The Curious Cook: Taking the lid off kitchen facts and fallacies

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9780004126630: The Curious Cook: Taking the lid off kitchen facts and fallacies

Following his overview of kitchen science and lore, "On Food and Cooking", Henry McGee investigates further the science of everyday cooking. He applies a scrupulous scientific method to his activities with pots and pans, examining many traditional practices and the biochemical nature of common foods. He examines such questions as why lettuces, avocados and basil turn brown, whether it is preferable to clean mushrooms with a moist cloth instead of rinsing them, and whether hot water freezes faster than cool water. McGee also looks at increased concern about various illnesses in the light of current eating habits. Taking heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer's in turn, he aims to get at the facts underlying the current dietary controversies. His findings are intended to put to rest many time-honoured myths and help readers develop a balanced outlook on diet and health.

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From the Back Cover:

After finishing his classic, encyclopaedic overview of kitchen science and lore, ' On Food and Cooking' (winner of the 1986 Andre Simon Award), Harold McGee set out further to investigate the science of everyday cooking. The result is the light hearted but eminently informative 'The Curious Cook', certain to become a kitchen classic as well as an armchair favourite, in which McGee applies a scrupulous scientific method to his activities with pots and pans. He offers a feast of chapters that answer questions such as:
• Why do lettuces, avocados and basil leaves turn brown?
• How do you keep tender meats from becoming tough by the end of the braise?
• Is it preferable to clean mushrooms with a moist cloth instead of rinsing them?
• Does hot water freeze faster than cool water?
• How do you take the wind out of Jerusalem artichokes?
• What's the secret to beurre blanc

McGee also muses on the fact that although many of us are eating better and more variously than ever before, we're also more anxious that our eating habits will do us in. Taking heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer's in turn, he gets at the facts underlying the current dietary controversies. His findings put to rest many time-honoured myths and help us develop a balanced outlook on diet and health.

McGee is a rarity – a good writer with a knack for science, and a scientist with a penchant for grace and style. Filled with literary and historical anecdotes and packed with fascinating scientific lore, ' The Curious Cook' demonstrates that science can enrich our experiences of cooking, eating – and living.

About the Author:

Harold McGee has a science degree from the California Institute of Technology and a doctorate in English Literature from Yale, where he subsequently taught. He now lives in Palo Alto, California and writes about science. In 1985 he was the first ever guest of honour at the Oxford Food Symposium, and in 1991 he delivered the annual Badoit Lecture in London. His first book, ‘On Food and Cooking’, won the 1986 Andre Simon Memorial Award.

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