- Hardcover: 504 pages
- Publisher: Cook's Illustrated (October 4, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1940352452
- ISBN-13: 978-1940352459
- Product Dimensions: 9 x 1.1 x 10.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,252 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Cook's Science: How to Unlock Flavor in 50 of our Favorite Ingredients Hardcover – October 4, 2016
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About the Author
America’s Test Kitchen is well-known for its top-rated television shows with more than 4 million weekly public television viewers, bestselling cookbooks, magazines, websites, and cooking school. The highly reputable and recognizable brands of America’s Test Kitchen, Cook’s Illustrated, and Cook’s Country are the work of over 60 passionate chefs based in Boston, Massachusetts, who put ingredients, cookware, equipment, and recipes through objective, rigorous testing to identify the very best. Discover, learn, and expand your cooking repertoire with Julia Collin Davison, Bridget Lancaster, Jack Bishop, Dan Souza, Lisa McManus, Tucker Shaw, Bryan Roof, and our fabulous team of test cooks!
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Top customer reviews
Cook’s Science is a new book from Cooks Illustrated. Instead of covering 50 techniques, e.g. “Gentle Heat Prevents Overcooking”, and “Salting Vegetables removes liquid”, this book covers 50 ingredients and their characteristics and best uses. They are:
1. Short Loin
3. Pork Loin
4. Pork Shoulder
5. Pork Belly
6. Chicken Breast
7. Chicken Wings
9. White Fish
19. Goat Cheese
21. Green Beans
22. Sweet Potatoes
31. Dried Chiles
38. Brown Rice
42. Cannellini Beans
44. Olive Oil
46. Red Wine
48. Balsamic Vinegar
49. Bittersweet Chocolate
As always, the test lab uses a very scientific approach, bringing in machinery such as moisture and texture analyzers to see if the food objectively really is as chewy or moist afterwards as we think. I liked too that this book took more time to go into how base level ingredients - proteins, carbohydrates, water and their distribution might impact whether food tastes sour or mushy, crispy or soggy.
In terms of the actual ingredients themselves - I’m learning a tonne! A real keeper was knowing that meat actually sears better and is tastier if you cook it straight from frozen rather than defrosted (of course fresh, never frozen trumps all!) Or knowing that foods like cauliflower have a sweet spot in cooking time to bring out the nutty flavour. Or confirmation that fresh ginger makes meat mushy. I like ginger’s tenderizing effect on say, Korean beef marinade, but I was unpleasantly surprised to find sous vide meat with a ginger marinade made the meat really mushy. Reason : ginger contains an enzyme called zingibain that breaks down collagen in the meat over time.
Speaking of sous vide, I’m happy to see this book make more reference to this technique, as I’ve incorporated sous vide cooking into my daily routine much more frequently.
As always, each chapter is broken down by first giving an overview of the ingredient, a test lab experiment (for example, how to best fry white fish and preventing it from sticking on a non-stick pan? Answer : use vegetable oil, not spray on a very hot pan), as well as a number of lab tested recipes for that ingredient. There was a good variety of recipes with a mix of classics and international, as well as a DIY section for making your own bacon, tofu, and jams.
Overall, I think both books are well worth having, one to learn the best techniques, the other to learn the base characteristics of your cooking ingredients. I’m already sure I’ll be gifting this book to many of my foodie friends :)