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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 Publishers Weekly
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From Scientific American
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Top Customer Reviews
I can devote my thousand words on how good this book has been to the culinary world, but most of you already know that. What I will do is to list all the reasons one may wish to read this book.
First, the book is simply interesting to amateur foodies and culinary professionals. This is the serendipity principle. If you prospect in a rich land, you will invariably find something of value. The `lore' in the subtitle is not an afterthought. The book includes history, linguistics and cooking practice in addition to simple science.Read more ›
I discovered the first edition about five years ago, and it permanently changed how I think about food and how I cook. Since then, I've seen many other chefs mention this book. For example, in Michael Ruhlman's book "The Making of a Chef: Mastering Heat at the Culinary Institute," CIA students often study this (unrequired) book to better understand what they're doing.
You should be aware that this book is more an encypclopedia than an a recipe book or a collection of essays. If you're looking for a fun discussion of food science, then Alton Brown's "I'm just here for the food" may be a better choice. If you're looking for recipes that are optimized by principles of food science, I'd recommend Shirley O. Corriher's "Cookwise." (Actually, I'd recommend both of those books anyway.) Some readers may find "On Food and Cooking" a little bit too dense and technical to read from cover to cover, but as a reference book, it's unmatched.
The second edition is a great improvement over the first, and I'd strongly recommend it not only to new readers but to anyone who read the first edition. (Just the new section on fish makes this book worth purchasing.Read more ›
McGee is truly a Renaissance man when it comes to food, and the book is packed with historical facts, literary anecdotes, and food legends passed down through the ages. For instance, when he talks about dairy products in the first chapter, he also brings up the domestication of the goat, the development of Parmesan, the history of ice cream and the best way to clarify butter. But his writing style is never contrived or pedantic and never gets in the way of the intriguing facts he brings to light. There are great illustrations and almost like a textbook, replete with easy-to-follow charts, graphs, and pictures, On the sidebars of each page, McGee shares insights from the likes of Brillat-Savarin, Plutarch and their culinary brethren along with ancient recipes for ash-roasted eggs, stuffed bonito with pennyroyal, and other delicacies. However, his focus is not purely historical, as he examines with great acuity, modern food production, current health risks and an easy-to-understand lesson on atoms, molecules, and the nature of energy. Rest assured that cooking basics are covered thoroughly.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
So much quality information! Very nice for any scientific minded cook.Published 5 days ago by Logan
My science oriented 7th grader liked the atom section. I liked the history of each of the food categories (fun to put together an oil/herb mix the Romans used)
Enjoyed... Read more
If you have any interest in the whys and hows of preparing food this is the book to buy. This isn't a cookbook or a book on technique, but rather a comprehensive but readable... Read morePublished 6 days ago by Loyal Amazon Customer
Great book, and another must have for chefs! between this, and larousse you cant go wrong.Published 13 days ago by Kevin
Love this book, it's exactly what I was looking for! Learning a lot about the science of baking!Published 29 days ago by Amazon Customer
This book is indispensable for me. If your recipes dont seem to come out quite right, this book can give you the science of why that happens, and how to do betterPublished 1 month ago by Andrea Wieland