Kitchen Mysteries: Revealing the Science of Cooking (Arts and Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History Series)

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Overview

An international celebrity and founder of molecular gastronomy, or the scientific investigation of culinary practice, Hervé 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 soufflé from falling. He illuminates abstract concepts with practical advice and concrete examples—for instance, how sautéing 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. Hervé 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. Hervé explores the effects of boiling, steaming, braising, roasting, deep-frying, sautéing, 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, Hervé 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, Hervé This continues to make the complex science of food digestible to the cook.

Columbia University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Appetite for Books
This has made invisible processes visible, revealed the mysteries, and the bread has risen, baked, and been enjoyed.

— Claudia Kousoulas

Booklist

Cooks who want to learn more about the chemistry and physics that make their efforts possible will discover useful things here.

Nature
This's molecular gastronomy is garnished with the author's own rich philosophy of food and flavor.

— Peter Barham

Times Higher Education Supplement
An exuberant paean for the role of science in cooking... This's book performs a great service.

— Len Fisher

Toronto Star
This book should be in every kitchen.

— Christine Sismondo

Portsmouth Herald
[An] eye-opening book.

— Kate Colquhoun

Seacoast Sunday
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

Metro Spirit
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

Choice

Kitchen Mysteries is another tour de force for the French scientific chef... Highly Recommended.

Chemical Heritage
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

Appetite for Books - Claudia Kousoulas

This has made invisible processes visible, revealed the mysteries, and the bread has risen, baked, and been enjoyed.

Nature - Peter Barham

This's molecular gastronomy is garnished with the author's own rich philosophy of food and flavor.

Times Higher Education Supplement - Len Fisher

An exuberant paean for the role of science in cooking... This's book performs a great service.

Toronto Star - Christine Sismondo

This book should be in every kitchen.

Portsmouth Herald - Kate Colquhoun

[An] eye-opening book.

Seacoast Sunday - Lynn Harnett

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.

Metro Spirit - J. Edward Sumerau

Well crafted, sprinkled with insight, and containing a menagerie of information, Kitchen Mysteries is a wonderful trip down a stellar buffet line.

Chemical Heritage - Pierre Laszlo

This's book offers expert explanations that give the reader a better understanding of both cooking and cuisine. As such, it is enticing.

Choice

Kitchen Mysteries is another tour de force for the French scientific chef... Highly Recommended.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Hervé 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 Ferrière's Sacred Cow Mad Cow, which also appears in the Arts and Traditions of the Table series.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

Series Editor's Foreword vii

Cooking and Science 1

The New Physiology of Flavor 11

Soup 29

Milk 31

Gels, Jellies, Aspics 34

Mayonnaise 39

The Egg's Incarnations 44

A Successful Soufflé? 50

Cooking 58

The Boiled and the Bouillon 63

Steaming 69

Braising 71

Chicken Stew, Beef Stew, Veal Stew 75

Questions of Pressure 77

Roasting 79

Deep-Frying 85

Sautés and Grills 89

Even More Tender 92

Salting 97

Microwaves 99

Vegetables: Color and Freshness 102

Sauces: Creamy, Satiny, Flavorful 110

A Burning Question 126

The Salad: An Oasis of Freshness 128

Yogurt and Cheese 131

Fruits of the Harvest 134

Ices and Sorbets 136

Cakes: Light and Melting 139

Pastry Dough: Tart, Shortbread, and Puff Pastry 145

Sugar 151

Bread 153

Wine 165

The Alcohols 176

Jams 179

Tea 184

Cold and Cool 188

Vinegar 190

Kitchen Utensils 192

Mysteries of the Kitchen 196

Glossary 199

Index 211

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