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The Science of Good Cooking: Master 50 Simple Concepts to Enjoy a Lifetime of Success in the Kitchen (Cook's Illustrated Cookbooks) [Kindle Edition]

The Editors at America's Test Kitchen
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (771 customer reviews)

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Book Description

THE REVOLUTIONARY BOOK THAT
BRINGS SCIENCE TO THE STOVE
Great cooks seem to operate on intuition. Watch one at work and you might think he or she must have a sixth sense that switches on in the kitchen. But great cooks aren t psychic. They simply understand the fundamental principles of cooking the unspoken rules that guide their every move in the kitchen. What s behind these principles? Science.
At America s Test Kitchen, we know something about that. The team at Cook s Illustrated has spent the past 20 years investigating every facet and every detail associated with home cooking through tens of thousands of kitchen tests. In The Science of Good Cooking, we distill the past two decades of this test kitchen work into 50 basic cooking concepts, ones that every home cook should know.
These concepts sound suspiciously simple: Gentle Heat Retains Moisture. Salty Marinades Work Best. Starch Helps Cheese Melt Nicely. Sugar Changes Sweetness and Texture. It turns out that these ideas are not only easy to understand but also easy to master. And don t worry there is no molecular gastronomy, liquid nitrogen, or fancy equipment involved. As always, our mission is squarely focused on great home cooking.
In addition to explaining how food science works (and why you should care), The Science of Good Cooking shows you the science. This book brings you into the test kitchen with 50 unique (and fun) experiments engineered to illustrate (and illuminate) the science at work. The experiments demonstrate why adding fat to your eggs will make the perfect tender omelet, why grinding your own meat will make the ultimate burger, and why you should have patience before carving your roast.
And because no concept is complete without recipes, The Science of Good Cooking includes more than 400 classic Cook s Illustrated recipes that take the science to the stove, putting the principles to work. The book offers a fresh perspective on everything from roasting a chicken to baking chocolate chip cookies. These are the fundamental recipes home cooks struggle to get right. And when these recipes are coupled with the simple science explaining how and why they work, the results are illuminating.


Product Details

  • File Size: 10365 KB
  • Print Length: 504 pages
  • Publisher: America's Test Kitchen (October 12, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009POEWK6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,769 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
849 of 855 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read to improve the results of your food! September 22, 2012
By Pokin
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Having relied on Cooks Illustrated recommendations for many of my favourite kitchen tools, buying this book was a no brainer. Needless to say I had high expectations going in, and this book did not disappoint.

I'm an avid cook, and while I've had great success with certain types of food, I've been frustrated by inconsistent results in others. (I can't seem to get a consistently moist pot-roast -- reason: my cooking temperature was probably too high; wrong cut of meat + oven braising is better than stovetop since it heats more evenly in more directions)

The Science of Good Cooking breaks down why food cooks a certain way, and which techniques are best for what purpose. The book is organized into 50 concepts with recipes reinforcing each concept. There's a section called "why this works" following each recipe, which breaks down the science behind each step -- for instance why use a certain type of marinade, cooking technique, take extra steps, etc to achieve a desired outcome. It's nice that it's not just a list of recipes.

Experiments back each concept. Meats were weighed, measured, smashed to determine tenderness, and moisture loss. They came up with a range of ideal resting times for various meats based on actually measuring the amount of juices lost at various times, and they sent food to the science lab to analyze their structure. They even stuck bones on mashed potatoes to test out whether keeping bones on makes food taste better. This book debunked some assumptions I had (acid does not actually make food more tender), and helped me understand other ones better - why salt directly applied on skin makes it more crispy, but if you brined the skin you'd get a different outcome.
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164 of 171 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I still consider myself an advanced beginner when it comes to cooking so I LOVE cookbooks like this where they explain WHY recipes are they way they are. Things I liked about this book:

1. They have 50 cooking concepts that are discussed in detail. These range from "A covered pot doesn't need water" to "starch helps cheese melt nicely." They tell you the concept, then explain the science behind it. Often the explanation comes with illustrations, tables and details of the experiments they did in the test kitchen. There were a lot of things I had never read/heard of before like how salt added to meat makes it more juicy, but salt added to vegetables takes the water out.
2. The book is brimming with tips, tricks and information. The index has information on how to pick out kitchen equipment like knives, pots and pans and tools; emergency ingredient substitutions are also given. The front of the book goes over basics like meat temperatures that indicate doneness, definitions of common cooking terms. (I now know what to do if a recipe calls for chiffonading herbs!)
3. The book has lots of recipes and a good variety of types. It really has a little bit of everything.
4. The book is very well put together. The pages are glossy, the binding is tight. Feels like it can withstand years of being used.

Things I didn't like:

1. The biggest pet peeve I have with this something many people will NOT have to worry about. I happen to have the The Cook's Illustrated Cookbook: 2,000 Recipes from 20 Years of America's Most Trusted Cooking Magazine and many (if not all) the recipes are the same. I randomly looked up about ten recipes and they were all duplicates.
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306 of 327 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Mad Scientist October 10, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Yes, I have a BS in food technology with a lot of chemistry, biochemistry, bacteriology, etc. background. So I found this book another interesting treatise on food science. Personally, I love it. My wife, with a BS in elementary education, 2 sons with accounting and finance degrees, and a mechanical engineering daughter, I am probably the only one in the family to love this book. If you want to cook, and want to know WHY things happen during the cooking process, this is a great book. The recipes in each section emphasize each subject.
If you like Alton Brown, Shirley Corriher, etc., then this book is for you.
If you watch America's Test Kitchen or Cook's Country on TV, and like the science section, buy the book. To me, the recipes may be redundant (400 recipes for 50 sections).
This is a great book if you want to take "Food Science 101" at home. Read each section carefully, then maybe try a suggested recipe to understand the chapter subject. If you want to know HOW, don't buy the book, but if you want to know WHY, place your order now.
But for me, at age 74, it is a great refresher course. It is definately a FIVE if this type of book interests you.
With 50 sections, you could do one a week and take a two week sabatical.
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128 of 142 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
I'm a longtime COOK'S ILLUSTRATED subscriber, and if you are too--or if you're curious why some of us are such CI nutjobs--this book will sate your curiosity and provide you with lasting help in the kitchen to boot.

CI is famed for obsessively testing and re-testing virtually every aspect of their recipes. They don't take on fussy foods; they take regular stuff and tell you how to make it as well as possible. This necessarily means that some culinary tropes and old wive's tales get upended, but the effect is exhilarating rather than upsetting. "The Science of Good Cooking" is, essentially, an enormous keyring with dozens of keys allowing YOU, regular old home cook you, to perform to the highest standard you can in the kitchen.

One thing I love about the book and about the CI philosophy in general is that it's DEPENDABLE. You know that the authors and their staff have tested and tested and tested each recipe six ways to Sunday, and you sow the harvest of their hard work. The whys and wherefores are fascinating--food chemistry is the only branch of science that even remotely interests me--but the real fun comes when you set your work down on the table and witness it being enjoyed and dispatched by appreciative eaters.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Will greatly improve your knowledge of cooking.
Great technical cooking guide.
Published 23 hours ago by neicer
4.0 out of 5 stars Liked it enough to give one as a gift
A very nice book to have on hand; good to know why certain recipes must be followed to the letter; technique!
Published 7 days ago by Lauris Jensen
5.0 out of 5 stars An in depth thesis on cooking for those who are ...
An in depth thesis on cooking for those who are serious about their cooking .... Very well done !!
Published 8 days ago by JOHN A MACGILLIVARY
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent worth every penny
excellent worth every penny. Used as a gift and very much appreciated by receiving party. May get another for myself.
Published 8 days ago by Don Haase
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I love it!
Published 9 days ago by mindy mobley
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great information,
Published 10 days ago by Sherry Pilotte
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book
This is a great book. Not only does it have great recipes, but it explains the science of why the recipes work. Read more
Published 14 days ago by Joseph G.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent.
Published 14 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential information presented in an easy to read and understand...
An absolute necessity for the serious cook. Essential information presented in an easy to read and understand format. Read more
Published 15 days ago by Cathy Alfandre
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Very interesting and useful.
Published 16 days ago by Laura H. Betts
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