatched in the accuracy, clarity, and thoroughness of its explanations, and the intriguing way in which it blends science with the historical evolution of foods and cooking techniques.
Among the major themes addressed throughout the new edition are:
· Traditional and modern methods of food production and their influences on food quality
· The great diversity of methods by which people in different places and times have prepared the same ingredients
· Tips for selecting the best ingredients and preparing them successfully
· The particular substances that give foods their flavors, and that give us pleasure
· Our evolving knowledge of the health benefits and risks of foods
On Food and Cooking is an invaluable and monumental compendium of basic information about ingredients, cooking methods, and the pleasures of eating. It will delight and fascinate anyone who has ever cooked, savored, or wondered about food.
About the Author
Harold McGee is a world-renowned authority on the science of food 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 has been named food writer of the year by Bon Appétit magazine and to the Time 100, an annual list of the world’s most influential people. He lives in San Francisco.
"This explains everything. Literally. I am so grateful to McGee for his tirelessness, his patience, and his commitment to answering the whys of the kitchen." —Samin Nosrat, author of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat
"I know of no chef worth his salt who doesn't keep a copy of Harold McGee's masterwork, On Food and Cooking... it is the Rosetta stone of the culinary world...McGee flipped on the science switch, and suddenly there was light. Whereas Julia Child taught how, McGee explains 'why.'" —Alton Brown, Time
"I have used Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking whenever I've had questions on the chemistry of food or to understand some aspect of the cooking process." —Jacques Pépin
"A must-have resource for any student of the stove, On Food and Cooking synthesizes details from a wide variety of scientific disciplines and gastronomic traditions, sparking the reader's culinary imagination with every turn of the page. Harold McGee possesses that most rare combination: a scientist's skill and a cook's heart." —Rick Bayless
"On Food and Cooking continues to be the most accurate source of information for generations of chefs. A charismatic teacher, Harold is a veritable fountain of information and without peer in our industry." —Thomas Keller
"I don't think that Harold McGee missed a single detail in this absolutely fascinating anthology of the hows, whys, and wherefores of cooking. This book is a treasure trove of useful facts and unusual information and a must for every cook who possesses an inquiring mind." —Daniel Boulud