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How to Read a French Fry: and Other Stories of Intriguing Kitchen Science Hardcover – Bargain Price, May 15, 2001
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
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
From the first page, on which Parsons explains why onions make you cry - a compound called sulfonic acid, lacking in Vidalias, which accounts for their raw sweetness - his book is full of fascinating, illuminating facts. He begins with deep-frying, and explains how to cook efficiently and healthfully, with fat. It's all a matter of getting oil temperature right so that the steam in the food repels the oil. And then there's the little details - why fresh oil fails to brown food, why batters should be firm.
The vegetable chapter - how to pick the freshest and tastiest - and how to keep them that way - is especially useful, explaining why mature vegetables are tougher, how the absence of green in a nectarine is more important than a rosy blush, which fruits can safely be purchased under ripe, why potatoes change color when exposed to air, why to cook green vegetables uncovered, why lemon preserves color.
Parsons explains emulsifying and the miracle properties of the invaluable egg; he explains how beans and grains go from toothbreaking hard in their raw state to tender soft in cooking and how this property can be used in a variety of ways from making perfect gravy to reheating rice; he deconstructs the mysteries of heat on meat and explains why treating piecrust tenderly produces tender piecrust.
Each chapter includes a summary list of tips and a selection of recipes demonstrating the properties and techniques discussed. An understanding of the science of cookery, Parsons says, enables the cook, freeing her or him from recipes.Read more ›
The book people must have loved him when he walked in with this manuscript, since it really only consists of 70 or so pages of real text about "food science" to edit, and can still be marketed in a neat niche that will disguise the kind of book it really is. I agree with the above reviewer who noted that of 100+ recipes, maybe only a dozen make me stand up and listen. The only conclusion I can draw is that just like other haute cuisine/california cuisine books, this one has that special disease which comes from the author living in another world from my own in terms of the time, and expense of gathering ingredients and preparation.
I wish he'd had more chapters and more text concerning kitchen science. At least 50% of the information will be old to a seasoned home cook, even if it is written well in many spots. The instructive recipes could have been trimmed to take up 50 pages/recipes, and the Bill Nye science act could have taken up 120-150 pages over 8-10 chapters instead of the 6 themes he stuck with. (As I said: the marketeers probably loved this.)
While Brown and Volker give scientific explanations of culinary phenomena, with Brown's chapters in `I'm Only Here for the Food' being somewhat deeper than Volker's question and answer format, Parsons is looking at culinary facts from a much broader point of view. It is as if all three understand food and all three have good scientific explanations for food facts, but only Parsons understands SCIENCE. Alton Brown gives an excellent metaphor for science in describing what he does as drawing a roadmap of a neighborhood (of custards, for example) rather than simply giving step by step instructions as one would when writing out the method for a recipe. Brown, however, seems constantly constrained by the limits of a 30-minute `Good Eats' episode or of a book chapter on braising.
Parsons addresses the whole field of food science from the other direction. He doesn't talk about what causes meat to brown (and why this tastes so good) or how simmering in water creates gelatin in stocks, or how the barbecue method is so good at producing tender meat from tough primals.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It set the standard for readable, understandable food science an average guy can relate to. I love this book.Published 2 months ago by Eric The Read
Not dry, highly readable - great explanations followed by great examples (recipes).Published 2 months ago by fLOURFACE
This book has some great cooking tips. It also describes the makeup of the food and why cooking it at
different temperatures yields different results. Read more
Not rating the book. Delivery was great, book was as described. Would recommend buying from this seller. Very satisfied with service.Published 3 months ago by J. Mis
I bought this book years ago, and now I buy copies for all my cooking or interested in cooking friends. I learned so much, and it's informed my explorations in the kitchen. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Camassonia
Really interesting. I refer to the digital edition on my Kindle when I am cooking. It's helpful to know the science behind recipe instructions.Published 18 months ago by All Views
So good, and its fun to read! I bought one for me and one for a friend.Published 22 months ago by Tov