Thursday, December 9, 2010
"Cooking for Geeks" Gets into the Science of Cooking
Steve Cavendish, Tribune Newspapers
December 8, 2010
For most cooks, food is a question of how. How many teaspoons? How many pounds? How many degrees?
For geeks, food is fundamentally a question of why.
Instead of "How do I brine a turkey?" it's "Why does osmosis push moisture back into the bird?"
Instead of "How should I brown these potatoes?" it's "Why does a Maillard reaction make food tasty?"
Food geek Jeff Potter delves into these questions and more in his book "Cooking for Geeks" (O'Reilly, $34.99), an excellent walk through the science of food and the basic techniques to turn that knowledge into flavor.
Now, to be sure, Harold McGee (who appears in an interview in the book) traveled down the science portion of this path already in his seminal "On Food and Cooking." But Potter taps into the trend of food experimentation and gadgetry that has invaded our kitchens.
"Overly intellectual. Obsessed with details. Going beyond the point where a mainstream user would stop," Potter writes. "A geek is anyone who dwells with some obsession on why something works and how to make that something better. And it's become a badge of honor to be a geek."
Read the entire story here.