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On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen Hardcover – .dff, November 23, 2004
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From Scientific American
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I think this will be easier for those whose least favorite subject is something other than history!
Great book that I return to again and again. The layout is excellent, and well organized. The index is stellar. This isn't the first effort or edition, and thus it is honed to precision, and delivers facts in an engaging way.
I've read a number of them, and while most have been excellent, I still default to McGee's as the most thorough, 'from the ground up' text on the topic. It covers a variety of topics and includes a host of interesting interludes, fit for reading or glossing over if you just want to get down to it. McGee has really been the standard for science-based cooking since the 1980s.
Start here for science-based cooking texts, fill in where needed.
I just finished the sections on animals and their products. I had no idea of the way people around the world handle them. Before I would eat some of them, I would have to be part of a famine of Biblical proportions.
The only thing I don't agree with is his evolutionary history to the advent of historical times. But that is OK because he follows the majority view and it has no impact on the chemistry of food.
This is the perfect book for anyone interested in cooking that's also a nerd. There are no recipes in this book, it is more like a textbook that explains anatomy and origins of various ingredients. Charts that explain the different fat contents in various types of cream..... etc... etc...
I repeat... this is NOT a recipe book.
Top international reviews
(Note: thanks to Amazon US as I was unable to source this book in the UK - great service)
The book mixes history, science and geography to show not only how things cook, but why there are regional variations in cuisine. Read it to learn how to cook or read it as one the best popular science books written on food. It is worth 1000 recipe books.