Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks, and Good Food

( 21 )

Overview

Are you the innovative type, the cook who marches to a different drummer — used to expressing your creativity instead of just following recipes? Are you interested in the science behind what happens to food while it's cooking? Do you want to learn what makes a recipe work so you can improvise and create your own unique dish?

More than just a cookbook, Cooking for Geeks applies your curiosity to discovery, inspiration, and invention in the kitchen. Why is medium-rare steak so ...

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Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks, and Good Food

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Overview

Are you the innovative type, the cook who marches to a different drummer — used to expressing your creativity instead of just following recipes? Are you interested in the science behind what happens to food while it's cooking? Do you want to learn what makes a recipe work so you can improvise and create your own unique dish?

More than just a cookbook, Cooking for Geeks applies your curiosity to discovery, inspiration, and invention in the kitchen. Why is medium-rare steak so popular? Why do we bake some things at 350° F/175° C and others at 375° F/190° C? And how quickly does a pizza cook if we overclock an oven to 1,000° F/540° C? Author and cooking geek Jeff Potter provides the answers and offers a unique take on recipes — from the sweet (a "mean" chocolate chip cookie) to the savory (duck confit sugo).

This book is an excellent and intriguing resource for anyone who wants to experiment with cooking, even if you don't consider yourself a geek.

  • Initialize your kitchen and calibrate your tools
  • Learn about the important reactions in cooking, such as protein denaturation, Maillard reactions, and caramelization, and how they impact the foods we cook
  • Play with your food using hydrocolloids and sous vide cooking
  • Gain firsthand insights from interviews with researchers, food scientists, knife experts, chefs, writers, and more, including author Harold McGee, TV personality Adam Savage, chemist Hervé This, and xkcd

"My own session with the book made me feel a lot more confident in my cooking."

—Monica Racic,The New Yorker

"I LOVE this book. It's inspiring, invigorating, and damned fun to spend time inside the mind of 'big picture' cooking. I'm Hungry!"

—Adam Savage, co-host of Discovery Channel's MythBusters

"In his enchanting, funny, and informative book, Cooking for Geeks (O'Reilly), Jeff Potter tells us why things work in the kitchen and why they don't."

— Barbara Hanson, NewYork Daily News

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780596805883
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/3/2010
  • Pages: 412
  • Sales rank: 58,687
  • Product dimensions: 7.90 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeff Potter has done the cubicle thing, the startup thing, and the entrepreneur thing, and through it all maintained his sanity by cooking for friends. He studied computer science and visual art at Brown University.

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Table of Contents

Recipe Index;
List of Interviews;
Preface;
How to Use This Book;
On the Web;
Acknowledgments;
How to Contact Us;
Safari® Books Online;
Chapter 1: Hello, Kitchen!;
1.1 Think Like a Hacker;
1.2 Cooking for One;
1.3 Cooking for Others;
Chapter 2: Initializing the Kitchen;
2.1 Approaching the Kitchen;
2.2 Kitchen Equipment;
2.3 Kitchen Organization;
2.4 Giving Kitchen Tools As Gifts;
Chapter 3: Choosing Your Inputs: Flavors and Ingredients;
3.1 Smell + Taste = Flavor;
3.2 Tastes: Bitter, Salty, Sour, Sweet, Umami, Others;
3.3 Adapt and Experiment Method;
3.4 Regional/Traditional Method;
3.5 Seasonal Method;
3.6 Analytical Method;
Chapter 4: Time and Temperature: Cooking’s Primary Variables;
4.1 Cooked = Time
• Temperature;
4.2 Foodborne Illness and Staying Safe Well, safer—there’s no such thing as 100% safe.;
4.3 Key Temperatures in Cooking;
Chapter 5: Air: Baking’s Key Variable;
5.1 Gluten;
5.2 Biological Leaveners;
5.3 Chemical Leaveners;
5.4 Mechanical Leaveners;
Chapter 6: Playing with Chemicals;
6.1 Traditional Cooking Chemicals;
6.2 Modern Industrial Chemicals;
Chapter 7: Fun with Hardware;
7.1 Sous Vide Cooking;
7.2 Commercial Hardware and Techniques;
Cooking Around Allergies;
Substitutions for Common Allergies;
Afterword;
About the Author;
Colophon;

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 21 )
Rating Distribution

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(12)

4 Star

(4)

3 Star

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2 Star

(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 21 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2011

    too expensive

    the kindle version of this book is 9.80. step it up BN

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 30, 2010

    Unique Cookbook for Everyone

    This book is not your average cook book. There are many great recipes covering everything from a Chocolate Port Cake to Duck Confit Sugo. What is unique about this book is the scientific reasons why things do what they do when you cook or mix them together, all written in a fun and informative style.

    I have been cooking for years and I learned a lot from this great book. One of the subjects was on smell and taste. I've never heard of "supertasters" before. I now know what they are and how to determine if I am one (I'm not but my daughter is). This explains about people's many different reactions to taste, especially if you have picky eaters at home.

    Despite all the experiments with chemicals, dry ice and blow torches (which appeals to some), the recipes and information in this book run from simple to complex. You will learn how to calibrate your oven using sugar, the best kitchen utensils to have, how to cook using sous vide (under vacuum) and so much more. I would recommend this book as a staple in anyone's kitchen. It might even get those whose idea of cooking is to put a frozen pizza in the oven, to actually try some recipes, even if it's just for the fun experiments. If you do everything by laptop, the e-book version would be a great addition to your collection too. Just make sure you have a splash guard on that keyboard!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    Cooking for non Geeks too!

    I bought this book for my son at his request. As I looked through it, I was intrigued. I might have to buy a copy for myself, since we live in separate parts of the country. Last week I saw the author and the book on the Cooking Channel. Now I know I need to get a copy for myself. Cooking is science!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 30, 2011

    Perfect

    For the last couple of years I've been looking for cookbooks that talk more about how and why things work rather than just throwing stuff together. The only things I found that came close to what I wanted were library books that were old culinary school text books and too expensive to buy (as well as too lengthy to read during a check out period). Now I've got this, and I couldn't be more thrilled with it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 24, 2010

    I admit it--I'm a Geek

    Easy to read. Interesting explanation for why certain cooking reactions occur as they do. Great recipes from simple to complex with interesting ways to modify. Also, explains what factors can be modified and what variables can't without making a mess of things. DigiGal

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2013

    Ttt..okay.........................................

    Goob book but shocking expensive

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  • Posted December 28, 2012

    Highly Recommended

    I bought this for my Nephew - I will be purchasing for myself as well. Full of great information.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    Excellent Cook book

    My wife loves to use this and loves the recipes

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    Posted February 28, 2011

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    Posted June 7, 2011

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    Posted February 2, 2011

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    Posted November 28, 2010

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    Posted June 26, 2011

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    Posted January 16, 2011

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