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On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen Hardcover – .dff, November 23, 2004

4.8 out of 5 stars 1,007 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Before antioxidants, extra-virgin olive oil and supermarket sushi commanded public obsession, the first edition of this book swept readers and cooks into the everyday magic of the kitchen: it became an overnight classic. Now, 20 years later, McGee has taken his slightly outdated volume and turned it into a stunning masterpiece that combines science, linguistics, history, poetry and, of course, gastronomy. He dances from the spicy flavor of Hawaiian seaweed to the scientific method of creating no-stir peanut butter, quoting Chinese poet Shu Xi and biblical proverbs along the way. McGee's conversational style—rich with exclamation points and everyday examples—allows him to explain complex chemical reactions, like caramelization, without dumbing them down. His book will also be hailed as groundbreaking in its breakdown of taste and flavor. Though several cookbooks have begun to answer the questions of why certain foods go well together, McGee draws on recent agricultural research, neuroscience reviews and chemical publications to chart the different flavor chemicals in herbs and spices, fruits and vegetables. Odd synergies appear, like the creation of fruity esters in dry-cured ham—the same that occur naturally in melons! McGee also corrects the European bias of the first edition, moving beyond the Mediterranean to discuss the foods of Asia and Mexico. Almost every single page of this edition has been rewritten, but the book retains the same light touch as the original. McGee has successfully revised the bible of food science—and produced a fascinating, charming text.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Scientific American

"In 1984, canola oil and the computer mouse and compact disc were all novelties... [and] the worlds of science and cooking were neatly compartmentalized." A lot has changed in 20 years: magazines and books now discuss the science of cooking, and culinary schools offer "experimental" courses that investigate the whys of cooking. So McGee, a writer who specializes in the chemistry of food and cooking, has completely rewritten his 1984 classic, expanding it by two thirds into a book that weighs in at almost 900 pages. He offers thorough, scientific explanations of countless topics, including why brining your turkey is not a good idea, why food wrapped in plastic often tastes like plastic, why you should never refrigerate tomatoes. And he continues to display, as one admirer said of the first edition, "a scientist's skill and a cook's heart."

Editors of Scientific American


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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5
1,007 customer ratings
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GaD22
5.0 out of 5 stars On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 8, 2017
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5.0 out of 5 stars A present.
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1.0 out of 5 stars This si a UD version!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Concise, Interesting and Inciteful
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5.0 out of 5 stars I like it. thumb up. worth to buy and read.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 28, 2019
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karamanfan
5.0 out of 5 stars this is an excellent book about food and the cooking of food
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 8, 2014
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Isa
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book to dip in an out of
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 18, 2015
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
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5.0 out of 5 stars HELLUVA BOOK
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5.0 out of 5 stars Just Brilliant !
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5.0 out of 5 stars You Need This Book if You Think You're A Cook
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 17, 2015
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