On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen Hardcover – November 23, 2004

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On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen Hardcover – November 23, 2004

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Reddit Reviews and Recommendations

  • 134 Reviews
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  • 44 Reviewed on Subreddits

    Cooking (38)
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Discussion and Reviews on Reddit

Why is my cake's dough so dense and chewy? [R]

6 days, 1 hour agoDeize_Knuhtt posted submission on AskCulinary.
May 24, 2020

Hello, dear Community!

I used this pineapple cake recipe recently, and was quite disappointed with the resulting texture of the cake.

I am a reddit newbie poster but here's my try at posting the picture : my cake

Moreover, if you have any books or sites that could help me with the science of food (like what does this ingredient do to the dish, etc) I would be very grateful, thank you a whole lot for you help :)

Wash your hands and keep cookin' folks

Edit : As y'all said, the major problem of this cake is that it's WAY TOO LOADED with ingredients and juice for the little baking soda it required.

Thanks again to y'all for giving me feedback to my lame ass cooking!

5 days, 16 hours agoDeize_Knuhtt posted comment on AskCulinary.
May 24, 2020

I've only seen a texture like this once in my experience, and it was a niche situation. I substituted rice flour when cooking for someone who is gluten intolerant. It was in a cheesecake crust, in a water bath. And the seel must have not been right on my springform pan. The texture of the crust ended up like boiled rice.

As for books. Here's some really good sciency cookbooks.

  • On food and cooking


  • Anything from cooks illustrated, but here's a couple good ones. They also have a magazine that's amazing.



  • And, the food lab


  • Also, you can look up anything by Kenji Lopez, Alton brown, serious eats, cooks illustrated. You can find stuff from all of these all over the place, YouTube, websites, books. Hope this gives you a good start, good luck! 😊

Abandoned Mansion, Poor Books :( [R]

3 months, 2 weeks agoxenarthran_salesman posted submission on AbandonedPorn.
Feb. 10, 2020
3 months, 2 weeks agoxenarthran_salesman posted comment on AbandonedPorn.
Feb. 11, 2020

Books/resources on meat cuts, vegetables, their properties and flavours? [R]

6 months agobrogrammableben posted submission on Cooking.
Dec. 1, 2019

Hello r/Cooking, I'm an amateur homecook and I love to eat tasty and healthy, because of that, vegetables are prominent in my diet but, sadly, I don't know too much about cooking vegetables, their nutritious properties and stuff like that, because of that I've been looking for books/resources in those topics. Like, which cut from which animal has more fat, is more tender, if it is recommended by the author to do I don't know, hamburguers with it, etc. All those kinds of stuff.

I already have some books that cover a lot of recipes, but they tend to be USA/Europe-cuisine centered, so it's kind of hard to get a lot of ingredients that we people in the south don't have access to (like those tasty vegetable/meat stocks you get). I'm from Colombia and I'd like to get my hands on books that cover fruits/vegetables from the region.

If anybody could give some content, I'd appreciate it a lot.

6 months agobrogrammableben posted comment on Cooking.
Dec. 1, 2019


Can’t recommend this book enough. Just know that it is a dense read, though.

Any good suggestions for books that explain what certain ingredients do to/for a dish? [R]

7 months, 1 week agoKibology posted submission on Cooking.
Oct. 21, 2019

Would love to hear everyone’s suggestions on books that go into detail about what ingredients/groups of ingredients do to/for a dish, how ingredients interact, etc. I want to know more about why certain ingredients or elements of a dish work well together in order to cook more while following recipes loosely or less in general. Thanks for any suggestions!

7 months, 1 week agoKibology posted comment on Cooking.
Oct. 21, 2019

McGee's "On Food and Cooking" can get a bit dry and technical, but man is it encyclopedic. If you ever find yourself saying, "I wonder why water chestnuts stay crunchy when cooked?" that's where you could look it up. It has from a paragraph to multiple pages about every ingredient you can think of.

Ruhlman's "Ratio" is excellent for understanding the structural properties of ingredients (it mostly concerns baked goods and sauces) -- it doesn't cover flavors so much as techniques for achieving different textures by varying the ratios of ingredients.

Is there such thing as ‘cooking theory’, i.e. an abstract set of principles that explains what makes a good dish? [R]

7 months, 1 week agojameson_water posted submission on AskCulinary.
Oct. 19, 2019

I’m teaching myself how to cook. As a classically trained musician and a graphic artist, I’m used to thinking abstractly about music and design. Classical musicians learn music theory and graphic artists are taught things such as the Gestalt principles and color theory. Are there equivalents in culinary? I don’t want to just learn recipes; I want to feel like I understand why I’m doing what I’m doing when cooking in other words.

I want to learn to cook and I created a self study curriculum to go through, thoughts? [R]

7 months, 4 weeks agocheapcornflakes posted submission on Cooking.
Oct. 4, 2019

List of books I will use

The first few are classic american cookbooks

After that I have 1-2 each of other culture's food

  • How to Cook Everything: The Basics by Mark Bittman
  • The Joy of Cooking
  • America’s Test Kitchen Main Cookbook
  • The Essential Cuisines of Mexico
  • Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan
  • The Silver Spoon
  • Mastering The Art of French Cooking by Julia Child
  • Mastering The Art of Chinese Cooking by Eileen Yin-Fei Lo
7 months, 4 weeks agocheapcornflakes posted comment on Cooking.
Oct. 4, 2019

Also add On Food and Cooking The Science and Lore of the Kitchen by Harold McGee


Really great book going into detail about the science of cooking

What is considered essential reading for learning? [R]

10 months, 3 weeks agoTheFirstAndrew posted submission on Cooking.
July 13, 2019

I was at a local bookstore and I was looking for some sort of food science reference or basically some books to help me learn some fundamentals (I know that doing is likely better than reading, but I still enjoy understanding the theory behind things).

I’m sure there are lots of good cook books, but are there good or otherwise essential books for cooking theory, food science, or fundamentals like that?

(Apologies if this is a dumb question)

10 months, 3 weeks agoTheFirstAndrew posted comment on Cooking.
July 14, 2019

The bible for food science and process, the how and why of doing things, and the chemistry/history of it all: On Food and Cooking, by Harold McGee

Cook book suggestions similar to The Food Lab? [R]

11 months, 1 week ago39Indian posted submission on Cooking.
June 22, 2019

I was gifted The Food Lab by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt and I spent my Friday night reading it cover to cover. I love the detail that he goes into. Are there any other cookbooks out there that explain the “why” behind food cookery? Preferably books that don’t cost and arm and a leg (looking at you Modernist Cuisine). Also open to YouTube channels or other media. Thanks!

Best reference style book for baking? [R]

11 months, 2 weeks agofallmorning posted submission on AskCulinary.
June 18, 2019

Partner recently found out she is not celiac (woot!) and has fallen in love with baking. She's mentioned a few times that she wants a book about baking, but not necessarily a cookbook. She moreso wants to learn the history, what the various ingredients do, etc.

Basically, if you're familiar, something similar to Sauces: Classical and Contemporary Sauce Making by James Peterson but for baking.


11 months, 2 weeks agofallmorning posted comment on AskCulinary.
June 19, 2019

Professional Baking by Wayne Gisslen. You can probably find an older edition at a used book store, but it is the book you receive when going through an (American) Le Cordon Bleu degree. Or was when I did it. It's great for keeping around and referencing.

Baking and Pastry: Mastering the Art and Craft similar to last book but used but Culinary Institute of America.

On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore by Harold McGee is not a cookbook, but is fun to read.

The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science by Kenji Lopez-Alt is an awesome book that goes through the science of why things work or we do the things we do when cooking. Includes lots of basic recipes that work well, though more savory than baking.

What books do you recommend to learn the technicalities of cooking? [R]

12 months agoLordPhartsalot posted submission on Cooking.
June 2, 2019

I learned to cook when I was in college. Now at the age of 31, I am a pretty good cook and really enjoy trying out new recipe and improvising using multiple recipes as guides. I've even considered taking it as a passion career but have been told sternly to keep it as a hobby from chefs on and off Reddit.

My question is, what books can I read that will help me to create my own recipes and understand the so-called technicalities of cooking. Something not too dry would be most welcome. Thanks!

12 months agoLordPhartsalot posted comment on Cooking.
June 2, 2019

Harold McGee's book "On Food and Cooking", has great explanations of the science behind foods and cooking techniques.


Is Belgium a Depressing Country ? [R]

1 year agokennethdc posted submission on belgium.
May 7, 2019

When I think of Belgium, I think of (besides the cuisine) clouds, rain, and a lack of sunshine... which is quite depressing to me. Do you, Belgians, find your country depressing ?

1 year agokennethdc posted comment on belgium.
May 8, 2019

Whether it is actually better or not, that's highly debatable and according to taste. But the cuisine in London/ UK is not neglectable and has a very rich background.

One of the most influential chefs in the world such as Heston Blumenthal (which is largely inspired by Harold McGee, an American), Marco Pierre White (he partly wrote modern cuisine, also an awesome person to hear) and Michel Roux (both senior as junior) have worked their careers in the UK. Each of them have defined a part of cooking/ cuisine in their way.

Not to forget the Commonwealth as well indeed, which brought a lot to the UK.

Really been watching too much MasterChef UK/ Australia and to one of my cooking teachers who really loves to read about history/ science of food. Then again, it's awesome to hear and to know as food is a way of sharing love, express your creativity and bonds and is such an important aspect of our lives/ society/ culture.

Some books which are awesome and I also have in my collection are:

Honestly, couldn't forget the latter of course.

Cilantro - suddenly it doesn't taste like soap? [R]

1 year, 1 month agopluck-the-bunny posted submission on Cooking.
April 28, 2019

So, I have been vigorously against cilantro for a long time now - it tastes like shit soap and I want nothing to do with any of its funny business in or around my mouth. I've tried it multiple times in the past, both by accident and on purpose, to see if things had changed. They most certainly had not. Leaves, stems, any trace of this foul substance and my mouth might as well have been a frothy home for suds and sorrow.

Let's move this story forward to yesterday when my wife and I decided to try a new-ish Mexican place in our city. I call on the phone, do the usual "Ah, no, no cilantro please. Yeahhhh, it tastes like soap - yeah it is weird!" and they happily obliged with no problem. I take our feast home and have my wife take a taste of their house salsa (which we knew had cilantro in it but we wanted to try it just to see) and she (she has the same genetic defect as me) instantly said she tasted the cilantro and didn't want anymore. I, on the other hand, had no taste of it whatsoever and was able to finish the entire container of it. WHAT? How did this suddently change?! My foe had suddenly become my friend? LIES

In all seriousness I finished the whole (delicious) meal with not one hint of cilantro and I ate that salsa on pretty much everything (tacos al pastor and ceviche as well - delicious!) I'm not sure what was going on here but can your taste suddenly change within a short span of a few months? I've had no serious injuries or sudden diet changes. The only thing now that would be different is that I'm taking an acid reduction pill for my stomach. Do you guys have any insight into this? It's seriously been the bane of my culinary existence and has held me back from trying a lot of new dishes.

1 year, 1 month agopluck-the-bunny posted comment on Cooking.
April 28, 2019

Harold McGee is like the master of knowledge of all things cooking.

If you found this interesting, check out his book On Food and Cooking

it’s basically an encyclopedia of the science behind cooking. One of my favorite books. And a James Beard award winner

Books like Modernist Cuisine [R]

1 year, 2 months agoLovich604 posted submission on Cooking.
March 12, 2019


I'm really interested in learning more about the science behind cooking. I started reading Modernist Cuisine but they tend to focus too much on the modernist part (foams, gels and such). Are there any books like MC detail-wise when it comes the "basics" of cooking?


1 year, 2 months agoLovich604 posted comment on Cooking.
March 12, 2019

" On food and cooking" has always been my go to. Was a must read in culinary school . Still look through it for fun when trying new styles.

On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen https://www.amazon.com/dp/0684800012/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_H8gICb24724M3

What's the point of onions? [R]

1 year, 2 months agomagidowergosum posted submission on AskCulinary.
March 3, 2019

This is probably going to sound really stupid but what exactly is it that onion does for a dish? I use it as a base for almost every wet dish (curry, soup, pasta sauce etc) that I make but I don't actually know why. I just do it because it's what I learned to do. I can't pick any oniony flavour in the end dish, I can't pick a texture, I don't really notice it at all. What is its purpose?

1 year, 2 months agomagidowergosum posted comment on AskCulinary.
March 3, 2019

I suggest saving your money on these three books and going straight to the source.

Harold McGee, On Food and Cooking

Book recommendation for someone, who wants to learn about (advanced) cooking techniques and "why" and "how" they work [R]

1 year, 2 months agoStrozza posted submission on Cooking.
March 3, 2019

Hey everyone,

I've always wanted to be a better cook, but I've kinda stopped around the level of someone, who only learns by watching Youtube videos. I want to change that. So I'm looking for a book (or something else) that could teach me how to improve my cooking skills, to learn about why different spices go together, how I can manage preparing a multi-course dinner or even just something, which could jog my imagination for new recipes.

Hopefully, some of you could help me out!

1 year, 2 months agoStrozza posted comment on Cooking.
March 3, 2019

On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen by Harold McGee is a fantastic resource for learning the "why," the science and the history behind a lot of what goes on with food.

Does soaking soy beans reduce carbohydrates? [R]

1 year, 4 months agoNolaChef23 posted submission on AskCulinary.
Jan. 10, 2019

I have seen a few pages that suggest that soaking beans will release the gas causing carbs, and that the longer you soak them the more carbs get pulled out by osmosis. Does this apply to soy beans as well?

1 year, 4 months agoNolaChef23 posted comment on AskCulinary.
Jan. 10, 2019


I have a feeling you'd be interested in this book. Highly recommend it.

IWTL the science of cooking [R]

1 year, 5 months agoGuazzabuglio posted submission on IWantToLearn.
Dec. 18, 2018

Like, what do the ingredients do, what stuff tastes like on its own or in certain combinations, what can I substitute with what, and so on. The stuff I need to know so that I can cook "intuitively" and improve the recipes or come up with ones of my own.

1 year, 5 months agoGuazzabuglio posted comment on IWantToLearn.
Dec. 18, 2018

Book time! If you want to learn the hard science of cooking, you're going to want to pick up On Food and Cooking by McGee. It reads like a text book, but it pretty much is one. If you've ever wondered about starches, proteins, etc. this is the book that you need.

Modernist Cuisine is another great resource for the why of cooking, and looking at cooking through a scientific lens. Problem is it is super pricey.

As far as learning how different foods and flavors interact, you can't beat The Flavor Bible. It eschews the traditional recipe format and just lists an ingredient and its flavor affinities. It also lists which season that ingredient is best in, and has some mock menus.

Approach to Mastery [R]

1 year, 8 months agooobacon posted submission on AskCulinary.
Sept. 26, 2018


1 year, 8 months agooobacon posted comment on AskCulinary.
Sept. 26, 2018

If you haven't read/studied [Harold McGee] (https://www.amazon.com/Food-Cooking-Science-Lore-Kitchen/dp/0684800012/ref=sr11?ie=UTF8&qid=1537944622&sr=8-1&keywords=on+food+and+cooking+harold+mcgee), that'll set you up with a solid foundation for knowledge.

As for skills, that's on you to practice. Definitely subscribe to quality content from quality sources that help keep the passion alive and learn from that. Buzzfeed Tasty is probably the best way to injure yourself over mediocre slop if you were to mimic them (Although I think I've seen one set of hands use a knife safe and proper.)

Toast [R]

1 year, 8 months agoSand_isOverrated posted submission on WhitePeopleTwitter.
Sept. 11, 2018
1 year, 8 months agoSand_isOverrated posted comment on WhitePeopleTwitter.
Sept. 11, 2018

If this kind of stuff really interests you, you should read On Food And Cooking by Harold McGee. Amazing book about the history and scientific principals that drive modern cooking.

Can anyone recommend a good reference guide for cooking? [R]

1 year, 10 months agoNoraTC posted submission on Cooking.
July 14, 2018

Okay, so I am a rank novice at anything to do with cooking, and would like to learn. I like to think I'd learn better if I knew what every ingredient did to the recipe, and why you do things in the recipe in a certain way, so my question is: is there a cooking book out there that gives this information with the recipes? Any even vaguely related suggestions will be much appreciated!

1 year, 10 months agoNoraTC posted comment on Cooking.
July 14, 2018

On Food and Cooking is the current gold standard in books. It is a great place to start, but it will not get you to great on anything.

I'm looking for information on the traditional processing and preparation of grains, seeds, nuts, and legumes. [R]

1 year, 11 months agowwb_99 posted submission on AskFoodHistorians.
June 28, 2018

I know that in most of the world, many staple foods such as wheat, corn, soy beans, etc would have traditionally undergone some (usually extensive) processing before being consumed. For instance, corn would be nixtamalized before being ground and turned into tortillas, wheat would be freshly ground and usually made into sourdough bread before commercial yeast was available, nuts and grains would often be soaked for some time, and so on.

I'm looking for more information on this topic and wondering if anyone has any suggestions for resources. Specifically, I'm curious about the processing and cooking of things like quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, millet, barley, and rye, and nuts and seeds too like almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans, and sunflower seeds.

1 year, 11 months agowwb_99 posted comment on AskFoodHistorians.
June 28, 2018

It is viewed as more of a cooking book than a history book, but you might want to check out On Food & Cooking by Harold McGee (https://www.amazon.com/Food-Cooking-Science-Lore-Kitchen/dp/0684800012/). The book covers pretty much anything humans eat, from development into it's modern form through the basics of processing and into the nutritional value. It has a fairly extensive bibliography that should aid your further researcher.

Where to learn the WHY behind cooking? [R]

1 year, 11 months agoLordPhartsalot posted submission on Cooking.
June 17, 2018

As the title says, where do I go about learning the WHY behind cooking?

More specifically, why recipes are the way the are, why this food goes well with this other food, why to avoid using this spice in combination with these other spices.

I've seen tons of things that have charts or infographics or something similar of "chicken: goes well with ...." Etc.

But I RARELY see anything about why this is the case. Why does cooking the garlic before adding the rest of the ingredients bring out the garlic flavor better, why does cornstarch in a sauce make it thicken, etc.

While the above are very basic examples that are fairly easily answered, I want to get deep into the why of cooking to be able to craft, modify, and identify what makes something taste good.

While I know cooking and taste is a lot of the times subjective, I'm looking for things that are objective.

Things like: Bringing ingredient X above this temperature changes the way it interacts with ingredient Y, increasing the effectiveness of the paring because of some reason Z. Or, mixing ingredients X and Y before adding to heat allows them to bond differently than after adding to heat because of some reason Z.

What are some resources you know of that has this information?

What do you have that you learned from experience or someone that you haven't found in any resources that you'd like to share?

Any and all help is appreciated!

1 year, 11 months agoLordPhartsalot posted comment on Cooking.
June 17, 2018

Came here just to recommend the same book. Harold McGee is great at explaining the science behind all sorts of cooking techniques and food questions. Amazon has it here: https://www.amazon.com/Food-Cooking-Science-Lore-Kitchen/dp/0684800012

The Food Lab [R]

1 year, 11 months agocurtains posted submission on seriouseats.
June 13, 2018

I have a quick question about this book. I'm looking for a book that will teach me the techniques and reasoning as to why and how things cook. From my research, this book seems to be the best for this.

However, I also want to learn about knives, proper technique of prepping different foods, etc.

Does this book also include this kind of material? If not, do you have any recommendations?

1 year, 11 months agocurtains posted comment on seriouseats.
June 13, 2018

I'm really surprised no one has mentioned On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee. If you're looking to understand the science of food - the reasoning on a scientific level - there's no better, more comprehensive book than this.

You should definitely get The Food Lab, too. It's a remarkable cookbook. If you're open to watching videos, check out Good Eats with Alton Brown. You'll learn plenty with regard to technique, knives, process, etc.

Books about cooking [R]

1 year, 11 months agoDuplo_Apocalypse posted submission on AskCulinary.
June 13, 2018


1 year, 11 months agoDuplo_Apocalypse posted comment on AskCulinary.
June 13, 2018

On Food and Cookingby Harold McGee

ELI5: why does whipping things (eg. Cream) make them whipped? [R]

1 year, 11 months agohcir614 posted submission on explainlikeimfive.
June 5, 2018
1 year, 11 months agohcir614 posted comment on explainlikeimfive.
June 5, 2018

Harold McGhee has a great book that talks all about the science of cooking.


Me recomiendan libros de cocina? [R]

2 years, 3 months agoFeelTheFish posted submission on argentina.
Feb. 9, 2018

Buenas gente como andan. Como dice el titulo ando con ganas de conseguirme un libro de cocina porque los programas de cocina ya no me los banco. No soy completamente novato pero no soy ningun capo. Estoy en el nivel que puedo quedar bien con amigos o con una mina pero cuando se trata del dia a dia caigo en el fideo y la milanga. Alguna recomendacion? Preguntaria en r/cooking pero esos yankis y sus medidas en tazas y onzas me rompe los huevos.

2 years, 3 months agoFeelTheFish posted comment on argentina.
Feb. 19, 2018

Se que pasaron 9 dias y seguro nadie lee esto a menos que lo googlee:

Estuve investigando desde que hiciste el post porque yo también andaba con ganas de aprender potente, hasta ahora las 2 mejores cosas que encontre fueron:

Un libro de Herald McGee, https://www.amazon.com/Food-Cooking-Science-Lore-Kitchen/dp/0684800012

Si buscas el on food and cooking pdf te salta primero

Y lo otro que encontre es esto:


Un curso by harvard que es gratis y es de la cienca detras de cocinar, que basicamente te hace poder pensar las recetas en base a como interactuan cosas por lo que voy viendo de lo que va el curso.

Casualmente en este curso aparece el que escribio ese libro. También estudian platos de Ferran Adria


Good Cookbooks that give the history of the food? [R]

2 years, 3 months agojvlpdillon posted submission on Cooking.
Feb. 6, 2018

My friend is a fantastic cook and loves to learn about the history of what they're cooking. Would like to get them a gift, but I have no idea where to start.

edit! found what she currently has. She has this book called American Cake. That's what I'm going off of. But she's also a top quality cook so challenges are accepted and encouraged!

edit: thank you so much everyone for the recommendations! im pouring over all the options as we speak! i'm probalby going to add half of these to my own wishlists!

2 years, 3 months agojvlpdillon posted comment on Cooking.
Feb. 6, 2018

On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee is highly regarded as a comprehensive background for history, and science of food. It does not have any recipes though.

Good Cookbooks that give the history of the food? [R]

2 years, 3 months agono_coupon posted submission on Cooking.
Feb. 6, 2018

My friend is a fantastic cook and loves to learn about the history of what they're cooking. Would like to get them a gift, but I have no idea where to start.

edit! found what she currently has. She has this book called American Cake. That's what I'm going off of. But she's also a top quality cook so challenges are accepted and encouraged!

edit: thank you so much everyone for the recommendations! im pouring over all the options as we speak! i'm probalby going to add half of these to my own wishlists!

2 years, 3 months agono_coupon posted comment on Cooking.
Feb. 6, 2018

Not really a cookbook, But I learned more about food and cooking from this book than any other.


Is there a cookbook that actually teaches cooking? [R]

2 years, 4 months agoRainmaker210 posted submission on Cooking.
Jan. 19, 2018

What I mean is a book that is about theory and technique rather than just a list of recipes.

I don't want 120 different takes on chicken breast; but I want to understand how to cook a perfectly juicy one. I want to know about the effect of spices. I want to finally get what "texture" and "mouthfeel" actually means. I want to know when to baste, blanch, boil, braise or broil. I don't speak a word of french, but I want a book that tells me when to use julienne, chiffonade, jardinère, brunoise, macédoine and paysanne. A book that won't just say "fry an egg", but shows me how to fry the perfect egg.

2 years, 4 months agoRainmaker210 posted comment on Cooking.
Jan. 20, 2018

The Food Lab and America's Test Kitchen are great if you want to learn a certain kind of cooking. I'd definitely recommend them. The kind of cooking they teach is a home chef-based, test-driven approach to great recipes...convention be damned. I find them both invaluable.

However - they don't really address classic techniques. They won't tell you when to julienne vs brunoise unless it's one of the testing points of the dish in question. If they tell you the way to 'fry the perfect egg', you can bet it will be some clever hack to get you a perfect egg without really having to know how to fry the perfect egg.

I bought a couple of "culinary school textbook" type books which are good for that purpose. One that I like is called "On Food and Cooking". https://www.amazon.com/Food-Cooking-Science-Lore-Kitchen/dp/0684800012

It's a great reference and starting point.

The short answer is that no book can show you how to fry the perfect egg. That just takes experience.

TIL Searing meat doesn't seal the juices in. In fact, it squeezes them out. [R]

2 years, 5 months agoJackieirish posted submission on todayilearned.
Dec. 19, 2017
2 years, 5 months agoJackieirish posted comment on todayilearned.
Dec. 19, 2017

Nor does letting it "rest" for X minutes allow the juices to be "reabsorbed."

If you want to know why: meat "juice" is really just water with some animal particles picked up along the way, that is released from the cells of the muscle when they are heated to the point where the cell walls break down. This is why a rare steak (while tasty) will never be as juicy as a medium steak -until you cook the cells up to the requisite temperature, the water content stays locked inside the cells.

Once the cell walls have broken down, there's no getting the water back into them. So when the juice has been released inside the meat, it is going to run out any cut you make regardless of how long it has rested. The only reason why it may look like there is less water coming out is because the juices have already leaked out the bottom while meat was resting. If you prefer your steak piping hot but still juicy, feel free to cut away as soon as you want.*

*Source: On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee

What are some good introductory books for someone who’s interested in food science? [R]

2 years, 5 months agothemodgepodge posted submission on foodscience.
Dec. 13, 2017
2 years, 5 months agothemodgepodge posted comment on foodscience.
Dec. 13, 2017

Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking is a classic.

Where can I learn more about how ingredients interact with each other or with certain foods? [R]

2 years, 6 months agoWindWalkerWhoosh posted submission on Cooking.
Nov. 17, 2017

Hopefully it's okay for me to post this here.

I really want to know more about cooking, more than just following recipes. Like how sugar tenderizes meat or something. Or why you put certain ingredients together first and how it would affect the dish overall if you didn't. Stuff like that, if that makes sense. I'm pretty much clueless on where I can find this info.

2 years, 6 months agoWindWalkerWhoosh posted comment on Cooking.
Nov. 17, 2017

Just FYI, you only need this much of any amazon link:


theres a scene in the 2002 BBC Lost World TV movie where a character shoots a Leaellynasaura with the intent of butchering it for food. Would you expect the meat you'd get from that dino to be very gamy or stringy? [R]

2 years, 6 months agomodeler posted submission on Paleontology.
Nov. 9, 2017
2 years, 6 months agomodeler posted comment on Paleontology.
Nov. 10, 2017

Not sure the discipline of paleontology is really geared to answer that question... [EDIT] Most fossils I've tasted are tough, a bit salty and frankly too gritty to be on my foodie shortlist.

There's a few factors that goes into meat flavour and texture:

  • Fast twitch vs slow twitch muscles determines how 'red' meat is - that is how much myoglobin it has. Birds that fly a lot have red breast meat when compared to birds that fly only in emergencies. For example, compare the breasts of pigeon (red) and chicken (white). This also works with fish: continuously fast moving fish meat tends to red, meaty flavours (eg tuna) vs most fish that have basically white flesh, but have a red triangle of muscle along the dorsal line like hamachi. Ambush hunters like the crocodile are immobile almost all the time, so their meat is more like chicken breast.
  • Muscles that are continuously exercised are loaded with connective tissue and are tough. Muscles rarely exercised are tender. Compare shin, shank and shoulder cuts (tough) with fillet steak (tender).
  • Cooking technique - fast and hot vs slow and cool(er). Tender cuts can be cooked hot and fast (grill, fry) and be excellent as long as the internal temperature stays below the mid 60s (°C) otherwise you are in well-done territory [EDIT] and that is the 'stringy' texture in OPs question. Tough cuts should be cooked for a long time to break connective fibres to gelatine making the meat juicy and soft. For tough cuts, temperature can go up into the 70s without necessarily making the meat dry. Think southern BBQ and sous vide ribs. Tender cuts are typically less flavourful/meaty than tough cuts. Chicken thighs need cooking longer than chicken breast, so getting a perfect roast chicken, with moist breast and tender thighs is hard.
  • Impact of diet. What the animal eats can influence flavour heavily. Corn-fed and grass-fed cattle taste different, with grass-fed being a stronger, meatier taste. Free-range chickens are gamier than factory birds. Water fowl and crocodile tastes a bit 'fishy'. Pigeon and quail more gamey. Traditionally, pheasants and other birds were left to 'hang' (with guts in) in a cool but not refrigerated environment until the meat 'matures' and the tail feather fall out. This fermentation is the main reason for really gamey taste. Personally, I hate it and feel there are too many 'off' flavours. [EDIT] the really fishy smell of not-quite-fresh fish is TMA, caused by the (I think, bacterial) breakdown of proteins in the fish. I am not referring to this off-flavour when I mean fishy.
  • Seasonality: Animals in areas with cold winters tend to lay down fat in autumn to help the animal survive to spring. There's a strong preference to eating those animals in autumn when the fat content (and thus flavour) is the highest. Higher fat content allows more cooking techniques to be used, and allows the meat to be cooked hotter while remaining moist and tender. Hunting seasons are mostly in the autumn.

So, with Leaellynasaurus, we essentially have a wild turkey-like animal in a highly seasonal environment, eating plants in a non-aquatic environment. Hunt them near polar winter to maximise their yummy fat.

As non-farmed animal, its major muscle groups on its rear legs got a huge workout - its legs would be best for braising and stewing and would be rich, meaty and a bit gamey. Its shoulders and forelimbs a lot less, and so would be more chicken-breast-like, but smaller in proportion. Some small, fried pieces like the Japaneae karaage might be nice.

[EDIT] On reflection, the tail might produce both the greatest challenge when cooking Leaellynasaurus, but also the greatest opportunity. The tail - one of the largest dinosaur tails relative to body size - is full of connective tissue, making poorly cooked tail as chewy as tough jerky and less palatable. However, cooked 48-72 hours at 75°C sous vide, it would be like the best ox-tail stew - juicy, tender and incredibly rich in flavour. It could take some really strong herbs and spices to really up the richness into the stratosphere.

This is just my best guess as a cook who's read the excellent On Food and Cooking. I'd say, give Leaellynasaura meat a try if you can, although finding a restaurant for such a delicacy is pretty hard these days.

I stared at chef school! [R]

2 years, 9 months agothe6thReplicant posted submission on MasterchefAU.
Aug. 10, 2017

Hi guys. I'm on mobile, so apologies for formatting etc.

So I've stumbled into some government funding and got into a kitchen course. Foundation studies for chef school. We spend about 5 hrs a day in the kitchen then a couple of hrs on theory. There is a LOT of french terms to learn! In my first few days (i stated late) I've learnt poaching, emulsions (mayo, hollandaise, vinagarette) how to make and flavor anglaise for icecream or just as a pouring custard. Consumè, valoutè (mushroom), compound butter, clarified butter and quite a bit more. Its a basis of stocks and sauces to start.

What I've found most interesting, is that a lot of techniques I've seen on both Masterchef and MKR have been covered in some extent already in my first week. I found this interesting because as an avid MC watcher, I really placed a lot of "wow" factor in the masterchef dishes. I felt as a watcher, that I could never really replicate the recipies or styles. It's really opened my eyes to the level that the mc contestants operate at, especially in the beginning.

Anyways, I don't really share my love of cooking/cooking shows with anyone, so I wanted to share with people who might understand. Hope this is ok to share. Feel free to ask me ask questions and I'll attempt to answer.

TLDR: I started at chef school and it's opened my eyes to something I thought was unreachable before, 1st week in, and I can make icecream now. Take that Ben.

2 years, 9 months agothe6thReplicant posted on MasterchefAU.
Aug. 11, 2017

Best of luck.

Don't forget to get your copy of Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking.

Science cook book [R]

3 years, 2 months agosuchanjv posted submission on cookbooks.
March 7, 2017

I am a biology student and cooking enthusiast and recently have been trying to melding my two hobbies together. Can anyone recommend a cook book with a scientific perspective and explanation to it recipes?

Thank you

States are moving to cut college costs by adopting open-source e-textbooks [R]

3 years, 1 month ago2059FF posted submission on technology.
April 19, 2017
3 years, 1 month ago2059FF posted on technology.
April 19, 2017

It's a self-contained course on electronics, not at all a collection of data sheets.

To use an analogy: you can download food recipes from the Internet all you want, but you will learn how to become a cook by reading Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking (another book that would remain on my bookshelf).

Does Being a Professional Chef Ruin Junk Food/Poor Quality Food for Them? [R]

3 years, 2 months agoLarsAlereon posted submission on NoStupidQuestions.
March 21, 2017

After you've been trained to appreciate and understand what tastes and flavors go well with each other and primarily use high quality ingredients at your job, are you unable to eat potato chips or mcdonald's without reeling at the horror of the poor quality and taste combinations?

After watching tons of movies and playing tons of video games I can certainly attest to my inability to enjoy "bad" games and movies that I once enjoyed in the past. I can more easily spot the flaws and I cannot stomach shoddy controls or poor performance nearly as well as I used to before I had an actual appreciation or understanding for good games/movies.

Obviously I know food and video games/movies are incredibly different things and the art comparisons don't necessarily line up. But I do wonder if that can cause problems, I don't want to get a fine appreciation for good quality foods if it means I can't order pizza or grab a mcdonald's burger if I don't feel like getting dressed up and going to a restaurant or something.

3 years, 2 months agoLarsAlereon posted on NoStupidQuestions.
March 21, 2017

I'm not a professional chef, but I taught myself a lot about the science of cooking and what makes food good. My answer is that I don't enjoy things like McDonalds or Pizza Hut any less, because those aren't supposed to be good food, they're supposed to be a predictable experience. More to the point, it's not that I notice more when something is cooked incorrectly, as much as I now know why/how it was done wrong and can put it into words. Sometimes that can affect my enjoyment because I know somebody hurried through the preparation without much care, and because they were lazy the quality really suffered. But it's not like it would have tasted better if I didn't know that, I just wouldn't know it sucked because they didn't try very hard.

I strongly recommend the book On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen by Harold McGee.

Im fascinated with nutritional misconceptions and new discoveries and I love to read, what book do you recommend? [R]

3 years, 2 months agoguineawheat posted submission on nutrition.
March 2, 2017

It's common knowledge that the average persons knowledge of a subject (nutrition, technology, psychology) is on average decades behind the current findings.

This is no one's fault really, it takes time for new findings to travel into people's consciousness, and then they have to fight off previously held assumptions (i.e. restricting your calories everyday and doing cardio is the best way to loose fat.)

But I am so interested in this subject I can hardly contain myself. That being said, what book out there is a good intermediate knowledge source that gets into the details of the science? The bigger and more detailed the better IMO.

But I'm also a proponent of not taking on a book that is out of your league too soon. This can result in failure to understand the concepts, which will result in failure to continue the research. It's like squatting. Be honest with your capabilities, because if you take on too much, you're gonna have a bad time.

3 years, 2 months agoguineawheat posted on nutrition.
March 2, 2017

I'm really a fan of this book - it's sort of regarding cooking, but really goes into the deeper science of how food works and what does what to what and it's effects on the body. It's been a fascinating read so far, and having something that can google is even better (learn ALL the big words!). It's not fitness based in the slightest (that I've found yet) but I really believe knowing about what we're putting into our bodies is an important block in the pyramid that is nutrition. It's a large book but really well written and easy to understand- still pricey even for the 2004 update so check your library.

Also, I remember a long while ago browsing some A&P textbooks and found them to be equally fascinating, so if you're looking for good materials (you know, ones with sources that aren't their own crappy website), then you may want to start with academic material and study guides of that nature. Almost always books written by science authors will reference other materials that you can then read and travel down the rabbit hole (which is how I found the book mentioned above actually).

There are also some great classes taught online by established colleges (again, the one I'm dealing with is more food science based, but physio is out there if you look) - Harvard has some stuff out on Coursera and of course Khan academy is great for learning the basics.

tldr: If you want to bust the misconceptions, you will want to know the actual basics behind how things work - nobody will believe you when you tell them caloric deficits work if you can't explain to them how a metabolism functions.

Youtube cooking channels; can someone recommend some that are a bit more technical? [R]

3 years, 4 months agothe_greenhornet posted submission on Cooking.
Jan. 8, 2017

There's no shortage of cooking videos on youtube as we all know but, I'm struggling to find some that are a bit higher calibre with top chefs going into a lot of detail on what they're doing and why. Basically I wan't to properly learn how to cook, not just how to cook specific recipes that Jamie Oliver's come up with 15 mins before shooting.

Can someone please recommend some good vids/channels please???

Edit: Thanks all!

3 years, 4 months agothe_greenhornet posted on Cooking.
Jan. 9, 2017

If you really want to learn the details of what cooks do and why, I strongly recommend this book: https://www.amazon.com/Food-Cooking-Science-Lore-Kitchen/dp/0684800012, it is, IMHO, the cooking bible.

The Food Lab is also a good resource and there are lots of videos: http://www.seriouseats.com/the-food-lab

Other than what the others have suggested (Jacques Pepin, Alton Brown's "Good Eats"), I would also recommend to watch Julia Child's videos (mostly French fare) and Heston Blumenthal's "How to cook like Heston".

A cookbook (textbook?) that tells me what everything is, and why I'm doing it, more details inside [R]

3 years, 5 months agoBuck_Thorn posted submission on Cooking.
Dec. 4, 2016

Hey guys

I'm looking for a very instructional book on cooking, I detest cookbooks that give you recipes. I have zero clue why I'm doing anything, and I'm only able to guess at why. I want a cookbook that is like a bread book, and if anyone has ever looked through a bread book, you'll see that there's typically an 100 page foreword on what's going on and why.

I have books like On Food & Cooking but I can only really understand the bread part because it's all pretty advanced, so not a beginner's science-y savory cookbook.

Does anyone have any ideas? I want to learn how to cook and be able to freestyle cooking, needing no recipe to make delicious dishes. I know that goal will take forever, but I want to be working towards it.


3 years, 5 months agoBuck_Thorn posted on Cooking.
Dec. 5, 2016

On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen by Harold McGee


Learning to be a better cook. [R]

3 years, 6 months agoNov. 30, 2016


3 years, 6 months agoCaptaiinCrunch posted on Cooking.
Dec. 1, 2016

The Food Lab is a fantastic book!

Also love On Food & Cooking by Harold Mcgee


$10 off The Food Lab book at Amazon $17.47 + tax [R]

3 years, 6 months agoBundleOfHiss posted submission on seriouseats.
Nov. 25, 2016

For those of you that aren't on Facebook - The Food Lab page just posted coupon HOLIDAYBOOK for $10 off the Food Lab cookbook. Just ordered my copy can't wait for it to get here.


3 years, 6 months agoBundleOfHiss posted on seriouseats.
Nov. 26, 2016

Yep! I'm about to order Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen.

The code is good until Nov 28 at 11:59pm PST.

Chemistry behind cooking [R]

3 years, 6 months agowee0x1b posted submission on Cooking.
Nov. 22, 2016

I was watching an episode of House (season 6, episode 3) and Hugh Laurie's character was using his knowledge of medicine and chemistry to gain a lot of insight into making really good food. He was talking about how sulfur compounds bring out the flavor of the meat for example.

If anyone has anything similar to that, I'd be very interested.

Thanks all.

3 years, 6 months agowee0x1b posted on Cooking.
Nov. 22, 2016

Buy the book that Alton Brown stole all his material from: https://www.amazon.com/Food-Cooking-Science-Lore-Kitchen/dp/0684800012

It's got a whole lot of very good info.

How does the level of moisture and humidity inside an oven effect cooking? [R]

3 years, 8 months agoMethuselbrah posted submission on AskCulinary.
Sept. 6, 2016

Hello! I have an Electrolux electric convection oven, and I don't like it, it's European size, so rather tiny, and it feels as if the oven is humid inside. By that I mean that if I try to broil meats (convection on and off), if I open the door it feels as if the air is very moist when it come out of the oven.

I feel as if the oven maybe isn't ventilated well or something. This is just the most extreme example, the whole range of cooking feels slightly off, but I cannot put my finger on the problem.

What's the average relative/absolute humidity of the inside of an oven? How are ovens normally vented? Does the ambient humidity have any effect on this?

Thanks a lot for your help!

(I live at sea level.)

3 years, 8 months agoMethuselbrah posted on AskCulinary.
Sept. 6, 2016

Im not an expert but I would say poor ventilation is your issue. The humidity in ovens seem to very greatly. From what I have experienced, electric ovens tend to be completely dry, whereas propane or natural gas ovens have that little bit of humidity present. Gas ovens usually have those ports on the bottom on each side right above the burners and the vent is usually located in the back above the racks.

Also, I've seen better results with these ovens when cooking on a much higher heat.

Humidity is vital in bread baking for browning and crisping as well as other aspects of baking. There is a good book you can get that would it explain it in a more scientific way.


Potatoes: bring to boil or add to hot water? [R]

3 years, 9 months agoscragz posted submission on Cooking.
Aug. 12, 2016

This is more of a curiosity than anything else but I've noticed recipes that say you should add the potatoes to cold water and bring to the boil.

I was wondering if there is a specific reason for this over adding them to already boiling water?

In my experience it's just quicker to boil the kettle first and add the potatoes to boiling water, I've had no complaints about my mash, roasts or otherwise finished taters.

3 years, 9 months agoscragz posted on Cooking.
Aug. 12, 2016

From On Food and Cooking.

Came here to make sure something from that book was posted. None of the other posts have the actual science correct.

What makes fish smell like fish? [R]

3 years, 10 months agovurpine posted submission on askscience.
July 30, 2016

Also why do fish that smell like fish smell different than shellfish who also smell like fish?

3 years, 10 months agovurpine posted on askscience.
July 30, 2016

I had actually read about this in the book On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen. It's a great book (and a nice gift idea!) and may answer your future food-related questions. :)

Slow-cooked cilantro lime chicken [R]

3 years, 10 months agoJuly 18, 2016


3 years, 10 months agok3ithk posted on slowcooking.
July 19, 2016

This really depends on the gelatin concentration. Even at high temperatures, a sauce with a high concentration of gelatin will be thick. Think of a classic glace de viande. This type of sauce can be a quarter gelatin, very high concentration.

As you say though, you won't notice the gelatin in this sauce as a thickener. I agree (at least in terms of viscosity) since you really need to get up to around 10% gelatin by weight to make a discernible difference, and at this concentration it will quickly congeal as it cools.

However, the mouthfeel of a sauce can be impacted by lower gelatin concentrations. Gelatin molecules are typically long and obstruct the free movement of water throughout the sauce, making it feel heavier and silkier in the mouth.

Note too that sauces thickened with starches will also gel up at cooler temperatures. Cornstarch, like other grain starches, has a relatively high proportion of amylose (as opposed to amylopectin), which means it quickly congeals as it cools.

Gelatin is preferred to cornstarch in situations where the sauce should be translucent and not cloudy looking.

Info is from On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee

Your number one top cookbook? [R]

3 years, 11 months agosvel posted submission on Cooking.
June 27, 2016

If you could only have one cookbook, your "best of the best", which would it be? I am trying to build up my cookbook library. I am a beginner, so things with basics and techniques are the best. Thank you!

Update: Holy shit. I should be Julia Child after all of these. You guys are rad.

3 years, 11 months agosvel posted on Cooking.
June 27, 2016

Back to Basics: "On Food & Cooking" by Harold McGee. When a recipe works, or doesn't work, and you want to know why? This is the place to find the answers.


Why You Literally Can't Overcook Mushrooms [R]

3 years, 12 months agosir-shoelace posted submission on videos.
June 5, 2016
3 years, 11 months agosir-shoelace posted on videos.
June 5, 2016

just feel like this is the right time to plug my favorite book, "On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the kitchen" by Harold McGee. http://www.amazon.com/Food-Cooking-Science-Lore-Kitchen/dp/0684800012/ref=sr11?ie=UTF8&qid=1465150176&sr=8-1&keywords=on+food+and+cooking

it'll change how you see the world of food.

I found a 5 star recipe online and made enough for 10 meals. The past two weeks have been a nightmare. No combination of spices could save this dreck. [R]

4 years agoderpderpdonkeypunch posted submission on AdviceAnimals.
May 27, 2016
4 years agoderpderpdonkeypunch posted on AdviceAnimals.
May 27, 2016

Instincts are developed by time in the kitchen.

Also, if the stock you're making is hot enough to boil, it's too hot, especially if it's a meat based stock. Once you get the bones above a certain temp, the pores in the bones close up and effective flavor extraction ends. That's why you slowly bring it to a boil, then lightly simmer while skimming.

You need to do some research. I suggest watching every episode of Good Eats, with Alton Brown, that you can. It's corny, but it's a great primer on the basics of a hugely wide variety of foods, food science, techniques, and cuisines over 14 seasons of the show.

Additionally, if you are inclined towards the technical side of things, On Food and Cooking; The Science and Lore of the Kitchen is a fantastic reference manual.

ELI5: Why do you mix some ingredients separately first, instead of all together when baking? [R]

4 years agomadewith-care posted submission on explainlikeimfive.
May 19, 2016
4 years agomadewith-care posted on explainlikeimfive.
May 20, 2016

Obligatory link to McGee On Food and Cooking for those interested in a lay person explanation of lots of cookery science.

Podcast on the basics? [R]

4 years agometaphorm posted submission on Cooking.
May 9, 2016

I'm looking for a good podcast covering the basics of cooking and baking - Like what protein is and what it's in, same with carbs, how heat affects fat, etc. Like if someone did an audiobook of the first part of The Joy of Cooking.

Anyone have a suggestion? Seems like all the cooking and baking podcasts are about some particular recipe, an ethnic food variety, some bizarre food(ATK's puffin episode), or only peripherally touch on food when discussing something else. I'm also not really interested in a podcast that's going to try and convert me to vegetarian, or paleo, or whatever other diet. I just want to be better informed on the basics behind everyday food.

4 years agometaphorm posted on Cooking.
May 9, 2016

The McGee Bible is probably the best food-science oriented cookbook ever written.

This Book is basically the same content but condensed and made more accessible, so its a good starting point if you don't want a huge doorstop of a book to page through.

Good Eats by Alton Brown is a pretty awesome how-to show that combines food science and comedy. poke around for full episodes if you can find them, its worth it.

as for podcast format...not sure if I've encountered a good one in strictly audio. maybe just look for books on tape?

Chef/ guy who adopted me just gave me a summer reading list! So stoked. [R]

4 years, 1 month agoApril 24, 2016
4 years, 1 month agoCdresden posted on KitchenConfidential.
April 24, 2016

I'd go with:

Harold McGee, On Food and Cooking.

Kenji Lopez-Alt, The Food Lab.

Danny Meyer, Setting the Table.

Also probably:

Aaron Franklin, Franklin Barbecue, and

Alex Stupak, Tacos: Recipes and Provocations,

because I think every menu can be improved through the use of smoked meats and tacos.

Sorry if this is the wrong place to ask, but I need advice on learning beyond a highschool chem class. [R]

4 years, 1 month agoApril 19, 2016


4 years, 1 month agocrashtesthuman posted on chemistry.
April 19, 2016

First off, you're probably going to be fine in chemistry classes in college. Doing stuff now, short of taking the AP so you can skip a semester, won't really change much. However, if you want to zoom ahead a bit just because you like the subject, I might recommend going through the Khan Academy lectures. My experience is that they do a good job walking the line of being understandable without being condescending.

The next thing, is see if your local university has some lab-based outreach programs. My PhD program ran a week-long lab course for high school students that would let them do some simple syntheses and build lab hands.

If you're feeling particularly precocious, you could try emailing professors to see if they'll let you work in the lab. Many won't, in part due to safety concerns with minors, but there's no harm in trying.

It's unfortunately hard to do real synthetic chemistry out of the house, as the materials tend to be a little on the nasty side. Making food, however, isn't so far off. If you were a little older, I'd suggest beer brewing, but baking in particular is really just fairly straightforward chemistry. On Food and Cooking is a great reference for understanding what's happening to your food as you make it.

How does the Maillard reaction work in browning a piece of meat? [R]

4 years, 1 month agoRhapsodyInRude posted submission on AskCulinary.
April 7, 2016
4 years, 1 month agoRhapsodyInRude posted on AskCulinary.
April 8, 2016

Since you're curious about the science of cooking, here's a book you might really enjoy:


Favorite Underrated/Lesser known chefs/cookbooks? [R]

4 years, 2 months agokillfirejack posted submission on Cooking.
March 2, 2016

You see a lot of the same names pop up on /r/cooking (Gordon Ramsay, Alton Brown, etc.) a lot but I'm curious what chefs and cookbooks people like that aren't always mentioned here.

I for one am a Big Yotam Ottolenghi fan. He's big in the food world but I never see his name mentioned on reddit. April Bloomfield too.

4 years, 2 months agokillfirejack posted on Cooking.
March 3, 2016

Gastronomique is an incredible resource for all pretty much anything edible.

Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking is also a great resource but is more like a text book than a cook book.

The Ideas in Food books are pretty good too.

I guess I've been leaning more towards "educational" type reading lately (opposed to recipe tomes). Ratio is also very good. Does reddit like Ruhlman?

When watching cooking shows the say things like, "It's too sweet, you should have added an acid to mellow it out." Where can I learn about the different types of food interactions. [R]

4 years, 3 months agoChefGuru posted submission on AskCulinary.
Feb. 18, 2016

I've also heard something like when someone is mixing ingredients that they say to add fat before the dairy or some such (this is a non-specific example). Something that talks about how types of foods and flavors interact, both to complement and counter each other, would be great, be it a cookbook, tv show or video series on youtube or anything like that.

4 years, 3 months agoChefGuru posted on AskCulinary.
Feb. 18, 2016

On Food and Cooking is another good book that I'd suggest checking out.

How do I get rid of that chalky "spinach teeth" feeling from cooked spinach? [R]

4 years, 3 months agojemattie posted submission on AskCulinary.
Feb. 13, 2016

I've read that this weird, gritty texture on the teeth is caused by oxalic acid. Raw spinach is fine, but I like to cook spinach. What can I do to get rid of that feeling on the teeth?

I've tried boiling in soup broth and frying in a pan (my two favourite ways to have spinach) but still get the chalky texture on my teeth.

I need a cookbook that explains everything [R]

4 years, 3 months agoMemeInBlack posted submission on cookingforbeginners.
Feb. 12, 2016

What it shouldn't say:

  • "You should do it like this."

What it should say:

  • "You should do it like this because of this and that. If you do it like that, then this other thing would happen. Only do it that way if these conditions apply. You can also do it that other way, but then you need to take into account that under these specific circumstances this other rule doesn't apply."

Basically, the cookbook should treat cooking like a science rather than art. It should explain all the differences between preheating and not preheating, how to figure out the correct amount of spices, the different types of vegetable oil and their individual characteristics, etc. etc. etc.

Does something like that even exist?

4 years, 3 months agoMemeInBlack posted on cookingforbeginners.
Feb. 12, 2016

You might like "On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen" by Harold McGee.


I made some soft pretzel twists! [R]

4 years, 3 months agoCdresden posted submission on Baking.
Feb. 11, 2016
4 years, 3 months agoCdresden posted on Baking.
Feb. 11, 2016

For better flavor, first bake the baking soda. This tip comes from Harold McGee, a food chemist who wrote On Food and Cooking.

Obatzda, classic Bavarian pretzel accompaniment.

Homemade Soft Pretzels [R]

4 years, 4 months agoCdresden posted submission on Breadit.
Jan. 25, 2016
4 years, 4 months agoCdresden posted on Breadit.
Jan. 25, 2016

If you're not going to use lye, it's a good idea to bake your baking soda. This converts the sodium bicarbonate to sodium carbonate, which is a stronger alkali, and will give the pretzels a better flavor. Lye gives the best flavor, but baked baking soda is close.

(Linked article is by Harold McGee, who wrote On Food and Cooking.)

Need some new literature [R]

4 years, 5 months agoKing_Chochacho posted submission on KitchenConfidential.
Dec. 22, 2015

I'm getting a bit older, and a bit more serious about my work, and want to expand my horizons. I have a new job, which is absolutely wonderful, challenging, and just all around what I want to be doing. I'm learning a lot, but still feel vastly outclassed by some of my coworkers/ sous chefs. So I'm asking, what cookbooks, reference books, or periodicals do you find yourself coming back to often? I'm looking for information on seasonal ingredients, classic dishes, flavor pairings, and just general reference books. Chef recommended "Ratio" to me, so I'm going to pick that up, but would love to hear your suggestions.

4 years, 5 months agoKing_Chochacho posted on KitchenConfidential.
Dec. 22, 2015

On Food and Cooking is basically required reading.

It's fairly specific, but Japanese Cooking: a Simple Art has a ton of great info on Japanese food philosophy, seasonal dishes, and a bunch of knife and other techniques you don't get from many western texts.

Learning about the chemistry of milks [R]

4 years, 8 months agodglmusic posted submission on FoodDev.
Sept. 30, 2015

I'm looking for resources on 'milks' including animal and nut milks. I want to get an understanding of the pasteurization process and the additives. I tried excluding terms using google, but holy shit i can't find my way through all the new age fear of chemicals and how preservatives cause cancer. Any resources or books i could dive into would be much appreciated.

4 years, 7 months agodglmusic posted on FoodDev.
Oct. 25, 2015

On Food and Cooking has a couple of sections with some decent info on this issue. It's not an expensive book, but obviously this depends how much detail you want to go into on the subject. You'll get more info here about animal milks than almond milks, etc., also.

I know how to cook, but can't. [R]

4 years, 8 months agoChefGuru posted submission on AskCulinary.
Oct. 1, 2015


4 years, 8 months agoChefGuru posted on AskCulinary.
Oct. 1, 2015

I might also suggest On Food & Cooking as a more advanced book.

Books about science in the kitchen [R]

4 years, 8 months agoEdwardCoffin posted submission on suggestmeabook.
Sept. 22, 2015

I would like to read a book that sheds some light on the scientific side of cooking. How and why combine certain foods, how flavours impact our biology, how spices affect foods and the body chemistry, and so on.

4 years, 8 months agoEdwardCoffin posted on suggestmeabook.
Sept. 22, 2015

'The Science of Cooking' [R]

4 years, 9 months agofisheye32 posted submission on Cooking.
Aug. 27, 2015

Harvard University has an online course (which is totally free) in 'The Science of Cooking' through Edx. You basically sign up through facebook or whatever and you watch videos (mini lectures) and then there is homework, if you're really into it, or have nothing to do. I like just watching the vids, they're really informative and interesting. I'd really recommend it to any geeks out there.


4 years, 9 months agofisheye32 posted on Cooking.
Aug. 28, 2015

This amazing tome is amazing.

Looking for literature [R]

4 years, 9 months agoAug. 19, 2015


4 years, 9 months agoher_nibs posted on Cooking.
Aug. 19, 2015

The two most oh-wow next-level books I have are On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen and Hering's dictionary of classical and modern cookery . Hering's is not quite "theory" but it is an exhaustive dictionary; I prefer it to Larousse. It is stuffed to the brim with things you will have never heard of before; it's very, very inspirational.

Help with Learning to Bake [R]

4 years, 10 months agominimuminim posted submission on AskCulinary.
July 23, 2015

Hey all, so I've started getting into baking recently. Mostly I've just done quick breads. But what I'm after right now is to understand the science behind the ingredients I'm using, why I use them, and how their ratios can affect my end product. Ultimately I want to be able to make my own recipes, rather than have to look one up each time I want a new quick bread, muffin, or cake. Here's some of what I know so far. But I'm not sure how correct I am on any of it:

  • Flour: Obviously more flour will result in a doughier and breadier bread. Less would make a goopy mess I'm guessing. The people in this thread helped me out a lot about the differences in the various kinds of flour, something I'd still like to try experimenting with, as all I've ever used is all purpose flour. Although I'm still not sure when I want more amylose vs. more amylopectin.
  • Eggs: Contain fats and proteins for emulsifying compounds and building gluten. Quick breads seem to always have about two eggs, while brownies tend to have more. 4ish I think. So I'm guessing that, all things else being equal, more eggs results in a gummier, and denser end product. While less eggs would be more.. I'm not really sure.
  • Baking soda: Used for levening by combining with acids to form gas to make the product rise. More acid requires more baking soda
  • Baking powder: Has the added acid (cream of tartar) for when there isn't enough in the recipe to begin with.
  • Butter: contains fat, Makes the end product creamier and moister.
  • Milk: also a fat. I think it is an emulsifier as well
  • Sugar: obviously a sweetener.
  • Yogurt/sour cream: acidic. Used as binders I believe. Not sure when you would need them and when not.
  • Other ingredients that I don't really know much about their effects are: natural sweeteners like honey, molasses, syrups, alcohol, fruit juices/jams/jellies/etc., and oils.

So that's the gist of my knowledge. Can anyone shed anymore light on any of this? Or perhaps point me to a resource that discusses some of this in more depth. I know that just trial and error is often the best teacher, but on a budget, I'd rather not waste ingredients to make an inedible concoction. Any and all help is of course greatly appreciated.

4 years, 10 months agominimuminim posted on AskCulinary.
July 23, 2015

You may also want to check out /r/breadit for more information about breadmaking, specifically.

Regarding flour choices for baking, usually what you want to look for is gluten content, not amylose:amylopectin ratio. You look at the latter when figuring out which starch to use as a thickener (for example, you might want a clear-looking thickened soup, so you wouldn't use flour to thicken as it tends to make the final dish cloudy.) The amount of protein present in the flour is really the big difference between bread flour, all-purpose flour, and cake flour, in descending order of protein content.

Gluten, or rather gluten formation, is what separates a light, melt-in-your-mouth pastry from chewy, springy bread. Gluten is already present in wheat flour and has nothing to do with eggs. Eggs help add structure and richness ^1 but is not necessary in quick breads - for example, this Irish soda bread recipe contains no egg. What all quick breads contain are chemical leaveners - baking soda and/or baking powder. Baking soda also changes the pH of whatever you're making, which can be useful in ways that aren't just limited to baking.

Butter does make end products richer. The fat in it can also impede gluten formation, which is handy when you're trying to make a shortcrust pastry or similar and don't want it to be tough and chewy. Fat in a dough also helps extend its shelf-life.

Milk is not an emulsifier, but egg yolks are, since they contain lecithin.

Sugar not only sweetens, but acts as a humectant - it helps keep the final product moist by retaining water. It's the opposite of a desiccant.

Yoghurt and sour cream also add fat and water to doughs, as well as contributing flavour.

Sweeteners, generally, function like sugar with regards to acting as a humectant. Alcohol, if you're talking about the vodka pie crust, helps keep it light because the alcohol content also inhibits gluten formation (noticing a trend? :P) Oils, much like fat in butter, impede gluten formation.

My absolute go-to for food science books is Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking. While it is not limited to just baking, it contains TONNES of valuable information about the science of food.

^1 Eggs are actually super complex and can do loads of different functions within the same recipe, depending on how you treat them.

Book/Video on the WHYs of Cooking?? [R]

4 years, 10 months agosvel posted submission on Cooking.
July 23, 2015

I've bought and am reading one of the books from the FAQ, "How to Cook Everything", but it's not quite what I'm looking for. I'm all for recipes, but I'm very much more interested in learning the science behind cooking. Why different ingredients act as they do. Why they interact certain ways with different others. Why certain spices, herbs, flavors, go well/badly with others. I don't want to just have dozens of books of recipes. I want to be able to create my own depending on the ingredients I have, or want to use.

Any recommendations??

4 years, 10 months agosvel posted on Cooking.
July 23, 2015

Harold McGee's "On Food and Cooking", or "Modernist Cuisine"

Dinner inspiration - not guilty of being fat [R]

4 years, 10 months agobarrelproof posted submission on food.
July 8, 2015
4 years, 10 months agobarrelproof posted on food.
July 8, 2015

Not saying you poached them. But yea, the Food Lab has been the biggest influence on improving my cooking. It also led me to A LOT of other great people such as

An so much more!

Cooking helps combat my depression [R]

4 years, 11 months agofisheye32 posted submission on Cooking.
June 30, 2015

Hey everyone. I've recently moved to a new place for a little while to finish up my dissertation for school. My days are basically research, writing, going to the gym, maybe seeing friends every once in a while (though somewhat rarely because we all have a lot of work to do), and sleeping. It is becoming very monotonous and is starting to affect me in a bad way.

The only thing to break up the same routine all the time is cooking my meals. I love cooking and I'm quite good at it (for a 24 year old student, at least), so I look forward to it most days. I notice that I'm in a better mood when I'm doing it, too. I would love to get some suggestions from you all about things that are fun and interesting to make.

I have a pretty decent selection of ingredients in the shops around where I live, but, because my situation is temporary, I don't have the best cooking tools. I have one chef's knife, one utility knife, a small paring knife, one large and one small pan, and one small and one medium pot. I'll also try just about anything. I like all types of foods. The only foods that I just can't stand are pickles and yellow mustard, but I'm even fine with mustard-based sauces.

I know that I could just look online, but I value the suggestions of people on this sub. I haven't been a member for very long, but I always like what I see. I also thought that if I could interact with people giving the recipes, it would help a bit with my mood as well.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

EDIT: Thank you all so much for the overwhelming responses and support. It already helps lift my mood knowing so many people jumped at the opportunity to help and that so many people understand exactly how I feel. I've mentioned this in a couple of comments, but for anyone interested, please check out the films Chef and The Hundred-Foot Journey. Both of these films, in very different ways, express exactly how I think a lot of us feel about cooking. Chef is more upbeat and more about sharing with others, and The Hundred-Foot Journey is a bit more serious and personal and about tradition and loved ones. Both are totally right even in their differences. They are two of my favorite films. Please, if you've ever felt the way I've been feeling lately about the link between cooking and mood, watch both of these films. And then download the soundtrack from Chef because it will blow your mind.

I also hope I did well responding to everyone. A big part of this post was being able to talk to other people who love cooking like I do and interact about some new ideas. I did my best to respond to everyone's posts, so I hope everyone got a little bit out of it as well!

4 years, 11 months agofisheye32 posted on Cooking.
June 30, 2015

Not a recipe suggestion, but the book On Food and Cooking is a great reference book on the science and history behind different types of food. It's a tome, but I like to read through sections before I cook something.

I find cooking to be a great outlet when I'm super stressed.

Suggest me a thick cooking book that teaches me the basics of cooking. [R]

4 years, 11 months agotentonbricks posted submission on suggestmeabook.
June 14, 2015

ingredients, different types of vegatable, equipments, spices, cooking methods, etc.

Thank you

4 years, 11 months agotentonbricks posted on suggestmeabook.
June 14, 2015

TIL Bread goes stale 6x faster in the fridge than at room temperature [R]

5 years agogjallard posted submission on todayilearned.
May 23, 2015
5 years agogjallard posted on todayilearned.
May 24, 2015

A fun TIL, but the website lifts their information and text almost directly from this book.

On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen


Any websites or books that learns me more about the background knowledge of cooking or even food science [R]

5 years agoFeroxCarnivore posted submission on Cooking.
May 18, 2015

Most books and websites contain recipes which tells me when to put in which ingredient at what point and if i follow the same steps i would get the same result (more or less). But i wanna know more about 'why?' "just a pinch of this" why? Does it balance flavours or ...? What exactly happens when i boil things? Why cant i bake this instead of putting this in the oven.

I wanna learn more about different tastes/flavours, more about different cooking techniques, more about the science behind cooking. I wanna learn more about cooking before taking them into practice.

Any sources for that?

5 years agoFeroxCarnivore posted on Cooking.
May 18, 2015

Sounds like you're looking for Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking.

Do culinary students have dissertations? Is there a good place to read their work? [R]

5 years agoguayaba209 posted submission on AskCulinary.
May 6, 2015

Found a research paper on the effects of potato and rice flour in different recipes which sparked this question. I was wondering if any level of culinary school has students work on a written dissertation. A research paper where they dive deep into a technique or ingredient and write a thesis of some sort. If these do exist, is there anywhere online to read them. I imagine they would be very interesting.

5 years agoguayaba209 posted on AskCulinary.
May 6, 2015

Thank you and On food and cooking was suggested to me when I asked a question on here about food science. Here

Gifts for a young cook. [R]

5 years, 1 month agowinkers posted submission on AskCulinary.
April 23, 2015


5 years, 1 month agowinkers posted on AskCulinary.
April 23, 2015

I wish I had this book earlier in my life. Take a look and see if it might be good for your nephew.

On Food and Cooking

Also, consider gifting a long-term subscription to something like Saveur magazine if he's just getting started.

His knives might be cheap but that doesn't mean they are poorly made. If he's having a hard time making fine cuts then definitely consider moving him up to a nicer cheap-but-good knife. An exquisite knife should be purchased (later) after he's figured out his style of grip and other preferences.

How developed is the science behind the culinary world? [R]

5 years, 1 month agoApril 18, 2015

Probably a strange question, but this has been on my mind for a while. I might want to work in food in the future. I really like to see the science behind things, but any time that I look at things related to cooking, everything seems to be about "the way we've always done it", and outside of newly discovered/bred foods and ingredients, the culinary field doesn't look like it grows. Many fields expand greatly with new scientific developments, but I just don't see that here.

  • What have been some of the most recent developments in the science of cooking?

  • What are people currently trying to discover or find out?

5 years, 1 month agodrew_tattoo posted on AskCulinary.
April 18, 2015

Take a gander at On Food and Cooking it's all about that. If I'm correct( which I may very well not be) this book kinda kicked off the idea of looking into the science behind cooking. It's a dry read and doesn't really have recipes; it mainly addresses the chemical transformations that happen when you cook and why.

I made a couple of Egg Clouds [R]

5 years, 1 month ago90DollarStaffMeal posted submission on food.
April 7, 2015
5 years, 1 month ago90DollarStaffMeal posted on food.
April 7, 2015

Any acid works here, actually. I know that cream of tartar is traditional, but what you're trying to do block the sulfur bonds. This can be accomplished with VERY few metals (copper being one, along w/ silver and some others), or you can add free H+ ions, i.e. acids. you want 1/8 tsp (.5g) of cream of tartar or 1/2 tsp (2g) of lemon juice per egg white (roughly 40g for the average large egg).

[Sauce] (http://www.amazon.com/Food-Cooking-Science-Lore-Kitchen/dp/0684800012/ref=sr11?ie=UTF8&qid=1428458371&sr=8-1&keywords=mcgee)

NINJA EDIT: Acids also help prevent over whipping by keeping the egg white proteins from bonding too closely by preventing the sulfur bonds

Making homemade salami in Italy [R]

5 years, 1 month agoMarch 31, 2015
5 years, 1 month agoedarem posted on pics.
March 31, 2015

Behold, the Gastronomicon

I'm a 16 year old interested in becoming a chef, and I'd like your guys advice [R]

5 years, 3 months agoFeb. 22, 2015


5 years, 3 months agoinfectedketchup posted on KitchenConfidential.
Feb. 22, 2015

going to repeat what everyone said about getting a job working dish now.

i also highly recommend picking up a copy of on food and cooking. it'll help out a lot if you decide to go the culinary school route, or even if you don't it's still a great book to read.

ELI5: Why do I never see cheese used in Asian Cuisine? [R]

5 years, 4 months ago90DollarStaffMeal posted submission on explainlikeimfive.
Jan. 25, 2015
5 years, 4 months ago90DollarStaffMeal posted on explainlikeimfive.
Jan. 25, 2015

From the bible: The one major region of the Old World not to embrace dairying was China, perhaps because Chinese agriculture began where the natural vegetation runs to often toxic relatives of wormwood and epazote rather than ruminant-friendly grasses. Even so, frequent contact with central Asian nomads introduced a variety of dairy products to China, whose elite long enjoyed yogurt, koumiss, butter, acid-set curds, and, around 1300 and thanks to the Mongols, even milk in their tea!

I'm going to paraphrase another section, but most cheeses were not very interesting until they started being made further north because the cheese had to be more heavily salted and acidic to combat spoilage in the warmer climates of eastern European and Asia. Once it started to be made in the Roman territories, especially modem day Switzerland and France, you were able to allow the cheeses to ripen over a much longer time period with less salt and acid. This allowed for a MUCH greater diversity in cheese making, giving rise to the delicious cheeses of today.

A word on lactose intolerance and cheese. There are two kinds of "lactose intolerance" that people talk about. The first is an allergy to casein and that actually is dangerous. It's a full blown allergic reaction similar to a peanut allergy with symptoms as bad as anaphylactic shock. Thankfully it is very rare and you DEFINITELY know if you have it.

The other kind is a lack of lactase in your gut to process the lactose. If you don't have enough lactase, the lactose passes into your small intenstine where it gets eaten by bacteria releasing lots of co2 and methane, which makes you bloated and fart and all the other happy fun times associated with a lactose intolerance. It is this lack of lactase that most of the non Scandinavian descendants of the world have.

Luckily for everyone, in NON PROCESSED cheese, most of the lactose is suspended in the whey, which means that it doesn't end up in the cheese. This is even more pronounced in cheeses made from raw milk. As the cheese ages, the remaining lactose gets used up.

The upshot of all of this is that for lactose intolerant people the harder and older and less processed/pasteurized the cheese is, the more of it you can eat. Also, you can just disregard everything that I just said and take some aspergillus with your dairy product and be totally fine (it breaks down lactose for you so your body can process it).

Looking For A Science Cookbook [R]

5 years, 5 months agodrew_tattoo posted submission on AskCulinary.
Dec. 21, 2014

Hi /r/askculinary

I'm looking for a last minute addition to my presents for my sister. She is a chemistry teacher who loves to cook. I'm looking for a cookbook the explores the chemistry going on in the recipes, hopefully at a pretty advanced level. She is mainly a baker but any kind of book combining science and cooking would be great. Any ideas?

5 years, 5 months agodrew_tattoo posted on AskCulinary.
Dec. 21, 2014

On Food and Cooking is pretty popular when it comes to understanding the transformations that foods undergo. It's not a cookbook per se but it's pretty heavy on the science of stuff. I used it as a sole resource for a short paper I wrote in eggs a couple semesters back. It might not be the most enjoyable read but it sure is informative.

How to Store Homemade Food? [R]

5 years, 5 months agobigdaddybodiddly posted submission on food.
Dec. 17, 2014

I want to make homemade pasta noodles to save for later. Can I just leave them in a plastic bag at room temperature like the grocery stores do it, or do I have to put them in the refrigerator or freezer?

5 years, 5 months agobigdaddybodiddly posted on food.
Dec. 17, 2014

I think it's that they've got fancy machines to completely dry and pasteurize it.

I don't think it's preservatives, as an example, golden grains website says their ingredients are: >DURUM SEMOLINA, NIACIN, FERROUS SULFATE (IRON), THIAMINE MONONITRATE, RIBOFLAVIN, FOLIC ACID.

I'm pretty sure the iron and B vitamins are there as nutritional fortification, not as preservatives.

this guy has a bunch to say about it, including: >Commercial durum pasta is put through a more rigorous process of rapid, high-temperature pre-drying, followed by extended drying and resting steps. As Harold McGee explains in On Food and Cooking, the high-temperature method prevents discoloration and “cross-links some of the gluten protein and produces a firmer, less sticky cooked noodle.”

I've got that McGee book but I'm too lazy to go get it and find/read that chapter at the moment - I might later though, since now you've got me wondering about it too,

Cooking "theory?" [R]

5 years, 5 months agojbiz posted submission on Cooking.
Dec. 10, 2014

Is there any resource (book, website, whatever it happens to be) that teaches cooking "theory?"

I use the word "theory" lightly because I don't think it's quite the right word, but it's as close to the right word as I've got right now.

Here's the best way I can describe what I mean by theory:

If you're learning guitar, you could learn a whole bunch of songs separately. One by one, you learn the song and more or less, master it. OR, you could learn a whole bunch of scales and chords and apply that to many songs, learning each one faster than you would have normally.

Now, replace "song(s)" with "recipe(s)" and "scales and chords" with "cooking theory."

Is there a such thing?

5 years, 5 months agojbiz posted on Cooking.
Dec. 11, 2014

A step up from "basic" resources? [R]

5 years, 5 months agoDec. 4, 2014

Hi there! I originally posted this in /r/food, but I think this sub is probably more appropriate. I'm fairly new around all the food subs, so let me know if there's somewhere better to put this.

I've always loved cooking and I consider myself a decent cook (so no basic beginner cook things needed), but I'd like to take it up a notch. I don't need something like "cooking for beginners" because I can throw together a slew of meals. But it's all very random, nothing with any real skill at all.

I'm interested in some kind of resources that maybe outline the training that you would go through in culinary school. I'm not sure something like this exists, and I do understand that a lot of it is practice and more practice. Still, I'd love to find some kind of, "This is a list of what all good chefs can do" (e.g., make [these] sauces, cook the perfect beef wellington, etc?).

I recently bought the Test Kitchen Cookbook. What I really appreciate about it is the "Why This Recipe Works" section before every single recipe. For example, the tempura recipes uses seltzer water and vodka instead of tap water to slow and stop gluten production, creating a lighter batter. Mind blown. Great knowledge. I love the food science like things.

I was also looking at the Good Eats books since that was the show that got me into cooking as a young teen.

Anyway, this is sounding a little ridiculous as I write it, but it's worth a shot! Thanks in advance for any advice.

TL;DR Are there any resources that walk you through a culinary curriculum/are a step above "basic"?

5 years, 5 months agoFunkenjaeger posted on Cooking.
Dec. 5, 2014

If you like to learn about the science behind your food, I strongly recommend On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee

It's like an encyclopedia full of fascinating facts about food or cooking techniques, and it even manages to be a good read as well.

5 years, 6 months agokyrie-eleison posted submission on Cooking.
Nov. 22, 2014

I've just searched through alot of the cookbook posts here and i've come across recommendations for cooks illustrated's science of good cooking and the joy of cooking alot (cue alot bot?), as well as one for cookwise: how and why of successful cookng.

what i'm looking for is a collection of as many factoids about as many ingredients and interesting phenomenons in cooking, for example the maillard effect.

do you guys know of anything similar? this wiki is kind of the direction i'm going for : http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Cookbook:Table_of_Contents

5 years, 6 months agokyrie-eleison posted on Cooking.
Nov. 23, 2014

On Food & Cooking is essentially an encyclopedia. An absolute must-have.

Is this article on microwaves accurate? [R]

5 years, 7 months agoPuffinTheMuffin posted submission on nutrition.
Oct. 29, 2014

http://earthweareone.com/12-facts-about-microwave-ovens-that-should-forever-terminate-their-use/ I just read this article on microwaves and I was wondering if it was accurate, specifically the section on food/nutritional value.

5 years, 7 months agoPuffinTheMuffin posted on nutrition.
Oct. 30, 2014

I think that's still being debated. There are lots of misinformation regarding nutrition out there. In general there is no need to be concern about little things too much as long as you are eating various types of food. Not all kinds of heating with food is bad, there's a reason why our ancestors discovered cooked meat.

Cooking is chemistry. When you heat food up the main thing it does is that it's unfolding the protein in food. If you're interested in the break down on cooking and food perhaps you would be interested in this book.

book help - chemistry of cooking [R]

5 years, 7 months agosnowball666 posted submission on chemistry.
Oct. 9, 2014

I'm working on developing a small (2-3 credit) elective for those who would be interested in learning about the chemistry of cooking.

I'm thinking about units like:

caramelization Maillard reaction frying vs boiling what happens to food when you salt it

etc. so, basically a class where we can sit down and talk about a specific reaction and then (because we have kitchen labs at my school) actually do it!

I have a couple of books I was trying to get ideas from "How to Read a French Fry" "What Einstein told his cook"

But any other suggestions that people have would be very much appreciated.

Also, any ideas for specific reactions/labs/preps that sound like they'd be fun to you would be very much appreciated as well!

Thanks all

Medium Rare Burgers [R]

5 years, 7 months ago[deleted] posted submission on AskCulinary.
Oct. 8, 2014

I've never had one, but am rather curious to try. The internets says that if I do it myself in a clean environment, I should be good to go. But there was differing opinions on trimming the meat first. I think I will, as it's ingrained in my brain that e. coli will kill me, but how much should I trim off the outside? Or is this an unnecessary step?

5 years, 7 months ago[deleted] posted on AskCulinary.
Oct. 9, 2014

From On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee: >One way to enjoy a less risky rare hamburger is to grind the meat yourself after a quick treatment that will kill surface bacteria. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil, immerse the pieces of meat in the water for 30–60 seconds, then remove, drain and pat dry, and grind in a scrupulously clean meat grinder. The blanching kills surface bacteria while overcooking only the outer 1–2 millimeters, which grinding then dis- perses invisibly throughout the rest of the meat.

Applying Biology degree to culinary arts [R]

5 years, 9 months agoProfTournesol posted submission on Cooking.
Aug. 12, 2014

I'm currently a junior at uni studying Biology with an intended specialization in microbiology and parasitology. I've always been fascinated with food but have never had the connections nor money to learn/experiment too much myself but I've been binging cooking shows recently and I've noticed that there is a lot of science involved in aging meats/cheeses, fermenting vegetables and fruits, selecting cooking temperatures/techniques based on the amino-acid composition of the meats, food preservation etc. Now I'm wondering if there is actually a job for me out there; ideally I would get to work alongside chefs and conduct the experiments they think of with my background and experience in a lab setting. Do you think such dream job exists?

5 years, 9 months agoProfTournesol posted on Cooking.
Aug. 12, 2014

the book you need to read is 'on food and cooking' by harold mcgee

Can you recommend me any book that explains chemistry of cooking? [R]

5 years, 10 months agolime_in_the_cococnut posted submission on AskCulinary.
July 30, 2014
5 years, 10 months agolime_in_the_cococnut posted on AskCulinary.
July 30, 2014

> *On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of Cooking http://www.amazon.com/On-Food-Cooking-Science-Kitchen/dp/0684800012[1]

I use this one and its full of good info. You could basically call it cooking-for-engineers.

Can you recommend me any book that explains chemistry of cooking? [R]

5 years, 10 months agoalbino-rhino posted submission on AskCulinary.
July 30, 2014
5 years, 10 months agoalbino-rhino posted on AskCulinary.
July 30, 2014

We try to shy away from cookbook recommendations, but you will hear it any number of times:

  1. Harold McGee On Food and Cooking.

  2. Modernist Cuisine by Nathan Myhrvold. Myhrvold is considered by many, including the undersigned, to be a wretched patent troll so I won't give him any money.

Can you recommend me any book that explains chemistry of cooking? [R]

5 years, 10 months agoanbeav posted submission on AskCulinary.
July 30, 2014
5 years, 10 months agoanbeav posted on AskCulinary.
July 30, 2014

Here's a great book

*On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of Cooking http://www.amazon.com/On-Food-Cooking-Science-Kitchen/dp/0684800012

*Cooking for Geeks

*The Science of Good Cooking

My best friend laid this on us at her birthday dinner last night. [R]

5 years, 10 months agoJuly 27, 2014


5 years, 10 months agoderpderpdonkeypunch posted on AdviceAnimals.
July 27, 2014

Good on you. There's no need to incur that debt. Just experiment and teach yourself. You do have On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen right?

Bonus: Awesome blog I found recently

Components of baking [R]

5 years, 10 months agoorganiker posted submission on Baking.
July 5, 2014

Hi, I'm trying to get into baking and I need help figuring out what all these ingredients actually do. Can anyone link me to some articles about the function of various baking ingredients?

5 years, 10 months agoorganiker posted on Baking.
July 5, 2014

If you're really serious, you should look into acquiring Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking

caffeine interactions with fatty acids in a coffee/heat context? [R]

5 years, 11 months agowildconceits posted submission on chemistry.
June 17, 2014

BACKGROUND: Would fatty acids have a unique interaction with caffeine molecules from coffee? Summer before my freshmen year of college I read about the whole bulletproof coffee shenanigans; I don't believe in the mold or toxins of the coffee but I was interested in the nomadic cultures that mix yak butter and goat butter in with very strong coffee or tea.

I first began putting a small amount of pure grassfed butter in with coffee and mixing it for about a minute before consuming. When doing this I never once experienced a typical caffeine crash (very mild but noticeable) and experienced a physiological/psychological reaction to the butter coffee/caffeine that was diminished in intensity but prolonged in duration for several hours longer when compared to consuming virgin coffee.

QUESTION: Could fatty acids, caffeine molecules, and heat cause an interaction such as.....fatty acids forming shells around the caffeine molecules? Any sort of bonding? Any increase in the caffeine half-life due to slowed demethylation? Any interaction at all? Or would the effects be placebo/psychological? Or is there no certainty?

Very curious as I have been doing this for about 4 years now and have recently included coconut oil mixing in the coffee. When putting the grass-fed butter or coconut oil in the coffee I experience much less sourness and mildly diminished bitterness? Could fat/dairy consume acid produced in the coffee brewing process?

Any and all speculation are welcome! I watch documentaries for fun, I promise whatever is commented I won't find boring. Also AMA about my coffee experimentation and consuming habits. Thanks /r/chemistry!

5 years, 11 months agowildconceits posted on chemistry.
June 19, 2014

Sorry to rain on your parade a bit, but I'm fresh out of a physical organic class and am a bit skeptical. I'm really not sure about the exact chemical constituents of grassfed butter, but I highly doubt that the fatty acids in butter are effecting a chemical (i.e. bonding) change because the conditions are so mild. (It seems to stick around the environment long enough at least for these people to chart its biodegradation). The most likely chemical effect would be the formation of micelles/liposomes which encapsulate and release caffeine, but I'm guessing any kind of supramolecular interaction of that kind would be obliterated in the digestive tract for a few reasons. These kinds of structures are concentration dependent and usually require high concentrations of lipids which would be lost in the stomach. We also produce bile later on in the digestive tract to help with fat absorption, which should serve a similar purpose and would overwhelm any outside source of fatty acids. Finally, I've drank coffee with heavy cream before (not regularly, but we were out of milk) and haven't really noticed any difference (other than newfound deliciousness). The cloudy appearance of milk and milky coffee is due to micelles and other ridiculous detritus,* so if there were any preferential segregation and slow release then I think people should have noticed before now. Also, if your butter/oil coffee isn't cloudy then they're probably not even forming in the cup.

I may also just be a bit crotchety. /r/pharmacy should know better about the pharmacokinetics of ingestion and may have something to say about the formation of micelles/liposomes. My bet is that the effects you're describing are mostly placebo/taste-based, though I could be wrong. The scientific way to test this would probably to try to observe the caffeine byproducts in the blood or urine over time for sets of people after ingesting coffee, butter coffee, oil coffee, etc. It's not really my field, but the quickest chemical test I can think of for micelles and other aggregates would be to look at light scattering or optical properties before and after addition of the oil. I kinda doubt you're getting any appreciable quantity of micelles/liposomes if your oil/butter coffee isn't cloudy, but they may be too small or too dilute for you to see.

Anyways, sorry for the wall of text. I'm really skeptical about any chemical change occurring due to the addition of lipids or fatty acids in coffee. I was a hardcore lurker for a while, but this piqued my interest enough to make me stretch my physical organic muscles. Let me know if you have any questions or comments about what I've talked about!

*(I'd recommend this book for a beautiful reference on the complexities of foods - he spends more than 40 pages on milk alone!)

Can you recommend a book that will teach me about all things culinary? I'm already a decent cook with skills in the kitchen, but I want to broaden my scope. [R]

5 years, 11 months agocaptainblackout posted submission on AskCulinary.
June 15, 2014


5 years, 11 months agocaptainblackout posted on AskCulinary.
June 15, 2014

Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking would be my recommendation. It is far and away my most used culinary text.

INTPs and Fancy-Ass Food [R]

5 years, 11 months agoJune 8, 2014

Before I get into the heart of this, let me explain my biases and give you some context. I am an intellectual redneck with a blue-collar background and utterly unrefined taste. I was a poor kid and a Happy Meal was such a rare occurrence it really made me happy.

In my line of work, given the type of people with whom I must associate, I have had to become much more comfortable with more refined things. But I don't think I'll ever truly get it.

Foodies. Culture. The finer things.

Goat's cheese with lavender, gluten-free pita chips dusted with saffron and paired with local organic hummus, etc. The list goes on.

I have an extremely difficult time relating to these things and the meaning some people seem to ascribe to them. It is not that I cannot appreciate nice things; I am no ascetic. Hell, I make my protein shakes with almond milk.

But there is definitely something I am missing about the whole experience of tracking down and enjoying expensive food/drink inside or outside of expensive venues.

And the conversation! Oh, the conversation. When the topic of conversation lapses into talking about the myriad of reasons a particular restaurant's cauliflower is exquisite, I am at a loss.

This shit is just expensive as all hell, not necessary for nutrition (and often just plain bad for you), and mostly an incredibly boring and pointless topic of conversation for me.

At this very instant, thousands are taking HD photos of $15 hamburgers. These hamburgers will be memorialized in both these photos and miniature speeches to whomever will listen. I am sure this makes them happy, but hell.

I get that different people are into different things, but this one grates on me because of how much more frequently I have to put up with it.

Are any of you into any of this? Please enlighten me.

TL;DR Foodies, I don't get you.

5 years, 11 months agomacgian posted on INTP.
June 9, 2014

On Food and Cooking By Harold McGee is really awesome at explaining science and history. I honestly value that book more than any others I have read on the topic. The Chapters are:

  • Milk and Dairy

  • Eggs

  • Meat

  • Fish and Shellfish

  • Fruits and Vegetables

  • Seeds, Cereals, and Doughs

  • Sauces

  • Sugars and Chocolate

  • Alcohol (Wine, Beer, and Distilled Spirits)

  • Cooking Methods

  • Cooking Utensil Materials

  • `The Four Basic Food Molecules'

  • Basic Chemistry

If you or anyone else who sees this is interested in others lemme know.

I've worked in a Costco deli for over 4 four years and have found this very true [R]

6 years agoorder_of_the_choad posted submission on AdviceAnimals.
May 3, 2014
6 years agoorder_of_the_choad posted on AdviceAnimals.
May 4, 2014

if you like alton brown's show you may also enjoy on food and cooking

Why do some hot peppers have a "slower burn" than others? [R]

6 years, 1 month agozxo posted submission on askscience.
April 27, 2014

The habanero is the hottest pepper I've eaten, but it also has the slowest effect -- it can take up to 3 seconds for me to even start feeling the burn. On the other hand, banana peppers are fairly mild but the burn is pretty fast. Piquin peppers are pretty hot and have a fast burn (and don't linger like habaneros.)

What causes these different burn patterns?

Now, I understand that there's more than capsaicin involved in heat; there are various related compounds with similar and lesser Scoville ratings. There might be differences in how they are released from pepper cells, bind to other food ingredients (such as lipids), move through the mouth lining, and bind to receptors, but I don't have any information on that (or on what peppers contain how much of each) and a web search didn't turn up anything promising. So that's my own guess, but I'm looking for something with more of a basis in theory or evidence.

6 years, 1 month agozxo posted on askscience.
April 27, 2014

Why do some hot peppers have a "slower burn" than others? [R]

6 years, 1 month agodanby posted submission on askscience.
April 27, 2014

The habanero is the hottest pepper I've eaten, but it also has the slowest effect -- it can take up to 3 seconds for me to even start feeling the burn. On the other hand, banana peppers are fairly mild but the burn is pretty fast. Piquin peppers are pretty hot and have a fast burn (and don't linger like habaneros.)

What causes these different burn patterns?

Now, I understand that there's more than capsaicin involved in heat; there are various related compounds with similar and lesser Scoville ratings. There might be differences in how they are released from pepper cells, bind to other food ingredients (such as lipids), move through the mouth lining, and bind to receptors, but I don't have any information on that (or on what peppers contain how much of each) and a web search didn't turn up anything promising. So that's my own guess, but I'm looking for something with more of a basis in theory or evidence.

6 years, 1 month agodanby posted on askscience.
April 27, 2014

Check it out, it is a classic culinary science text


IWTL about food science [R]

6 years, 1 month agoKuopo posted submission on IWantToLearn.
April 20, 2014

If this is not the place to submit this type of question, then I apologize. Otherwise...

I want to learn about the molecular composition of basic dietary compounds in food (like how fats/triglycerides (or things like cholesterol/sodium/carbohydrates/fiber/sugar/protein) work) in simple terms, how general food groups affect the body (and their possible side effects based on data/studies), what my diet should compose of for maintaining a healthy body, what possible foods to stay clear of (raw, grains,hormones, milk in general, certain fats, other processes that aren't occurring "naturally") and how to manage them to insure I get the right amount of nutrients/etc I need. I realize this is a complicated group of questions, but I feel they tie into each other.

6 years, 1 month agoKuopo posted on IWantToLearn.
April 20, 2014

Thanks. Here's an Amazon link if anyone else is also interested.

What leavening agents were used for quick breads before baking soda and baking powder were invented? [R]

6 years, 1 month agopyrogirl posted submission on AskCulinary.
April 9, 2014

Just curious, but how did bakers get their quick breads to rise before the advent of baking powder and baking soda? Did they use natural yeasts and just let them do a rise step before baking (like traditional loafs) or was something else used?

6 years, 1 month agopyrogirl posted on AskCulinary.
April 10, 2014

If this is the sort of thing that interests you, you need a copy of Harold MeGee's On Food and Cooking.

Wow, this city is a-changin! Returning to my home after a few years & have a few questions for y'all [R]

6 years, 2 months agoderpderpdonkeypunch posted submission on Birmingham.
March 27, 2014

I'm spending today exploring all the new cool stuff that has emerged from the Birmingham I grew up around. I've heard SO much good new stuff & just have a few questions to sort through the madness— If y'all could be so kind:
1. This tunnel of lights; is it the overpass on 20th by Morris & are they on all night?
2. I would like to go to a newer restaurant in between Brick & Tin & Chez Fonfon in terms of fanciness for dinner (I'm going to Saw's on Friday)
3. Probably checking out Avondale & Good People breweries- Is there another one we should checkout?
4. Is Parkside the new cool bar on the block [or is it more of a café? (if so, how's the food?)]?

Other than that, we're probably just going to check out Railroad Park. Am I forgetting anything? I don't really want to go to go to a museum, McWayne, Sloss or any of that.

EDIT: Well she cancelled; thanks anyway y'all

6 years, 2 months agoderpderpdonkeypunch posted on Birmingham.
March 28, 2014

Anytime! I've got a ton of books and tend to focus more on the technical aspects of cooking, so if there is an area you're interested in I can, more than likely, point you in the right direction.

I do have to ask, just to make sure, you do have a copy of Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking; The Science and Lore of the Kitchen right?

How my boyfriend and I do a romantic night in... wine and mindcrack videos. [R]

6 years, 2 months agoMarch 24, 2014
6 years, 2 months agoYolay_Ole posted on mindcrack.
March 24, 2014

I haven't. I've got a bunch of science-y cookbooks.

Edit: Here is the best book I've found. It's a really heavy read, though: On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen

My other favorite, go to book is America's Test Kitchen Best American Classics. I also do recipe testing for ATK - regular recipes and gluten free.

Oh, and don't forget Michael Ruhlman's Ratio:The Simple Codes Behind The Craft of Everyday Cooking. This is the most amazing book. It's short and to the point as well. You begin to understand how a simple tweak to a recipe can create an entirely different dish.

I love how a great Mindcrack thread became a cooking thread. My 2 favorite things in life.

Cookit can you suggest a book for me? [R]

6 years, 3 months agoDantilli posted submission on Cooking.
Feb. 4, 2014

Hi guys, I am not looking for a recipe book.

I am looking for a book more on the building blocks of cooking why/how to sautee something proper.

What things release what flavors. What are some combinations one should not attempt.

What size to cut/chop certain ingredients and what that leads to etc....



6 years, 3 months agoDantilli posted on Cooking.
Feb. 4, 2014

I've just started reading a book called On Food and Cooking and it covers exactly the things you're wanting. As far as I can tell it has no recipes in it at all. It is basically a guide to how to deal with any ingredient you may come across. Simply written but full of the actual science behind how various cooking methods work.

Use the look inside feature of amazon and you'll see what I mean.

Is there a subreddit for ingredients? Explaining what they add/do in recipes? [R]

6 years, 4 months agoJan. 29, 2014


6 years, 4 months agocaptainblackout posted on Cooking.
Jan. 29, 2014

I would suggest looking into Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking. It's pretty much the definitive work on food science, and details how different ingredients and cooking methods affect the outcome of a dish.

I'm not sure if there is a specific subreddit for that exact purpose, but I would be truly shocked if you had a question that McGee didn't address in that work.

The Epic Cooking Thread of 2Xness [R]

6 years, 4 months agoJan. 25, 2014

Because CLEARLY ladies love cooking. Except that it appears we actually do. ;) I figure this thread could be where we identify who's good at what so that we can ask questions and share information (recipes, neat how-to videos, etc).

My go-to meals usually fall under Indian, Thai and Middle Eastern though I can make just about anything if I study the methodology first. Each cuisine seems to have an order of ingredients and then their own spice mixtures and once you master that you can fusion just about anything. Just the other day I took one of my favorite Mexican dishes, papadzules, and made it into a curry instead. Lo, the angels did descend.

I love spices and herbs and figuring out what meshes how and what my preferences are. This site, foodsubs.com is an absolutely amazing collection of all sorts of foods, their intricacies and tastes, and what can substitute how.

One of my favorite ways to socialize, actually, is to invite a small group of friends over and teach them how to make something tantalizing and foreign to them (such as Thai curry paste). Everyone chips in for groceries, we get to have some conversation, good drinks, good food and everyone goes home with something for later. And I control how many people are there.

As far as food science, I cannot recommend Alton Brown enough. His show, Good Eats, was fantastic at not only explaining the science behind why foods are cooked a certain way but also what steps are complete nonsense and how to make something more efficiently. The man spends equal time in the kitchen store as he does in the hardware store. It's glorious. His books are similarly fantastic.

So! Feel free to ask me anything (since I'm such an expert :l ) and also feel free to chime in as well with your favorite things!

6 years, 4 months ago[deleted] posted on 2X_INTJ.
Jan. 26, 2014

The cooking group idea sounds fun, and the replies are all very interesting. If you are interested in some "science behind cooking" reading, I recommend On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen by Harold McGee. It is a very comprehensive technical look at the reactions behind your food and how different processes affect end results.

Gender-specific conversations? [R]

6 years, 4 months agoJan. 24, 2014

I have noticed that I seem to have a tendency to not post here simply because I can't really fathom a conversation I want to have applying specifically to women.

Not to say I don't like the idea of this group, mind you, or that there aren't specifically 2X_INTJ conversations to be had somehow. It just feels odd to identify something (other than biological functions) as strictly female. And I don't know if we should all be talking about our biological functions here.

Anyhow! I do like what conversations I have seen here and so I'm wondering what/what else we are game to talk about. Any suggestions, Ladies?

6 years, 4 months agoameliabee posted on 2X_INTJ.
Jan. 25, 2014



Also, is it bad that I've spent years optimizing cheesecake recipes?

Its been 30 days and nobody suspects a thing. [R]

6 years, 4 months agoJan. 21, 2014
6 years, 4 months agoCaptainKabob posted on funny.
Jan. 22, 2014

> you don't want people trying to reinvent the wheel

Have you been in a typical biology or chemistry class? It's not like they're doing cutting edge primary research when they dissect a frog or burn sodium---it's pretty much a recipe except you wouldn't want to eat the results. "Science" and Cooking are pretty similar in terms of basic skills building and expectations (follow the instructions, basic measurements, small changes have big results, watch for unexpected deviations and use logic to explain and counteract them). "On Food and Cooking" is a badass book.

Anon is living the dream. Are you? [R]

6 years, 4 months agoiambach posted submission on 4chan.
Jan. 15, 2014
6 years, 4 months agoiambach posted on 4chan.
Jan. 16, 2014

stop me if you dont want my help... but have you tried music?


or have you tried to learn to cook?


learning to make things for yourself if you dont already can be really satisfying

What is the cream of the cookbook crop that you think everyone should own? [R]

6 years, 4 months agogandhikahn posted submission on food.
Jan. 6, 2014

For me, I have Peter Reinhart's Artisan Bread Baking Every Day and it's the best book I ever bought. Amazing bread, every time.


6 years, 4 months agogandhikahn posted on food.
Jan. 6, 2014

Can anyone recommend a good book about the history of food and cooking? [R]

6 years, 5 months agopyrogirl posted submission on AskCulinary.
Dec. 29, 2013

I've been on a history binge lately, and I've become more and more interested in how food has been prepared through history by various peoples. Is there a book or two out there I should look into?

6 years, 5 months agopyrogirl posted on AskCulinary.
Dec. 29, 2013

How the everloving fuck has no one recommended On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee yet?

Modernist Cuisine's Ultimate Hamburger [2381x3000] [R]

6 years, 5 months agoFiskFisk33 posted submission on FoodPorn.
Dec. 14, 2013
6 years, 5 months agoFiskFisk33 posted on FoodPorn.
Dec. 15, 2013

Let me help you. >There's scientific research behind it! Pick up On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee.

and >The writers of Modernist Cuisine[and website] are more aware of these things...

Weekly Discussion - Holiday cooking gift ideas [R]

6 years, 5 months agogonewilde_beest posted submission on AskCulinary.
Dec. 3, 2013

With the gift-giving season upon us, please use this thread to ask for and offer recommendations for gifts to be used in the kitchen. What makes a great gift? A less than great gift?

6 years, 5 months agogonewilde_beest posted on AskCulinary.
Dec. 3, 2013

This is more of a book on the science/technique of cooking, explaining things from what happens when ingredients are mixed, ground down, chopped, to the chemical compositions of foods and how they are affected by heat, acidity etc. Really science based and is transferable though all of your cooking.

Highly recommend it!


Making Tortillas in Puebla, Mexico [R]

6 years, 6 months ago10after6 posted submission on ArtisanVideos.
Nov. 27, 2013

[Contest] What book on your wishlist are you looking forward to reading most? [R]

6 years, 8 months agotheboylilikoi posted submission on Random_Acts_Of_Amazon.
Sept. 23, 2013

I'm also looking for ideas for what to read, so this contest benefits me AND the winner!

Link a book on your wishlist that you're looking forward to reading most. If you have three that you're just dying to read, post them all, go nuts. Can be a hardcover, paperback or kindle book.

I'm going to pick a winner based on the links, because that will be the next book I read as well!

Contest is open until tomorrow at 1pm PST. Winner will be gifted tomorrow after the close of the contest.

**Contest is closed now! A winner will be chosen later today and I will send it tomorrow!

Please KNOW THIS: There were SEVERAL people I wanted to gift because I ended up either adding their books to my own wishlist or buying them outright. Those people did not get gifted because the books they linked were NOT on their wishlist.

Hopefully next time, I'll be able to gift more :)

6 years, 8 months agotheboylilikoi posted on Random_Acts_Of_Amazon.
Sept. 24, 2013

I REALLY want this book. I've been hearing all about how every big chef references it all the time, and I've been meaning to read it for so long but never got a copy of it!

IamA Chef on superyachts and have cooked for some of the richest people on earth, AMA! [R]

6 years, 8 months agoajuca posted submission on IAmA.
Sept. 21, 2013

I spent 10 years as a fine dining chef before being offered a position on a large private yacht. I have served as both a permanent chef on several large yachts and as a freelance chef on charter yachts. The typical boat i work on costs over 20 million dollars and the private boats have all been owned by billionaires including a forbes top 50 member. I have been all over the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. AMA!

My Proof: I will provide proof to a moderator upon request. Cannot post pictures or state owners names due to non-disclosure agreements.

6 years, 8 months agoajuca posted on IAmA.
Sept. 22, 2013

On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen - Harold McGee

Alton Brown should bow down to his master.

Want to learn about food science [R]

6 years, 8 months agoSept. 22, 2013


6 years, 8 months agoburnyourradio posted on AskCulinary.
Sept. 22, 2013

I won't be the last person to recommend On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee. If you're packing extra cash, Modernist Cuisine is a set of 6 books dedicated to cooking. It's the textbook of cookbooks and has everything you'd ever want. One if the creators is part of the chefsteps.com team, which is essentially Modernist Cuisine the website. They do recipes, technique, courses and have a section explaining the science behind tons of foods and techniques.

edit: Added links

Good reads for beginner chefs? [R]

6 years, 8 months agoInquebiss posted submission on AskCulinary.
Sept. 14, 2013

I am a young cook, I take some classes here and there and I work in restaurants, but I want to hone my skills. I want to be more than just a line cook. Are there any good books I could read to learn more about the art of making awesome food? I'd also be open to watching videos or just any advice/suggestions from you guys. I'm eager to learn, thanks!

6 years, 8 months agoInquebiss posted on AskCulinary.
Sept. 15, 2013

I was just looking through my bookshelf and can't believe I didn't think of this earlier, but this book is a must have.

What are good food books that aren't cookbooks? [R]

6 years, 8 months agosmind posted submission on Cooking.
Sept. 2, 2013

I want to learn more about food, but want to lean before I start in the kitchen. Could you help please?

6 years, 8 months agosmind posted on Cooking.
Sept. 2, 2013

This is a wonderful book that gives you a foundation on ingredients, their history, and their use, all tied together through anthropology and science: http://www.amazon.com/On-Food-Cooking-Science-Kitchen/dp/0684800012 I can't recommend it enough.

What would be a useful/meaningful gift for someone in culinary school, about to finish the classroom and head to her internship? [R]

6 years, 9 months agoAug. 31, 2013


6 years, 9 months agoMentalOverload posted on AskCulinary.
Sept. 1, 2013

On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee.

This is basically my reference book for almost anything to do with food and cooking. He writes about the chemistry behind cooking, which is fantastic for anyone that cares why they're doing what they're doing instead of just "because that's how it's done."

I want advice on how to get ahead. (maybe some homework). [R]

6 years, 9 months agocrackered posted submission on Chefit.
Aug. 27, 2013

Back story: I work at a open to public country club. I just got moved up from dishwaser to cook (thank God!). Right now i work on the station with sandwiches, salads, and fry. I split my time between that and the assisting the Banquet Chef. When i was told they would train me on the line i figured i would learn it quick and move on down the line, learn all i can learn intel there's nothing left to learn from them and then move on (up) to another restaurant where i can learn more. If i stay in the restaurant game i want to move towards fine dining (as of right now at least). Well, i'm going slower then i imagined in terms of becoming an adequate cook. I'm wondering, what would your advice be to a rookie, with the end goal of fine dining. WHAT I'M REALLY WONDERING IS IF YOU HAD TO ASSIGN A COOK HOMEWORK, WHAT WOULD YOU GIVE ME? So i can both learn the basic stuff on the job, and stuff that may come later or even fall through the cracks now.

6 years, 9 months agocrackered posted on Chefit.
Aug. 27, 2013

Chopping skills has to be high up on the list. I don't have a good book on this, but have seen several possible good ones on Amazon. There are lots of videos online as well. I'd learn and master all types of cuts on all types of items (meat, veggies, fruit, etc).

If you're wanting to be a chef (i.e. not just a cook), having some knowledge about why methods/recipes are a certain way would be good too (e.g. books like On Food and Cooking: http://www.amazon.com/On-Food-Cooking-Science-Kitchen/dp/0684800012).

Not quite a direct answer to your question, but hopefully useful

Is there anywhere I can go to learn more about cooking and chem and their connections? [R]

6 years, 9 months agodoctor_feel_good posted submission on chemistry.
Aug. 26, 2013

I want to be able to be a better ccook, and because I love chem I would want to use chemistry-backed evidence to help my cooking and learn more about the reactions of foods during cooking!

Any help would be appreciated, Im open to any suggestions for learning more about this! Thanks!

Chefs of /r/ cooking, how can I learn to be less dependent on recipes? [R]

6 years, 9 months agoAug. 22, 2013


6 years, 9 months agoSpetsnazCyclist posted on Cooking.
Aug. 23, 2013

^ This. Especially tweaking recipes, that's where I started. Just make a substitution, add a little bit of some spice, switch the fat you're using. I highly highly HIGHLY recommend this book, especially if you are science-minded (as a chemical engineer, it's awesome to make connections from stuff I learned in class to the kitchen)

DIY "Vitamin" Water [R]

6 years, 9 months agosaucerjess posted submission on foodhacks.
Aug. 6, 2013

I didn't see this when I searched /r/Foodhacks for "Water". This is something they started doing as a courtesy at my work and I now do at home.

Take a large pitcher and 2 or 3 of your favorite fruits (For my first attempt it was Kiwi, Strawberry & Lime) Slice fruit, put into pitcher.. Add about 1 - 2 inches of Crushed/Bagged ice, add another layer of fruit, fill to the top with ice, throw a bit more fruit on top (for good measure). Now, fill the entire pitcher/container with water and place in the fridge/drink as desired. I found that in my fridge, by the end of day 4 (early day 5) there was still "some ice" in the water. You can also replenish the water as you drink to ensure it stays full for those days.

I have nearly stopped drinking soda all together since I started doing this. The reason I call this "Vitamin" water, is, as the fruits break down they become tiny miniscule particles and you drink them naturally. Clearly, there are any vitamins as provided by the fruit itself.

Other combinations I have tried:

Blackberry Banana, & Lemon

Blackberry, Raspberry and Lime

Just this morning I made "Pink Grapefruit, Blueberry & slice of Lime and a little bit of fresh Mint..

6 years, 9 months agosaucerjess posted on foodhacks.
Aug. 8, 2013

ya, they only talk about proteins in that the capsaicin bonds to the specific protein TRPV1 that makes your neurons sense spicy or hot; now tasty is another thing entirely :)

Harold McGee writes some cool shit on food science. It's how I learned to cook in the first place. Here's my favorite.

Since you guys liked my shooter sandwich so much here are some poached eggs with the bread scraps from the shooter that I cooked this morning [R]

6 years, 10 months agoKralle333 posted submission on foodhacks.
July 14, 2013
6 years, 10 months agoKralle333 posted on foodhacks.
July 17, 2013

From this book:

Adding salt and vinegar to the cooking water, for example, does speed coagulation, but it also produces shreds and an irregular film over the egg surface.

Also heard Heston Blumenthal saying that you shouldnt swirl and/or add stuff the the poaching water.

It did wonders for me [R]

6 years, 11 months agogjallard posted submission on AdviceAnimals.
June 13, 2013
6 years, 11 months agogjallard posted on AdviceAnimals.
June 13, 2013

And also get and read this book,

On Food and Cooking: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0684800012

You'll see Alton Brown occasionally holding this book during his shows. It is NOT a cookbook, it is a manual on WHY cooking does what it does.

It did wonders for me [R]

6 years, 11 months agoNateDawg007 posted submission on AdviceAnimals.
June 13, 2013
6 years, 11 months agoNateDawg007 posted on AdviceAnimals.
June 13, 2013

Or read this book. Amazing science up in here.

Hi, I've been cooking for awhile but would like to expand my knowledge with a little reading. [R]

6 years, 11 months agooverduebook posted submission on Cooking.
June 8, 2013

It's hard for me to put into words want I'm looking for so its hard to google. I've been cooking meals for awhile now, nothing fancy or artful, but good enough for family meals and what have you. I understand most of the basics of how to cook things and following instructions on recipes but I want to read and learn about what different spices affect different things, different cooking techniques, why certain ways of cooking food are better than others. I want to read and learn so that I can think of my own meal ideas and recipes instead of just perpetually searching for recipes on google. Thanks!

6 years, 11 months agooverduebook posted on Cooking.
June 8, 2013

The book you want is [On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen] (http://www.amazon.com/On-Food-Cooking-Science-Kitchen/dp/0684800012/ref=pdsimb_11) by Harold McGee, which is a classic for a reason! Start with that one, devour it, learn it, live it, love it.

Once you've done that, pick up a copy of The Science of Good Cooking from the hardworking angels at Cook's Illustrated and then a copy of The Flavor Bible as mentioned by /u/pjdias below.

Recipes are cool, but does anyone have some 'how' and 'why' for ingredients/techniques? [R]

7 years agoLetmefixthatforyouyo posted submission on Cooking.
May 13, 2013

As the title says.

Sour cream- adds an accent and thickens. Flour-Thickens baking soda- pinch to remove acidity

Any more?

7 years agoLetmefixthatforyouyo posted on Cooking.
May 13, 2013

On Food and Cooking is the ultimate answer to your question. It will give you the science and why behind why many foods do what they do. Its a tome, but a beautiful one.

Can someone explain to me what happens, chemically, when my guac turns brown literally overnight. [R]

7 years agoneatoni posted submission on AskCulinary.
May 8, 2013

Every time I make guac at night it tastes delicious and then is brown by morning. I have put it in both tupperwares and simply covered a bowl in tinfoil. I can't believe how fast it goes bad!

Why is this happening, and is there a way I can prevent this or prolong the freshness?

Edit: I have no idea if this matters, but my recipe is super simple - avacado, yellow onion, tomato, juice of lemon or lime, sea salt.

7 years agoneatoni posted on AskCulinary.
May 9, 2013

you might enjoy investing in this book

The Paleo Diet Is a Paleo Fantasy [R]

7 years, 1 month agoRagawaffle posted submission on skeptic.
April 9, 2013
7 years, 1 month agoRagawaffle posted on skeptic.
April 10, 2013

Very much so. It's an informative book on all things food. That bit about sweet potatoes reminded me of a page on the origin of the yam. Check it out.

So I've been making donuts... [R]

7 years, 1 month agokasittig posted submission on food.
April 3, 2013
7 years, 1 month agokasittig posted on food.
April 3, 2013

Ah, I definitely get the most everyday value out of On Food and Cooking - it's dense, but it definitely teaches you about ingredients and the theory behind recipes so that you're better at improvising.