Customer Review

53 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply amazing! Very inspiring!, January 7, 2011
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This review is from: Ideas in Food: Great Recipes and Why They Work (Hardcover)
Even though my expectations for this book were extremely high, I can honestly say it's leagues better than I could have imagined. For anyone with even basic cooking technique, from home cook to professional, there truly is enough to reinvigorate and elevate your creativity in the kitchen for a long time.

The book is organized broadly into two parts, firstly for the home cook and lastly professionals. The techniques in the second part are not necessarily more difficult, but simply address newer food products and applications such as "meat glue", liquid nitrogen and carbon dioxide which most home cooks would not likely have on hand. However, Aki and Alex make them so familiar and understandable in their explanations that I'm left to believe that some will be as common to us as baking powder and gelatin someday.

The home cook section covers such topics as how to perfectly cook eggs, make no knead bread, fresh pasta, pickling and preserving, making vinegar from scratch, fruits and vegetables, ice cream, making fresh cheeses and a ton more! What I liked most is that unlike most cookbooks which just give you the "how to", Aki and Alex explain in simple detail why each step is taken in the recipe so these topics are truly demystified once and for all and you are left feeling like you've grown to be a more confident cook and not just followed someone's instructions.

I've only had the book a few days and I've already "cryo-blanched" some Kale to great effect (this is simply using a foodsaver vacuum sealer to vacuum seal raw kale leaves, freeze them and rethaw them so the process tenderizes the vegetable without cooking and destroying the nutrients.) I couldn't believe how easy it was.

Another great technique is their explanation of "pre-hydrating starches", which again in practice is simply soaking rice or pasta for a few hours in cold water (or any other flavored liquid!), draining it then cooking normally but in less time. When this is done the starch cooks quicker, and allows for the addition of extra flavor via the soaking liquid, really cool!

I have read my fair share of cookbooks and in terms of value for your investment I can't imagine a better pick than this book. There is so much knowledge, explained with such finesse and enthusiasm, this is definitely a rare find. I thank the authors for their contribution and hope they keep the ideas coming! :)
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