Book Reviews

Book review: On food and cooking

Harold McGee’s completely revised On Food And Cooking is an absolute requirement for every cook, executive chef, and amateur week-end entertainer.

This outstanding reference book on ingredients and techniques explains clearly how they react when heated, or exposed to acids. It covers the chemistry of various foods and cooking processes clearly for any cook to understand how certain cooking techniques are more appropriate than others with regard to foodstuffs.

Harold McGee covers a lot of history as well by explaining how agricultural discoveries and advances changed foods, their taste, yield, and growing regions. In most cases cooks follow instructions provided in recipes, based on what they had  been thought while apprenticing or in school.

On Food And Cooking goes deeper than this. It explains reasons for applying certain cooking techniques ( i.e dry heat, steam, boiling, poaching, baking etc) to achieve different textures and/or tastes,

Int eh 15 chapters, the appendix of this invaluable book deals with milk and dairy products, eggs, meat, fish and shellfish, fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, etc, coffee, doughs, batters, breads, cakes, pastas, sauces, sweeteners, alcoholic bevaregs, cooking techniques, utensils, and molecules.

The appendix is devoted to chemistry since cooking is actually nothing but applied chemistry. It follows that every cook, be it a housewife, or chef, to know exactly why certain techniques work while others do not and what must be avoided to prevent food posoning or spoilage.

Reading this book will help you know how to purchase, plan, store, cook, and enjoy healthy and nutrituonal meals.

It is an engaging blend of food history and science.

It should be mandatory reading for every student of a hotel and restaurant management or culinary school, every cook apprentice, housewifes everywhere who wish to feed thair families well, and every exectuvie chef’s library at work and home.

Highly recommended.

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