Favourite food science books?
Hi all, I was just wondering if anyone had a favourite food science book to recommend? I'm looking for a birthday present for my fiance - something that would be a fun read and fuel our endless nerdy food discussions ;)
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http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/09/dining/09modernist.html?pagewanted=all. Be sure to see the slideshow of the amazing photos - click the inset "multimedia" box that accompanies this review.
Although I admire the work, even if I had the money to spend, it would not go to Mr. Myhrvold, given his questionable practices regarding collecting technology patents.
Th ere's a little paperback I picked up used: The Cookbook Decoder, or Culinary Alchemy Explained, by Arthur E. Grosser. He is a chemist who says: "The Decoder's aim is to provide the reader with a framework for thinking about and modifying recipes with some degree of self assurance. And this is easy to do, for every cook is a practicing food chemist with enormous unconscious chemical expertise." If you want it, check used book websites, like www.betterworldbooks.com.
Also, it's about a year old now but Colman Andrews wrote a biography of Adria simply called "Ferran". It was interesting reading but not as much fun as I was hoping it would be.
Fans of "Good Eats" will recognize Shirley by face if not by name. She's made countless appearances on the show when Alton doesn't want to get too technical. While some of the show's cast are fictional ("W" is actually Alton's chiropractor), Shirley's the Real Deal.
I forgot to mention she also has a baking book "BakeWise".
But I've found that the basic foundation of 'why' something works (or doesn't) is explained well in her books. And she does the Science chops with her degrees etc, and her books are filled with great simple accessible recipes. You can find science in basic things in the kitchen without getting modernest powders and gels. (also if you don't the know the basics of 'why' for a biscuit, you'll be disappointed with the results of the some modernest explorations).
Along with Adria (El Bulli), Blumenthal is a leader in the food + science / molecular gastronomy world and the book doesn't come with the $500 Modernist Cuisine price tag.
No disagreement that the suggestion above is a good one but for a fun read, Alton Brown's "I'm Just Here For the Food" and "I'm Just Here For More Food" are both better qualified. The first explores the basic science (or as Alton puts it, "Food + Heat = Cooking"). The second volume is subtitled "Food x Mixing + Heat = Baking".
Shirley O. Corriher's "Cookwise" is another excellent resource but, as with McGee, not what most people would call "fun".
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