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Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks, and Good Food Paperback – August 12, 2010


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Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks, and Good Food + The Science of Good Cooking (Cook's Illustrated Cookbooks) + What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (August 12, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596805888
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596805883
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (189 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #255 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

One of the most useful books on understanding cooking, kind of like a rock-and-roll version of Harold McGee's "On Food and Cooking." -The Washington Post


In his enchanting, funny, and informative book, Cooking for Geeks (O'Reilly), Jeff Potter tells us why things work in the kitchen and why they don't. -NY Daily News


Potter covers an array of topics, including "calibrating your equipment" in the kitchen, gastronomy, genetically modified foods, understanding pH levels, temperature, and the psychology of taste, while giving readers a refresher in chemistry that is both accessible and (dare I say) fun. -The New Yorker's Book Bench


Clear, fact-packed, and engaging ... Cooking for Geeks offers an improbable victory of text over the standard food porn. -The Atlantic

About the Author

A science and food geek, Jeff Potter has been featured on television newscasts and radio shows throughout the country, spoken at science festivals both in the United States and overseas, and is a trustee and spokesperson for Awesome Food, part of the Awesome Foundation. He studied computer science and visual art at Brown University.

More About the Author

I love food and I love science. And what better way to teach science than with food? Whether I'm helping people think smart in the kitchen with my book Cooking for Geeks (The Washington Post called it "one of the most useful books on understanding cooking") or figuring out things like how to make a 500 pound donut on Food Network, you'll find me using food and science to understand the world around us.

Visit http://www.cookingforgeeks.com/ to learn more about Cooking for Geeks.

Visit http://www.jeffpotter.org/ to learn more about me.

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Customer Reviews

Bought for my husband as a birthday gift--he loved it!
Liora
If your geekness extends to the kitchen, this book is perfect... Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks, and Good Food by Jeff Potter.
Thomas Duff
I've enjoyed paging through this book and reading a bit at a time.
MD

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

289 of 294 people found the following review helpful By John A. Suda VINE VOICE on September 9, 2010
Format: Paperback
You've got to have a lot of confidence and nerve to write and try to sell a nearly 400 page book on cooking to the take-out pizza and cola set. No cookbook is likely to turn many geeks into chefs or take them away from their computer screens. However, even though "Cooking for Geeks" contains a large number of recipes, it is not a conventional cookbook but a scientific explanation of the how and why of cooking which will certainly appeal to that group, as well as to cooking professionals and intellectually curious others.

The author is a geek himself and brings "geek-like" approaches to the subject matter - deep intellectual curiosity, affinity for details, appreciation of problem solving and hacking, scientific method, and a love of technology. What is even better is his filtering of cooking concepts by a computer coder's framework, analogizing recipes to executable code, viewing of ingredients as inputs and as variables, running processes over and over in a logical manner to test and improve outcomes. This is not a mere literary shoe-horning of cooking concepts into a coder's framework but an ingenuous approach to the topics that should loudly resonate with geeks.

The subject matter includes selecting and using kitchen and cooking hardware; prepping inventory; calibrating equipment (especially your oven, using sugar); understanding tastes and smells; the fundamental difference between cooking and baking (and the personality types which gravitate to one form or the other); the importance of gluten and the three major types of leavening (biological, chemical, and mechanical); the types of cooking; using time and temperatures; how to use air as a tool; the chemistry of food combinations; and very thorough and detailed discussions of food handling and safety.
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140 of 148 people found the following review helpful By Tracy F. VINE VOICE on August 6, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
Alton Brown fans take note! You need a copy of Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks and Good Food. Seriously, this book takes everything I enjoy about Alton's shows and combines them into a book for the beginner, novice and pro alike.

Sure some recipes may seem basic. Extremely basic actually. It may seem weird to some that there are people who cannot even scramble an egg, but I've learned from experience that these people do exist. When my neighbor came flying out her house with a smoking pan, it had simply contained olive oil and water for boiling pasta but she'd turned on her stove and forgotten all about it. It became apparent that people can even burn water if given the opportunity.

Everything you need to know about cooking is in this book. From kitchen set-up and equipment to simple tips like reading a recipe completely before getting started, Cooking for Geeks has everything you need to start preparing home-cooked meals.

The book offers more than 400 pages of tips, recipes and even interviews with geeks of today. I loved reading Mythbuster's Adam Savage share his love of science and cooking. Learn easy recipes like a 30-Second Chocolate Cake or ones that may seem a little tougher like Butterflied Chicken. By the time you're done, you'll understand that kitchen and be able to whip together nutritious meals for yourself and others.

It's a very rare event that I come across a review book that I feel I must rush out and purchase a copy as soon as it is released. This is one of those situations. I can't imagine NOT owning this cookbook and I love to cook and know more than the basics already. With outstanding recipes, entertaining interviews and witty writing, this is definitely a book you should hand your friends, family and especially neighbors who do come running out of their home with flaming pans.
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65 of 68 people found the following review helpful By James Kalbach on August 5, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
This isn't your ordinary cookbook. Sure, there are recipes--good ones, too--but the author presents a wealth of information about the science of cooking, cooking techniques, and even the psychology of cooking. It's not so technical that you need a degree in chemistry to understand it. Instead, the author explains things like how human taste senses work in plain terms. There's also a bit on nutrition towards the beginning, and there are charts and tables now and then to illustrate the mechanics of food and cooking throughout.

If you're an "innovative cook" (see the interview with Brian Wansink, p. 7), this is right up your alley. Potter gives lots of hacks. Usually, cookbooks are very prescriptive and give exact measurements and ways of doing things. Here, the author encourages us to improvise, and he even gives great tips how to do so. For example, did you know you can roast peppers in a toaster?

I have dozens of cookbooks and love to cook. Cooking For Geeks has surpassed them all and is now my favorite one. Check it out yourself. Well worth the money.
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124 of 136 people found the following review helpful By wheelerk on January 9, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I initially bought this book for my nerdy boyfriend so that I might benefit from some delicious recipes. I was disappointed, he was not. This book is not really about recipes, as much as it is about the molecular level of sugar, or what temperature is the best for the proteins of eggs. My boyfriend delights me constantly with random trivia about our groceries, and loves the fact that the book is "written like a textbook." It's a great book for someone who wants to know all the ins and outs about the kitchen and cooking; not just recipes that are tasty.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews