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Kitchen Mysteries: Revealing the Science of Cooking

Kitchen Mysteries: Revealing the Science of Cooking

Paperback Arts and Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History

By (author) Herve This, Translated by Jody Gladding

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  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Format: Paperback | 232 pages
  • Dimensions: 150mm x 201mm x 15mm | 295g
  • Publication date: 1 August 2010
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0231141718
  • ISBN 13: 9780231141710
  • Illustrations note: 98 black & white illustrations
  • Sales rank: 156,271

Product description

An international celebrity and founder of molecular gastronomy, or the scientific investigation of culinary practice, Herve This is known for his ground-breaking research into the chemistry and physics behind everyday cooking. His work is consulted widely by amateur cooks and professional chefs and has changed the way food is approached and prepared all over the world. In Kitchen Mysteries, Herve This offers a second helping of his world-renowned insight into the science of cooking, answering such fundamental questions as what causes vegetables to change color when cooked and how to keep a souffle from falling. He illuminates abstract concepts with practical advice and concrete examples--for instance, how sauteing in butter chemically alters the molecules of mushrooms--so that cooks of every stripe can thoroughly comprehend the scientific principles of food. Kitchen Mysteries begins with a brief overview of molecular gastronomy and the importance of understanding the physiology of taste. A successful meal depends as much on a cook's skilled orchestration of taste, odors, colors, consistencies, and other sensations as on the delicate balance of ingredients. Herve then dives into the main course, discussing the science behind many meals' basic components: eggs, milk, bread, sugar, fruit, yogurt, alcohol, and cheese, among other items. He also unravels the mystery of tenderizing enzymes and gelatins and the preparation of soups and stews, salads and sauces, sorbet, cakes, and pastries. Herve explores the effects of boiling, steaming, braising, roasting, deep-frying, sauteing, grilling, salting, and microwaving, and devotes a chapter to kitchen utensils, recommending the best way to refurbish silverware and use copper. By sharing the empirical principles chefs have valued for generations, Herve This adds another dimension to the suggestions of cookbook authors. He shows how to adapt recipes to available ingredients and how to modify proposed methods to the utensils at hand. His revelations make difficult recipes easier to attempt and allow for even more creativity and experimentation. Promising to answer your most compelling kitchen questions, Herve This continues to make the complex science of food digestible to the cook.

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Author information

Herve This is a physical chemist on the staff of the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique in Paris. He is the author of Columbia's Molecular Gastronomy and of several other books on food and cooking. He is a monthly contributor to Pour la Science, the French-language edition of Scientific American.Jody Gladding is a poet and has translated twenty works from French, most recently, Madeleine Ferriere's Sacred Cow Mad Cow, which also appears in the Arts and Traditions of the Table series.

Review quote

Fans of 'Curious Cook' Harold McGee will relish the latest from This ( Molecular Gastronomy), a French chemist and foodie hero who has helped to usher in the current restaurant world vogue for turning the kitchen into a laboratory... Even those who might be turned off by the thought of food chemistry will quickly be drawn in by his obvious love of food and eagerness to apply his research to helping people cook better. Publishers Weekly 6/2007 This has made invisible processes visible, revealed the mysteries, and the bread has risen, baked, and been enjoyed. -- Claudia Kousoulas Appetite for Books Cooks who want to learn more about the chemistry and physics that make their efforts possible will discover useful things here. Booklist 11/1/07 This's molecular gastronomy is garnished with the author's own rich philosophy of food and flavor. -- Peter Barham Nature Vol 450. No 22 An exuberant paean for the role of science in cooking... This's book performs a great service. -- Len Fisher Times Higher Education Supplement 11/16/07 This book should be in every kitchen. -- Christine Sismondo Toronto Star 12/2/07 [An] eye-opening book. -- Kate Colquhoun Portsmouth Herald 3/30/08 Witty and humorous... [readers] whose eyes glaze over at the very mention of electrons may find themselves becoming entranced by This' graceful descriptions of essential chemical reactions. -- Lynn Harnett Seacoast Sunday 3/30/208 Well crafted, sprinkled with insight, and containing a menagerie of information, Kitchen Mysteries is a wonderful trip down a stellar buffet line. -- J. Edward Sumerau Metro Spirit 6/11/08 Kitchen Mysteries is another tour de force for the French scientific chef... Highly Recommended. Choice 8/1/08 This's book offers expert explanations that give the reader a better understanding of both cooking and cuisine. As such, it is enticing. -- Pierre Laszlo Chemical Heritage Spring 2009