On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen
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Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking is a kitchen classic. Hailed by Time magazine as "a minor masterpiece" when it first appeared in 1984, On Food and Cooking is the bible to which food lovers and professional chefs worldwide turn for an understanding of where our foods come from, what exactly they're made of, and how cooking transforms them into something new and delicious.
Now, for its twentieth anniversary, Harold McGee has prepared a new, fully revised and updated edition of On Food and Cooking. He has rewritten the text almost completely, expanded it by two-thirds, and commissioned more than 100 new illustrations. As compulsively readable and engaging as ever, the new On Food and Cooking provides countless eye-opening insights into food, its preparation, and its enjoyment.
On Food and Cooking pioneered the translation of technical food science into cook-friendly kitchen science and helped give birth to the inventive culinary movement known as "molecular gastronomy." Though other books have now been written about kitchen science, On Food and Cooking remains unmatched in the accuracy, clarity, and thoroughness of its explanations, and the intriguing way in which it blends science with the historical evolution of foods and cooking techniques.
On Food and Cooking is an invaluable and monumental compendium of basic information about ingredients, cooking methods, and the pleasures of eating. It will delight and fascinate anyone who has ever cooked, savored, or wondered about food.
olive oil, for example, or shrimp cooked and stored under clariﬁed butter. In fact the term is a fairly inclusive one. It comes via the French verb conﬁre, from the Latin conﬁcere, meaning “to do, to produce, to make, to prepare.” The French verb was ﬁrst applied in medieval times to fruits cooked and preserved in sugar syrup or honey (hence French conﬁture and English confection) or in alcohol. Later it was applied to vegetables pickled in vinegar, olives in oil, various foods in salt, and meats
ultrapasteurized cream, which has a stronger cooked ﬂavor, keeps for several weeks. Normally cream is not homogenized because this makes it harder to whip, but long-keeping ultrapasteurized cream and relatively thin half-and-half are usually homogenized to prevent continuing slow separation in the carton. The Importance of Fat Content Cream is manufactured with a number of different fat levels and consistencies, each for particular purposes. Light creams are poured into coffee or onto fruit;
Tub margarine is substantially less saturated and easily spreadable even at 40ºF/5ºC, but too soft to cream or to use in layered pastries. Reduced-fat spreads contain less oil and more water than standard margarines, rely on carbohydrate and protein stabilizers, and aren’t suited to cooking. The stabilizers can scorch in the frying pan. If used to replace butter or margarine in baking, high-moisture spreads throw liquid-solid proportions badly out of balance. Verylow-fat and no-fat spreads
leak some melted fat, and extensive breakdown of the protein fabric accentuates this in high-fat cheeses. The ratio of fat to surrounding protein is just 0.7 in part-skim Parmesan, around 1 in mozzarella and the alpine cheeses, but 1.3 in Roquefort and Cheddar, which are especially prone to exuding fat when melted. Nonmelting Cheeses There are several kinds of cheese that do not melt on heating: they simply get drier and stiffer. These include Indian paneer and Latin queso blanco, Italian
conﬁt (p. 177) greatly accentuates this effect in duck meat. • Meats cooked over wood, charcoal, or gas ﬂames—barbecued pork or beef, for example, or even poultry cooked in a gas oven—often develop “pink ring,” which reaches from the surface to a depth of 8–10 mm. This is caused by nitrogen dioxide (NO2) gas, which is generated in trace amounts (parts per million) by the burning of these organic fuels. It appears that NO2 dissolves at the meat surface to form nitrous acid (HNO2), which diffuses