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How to Read a French Fry: And Other Stories of Intriguing Kitchen Science Paperback – Bargain Price, September 1, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
In this unique book, Los Angeles Times food editor Parsons combines complex science (rendered accessible to lay readers), workable cooking techniques, and excellent recipes. Each chapter addresses a specific culinary-scientific process (e.g., deep-frying, the secret post-harvest life of fruits and vegetables), provides a list of rules to follow therein, then offers a range of recipes that use the technique in question. In a chapter titled "From a Pebble to a Pillow," for example, Parsons explains the various ways in which grains, beans and other starches cook. He clears up myths about cooking beans and explains what makes an apple "mealy" (it's the pectin). The chapter ties up with some guidelines for preparing starch-thickened sauces, pasta, etc. Recipes include Smoky Cream of Corn Soup, a flour-thickened concoction, and a Gratin of Sweet Potatoes and Bourbon. The recipes are never gimmicky but are genuinely appealing, for instance Smoked Tuna Salad in Tomatoes and Lavender Fig Tart, and they are evidence of how a handful of techniques can turn out diverse results. Scientific information is handled in a light tone with plenty of examples. With his analyses of frying, roasting, and other processes, Parsons proves that the unexamined dish is far less rewarding than the meal we understand. (May 9)Forecasts: A truly valuable resource for the serious cook, with excellent recipes to boot, this deserves a wide audience, but its vague title may perplex potential readers.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
Award-winning journalist and Los Angeles Times food editor Parsons offers this delightful book that is one part kitchen science, one part cookbook. Ever wonder why onions make people cry, or why some potatoes are better for boiling rather than baking? The author answers these questions and discusses other basic issues like cooking processes (e.g., frying, emulsifying, and roasting). Using the premise that an understanding of the basics enables people to become better cooks, the book uses science to explain process. It then demonstrates with more than 100 recipes, ranging from macaroni and cheese with green onions and ham to apricot-almond clafoutis. While the author's conversational tone simplifies complex scientific processes, it sometimes makes it difficult to glean information; thankfully, each section contains lists of cooking tips and advice for quick reference. Recommended for public and academic libraries. Pauline Baughman, Multnomah Cty. Lib., Portland, OR
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
This book is well-organized. Separated into chapters about frying, produce, eggs, starches, meats and doughs, approximately a dozen pages of explanatory text is followed by a chapter synopsis and then recipes.
There were more recipes than I'd expected, and sometimes these seemed to be chosen more for illustrating the principles discussed than for being appetizing, but there are also quite a few delicious-sounding recipes and the several that I've tried so far have been winners. If you love goat cheese, salmon or lamb, as the author seems to, you will find a LOT to do!
All-in-all, I thoroughly enjoyed the fascinating and lucid text, and learned a lot. The author writes well and explains the science of cooking in a clear manner. The recipes are a mixed bag, but there are so many that you will undoubtedly find a number that will be of interest. Bon appetit!
I grew up on a farm, and thought I knew everything necessary about produce and fruits, but was I ever wrong. The writing is enjoyable and the recipes are practical. There are some very useful instructions on which fruits and vegetables should go in the refrigerator and which should never, which I did not know, but which are already making a difference in our kitchen habits and more satisfaction in our cooking.
I found it odd it did not contain a great chapter on cheese and other dairy products, which was what I was looking for. Other than this curious ommission, it's a very good "light reference book" (meaning you can enjoy reading it and skip around in it).
RECOMMENDED for anyone who wants to understand how to prepare tastier and more nutritious dishes.
Most recent customer reviews
different temperatures yields different results.Read more