Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Excited about this new food science book...

Jennifer Huget's article from the Washington Post reviewing "The Science of Good Food," a new book by cookbook author David Joachim and co-author Andrew Schloss, has convinced me that I need to read and own it. Usually I am not too interested in the whole "nutritionism" push but I do love science writing and was recently captivated by a television special on Parisian food that highlighted a chef who works closely with a scientist to create unique taste and texture sensations in food so... it is definitely on my Christmas list.

About the book - from the Post article:
"Joachim's goal in this new tome (subtitled 'The ultimate reference on how cooking works') is to translate food science into lay terms, making it easily accessible to both the home cook and the professional chef. The result is an A-Z encyclopedia, obsessively cross-referenced and indexed, and so rich in dietary detail and fun facts that -- at 624 pages and more than three pounds -- it's addictive."

"Each major topic, from acid to wine, is broken down into three sections: "What It Is," "What It Does," and "How It Works.""

"There are charts ("Common Nuts," featuring uses and nutrition data for more than a dozen varieties), graphs ("Flavor Profile for Strawberry Shortcake") and informative illustrations ("Anatomy of Citrus"). All are peppered with "fast facts" ("The florets of broccoli have about 35 percent more beta carotene than the stalks, and frozen broccoli has about 75 percent of the calcium of fresh broccoli."). Then there are the "science wise" tidbits and scraps of "kitchen wisdom": "When fully cooked, the meat of young poultry may appear red at the bone. The discoloration occurs because hemoglobin seeps from bone marrow through their young, porous bones." I never knew that. And Joachim tops it off with more than 100 recipes drawing on knowledge imparted in the book."

"A section explaining how grilling meat can create potentially carcinogenic compounds called PAHs -- polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons -- is neatly paired with ideas for keeping PAHS from forming: Marinate your meat before cooking, keep it away from high flames, and cut away excess fat before grilling."

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