The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Scienceby J. Kenji Lopez-Alt
A grand tour of the science of cooking explored through popular American dishes, illustrated in full color.Ever wondered how to pan-fry a steak with a charred crust and an interior that's perfectly medium-rare from edge to edge when you
The New York Times bestselling winner of the 2016 James Beard Award for General Cooking and the IACP Cookbook of the Year Award.
A grand tour of the science of cooking explored through popular American dishes, illustrated in full color.Ever wondered how to pan-fry a steak with a charred crust and an interior that's perfectly medium-rare from edge to edge when you cut into it? How to make homemade mac 'n' cheese that is as satisfyingly gooey and velvety-smooth as the blue box stuff, but far tastier? How to roast a succulent, moist turkey (forget about brining!)and use a foolproof method that works every time?As Serious Eats's culinary nerd-in-residence, J. Kenji López-Alt has pondered all these questions and more. In The Food Lab, Kenji focuses on the science behind beloved American dishes, delving into the interactions between heat, energy, and molecules that create great food. Kenji shows that often, conventional methods don’t work that well, and home cooks can achieve far better results using newbut simpletechniques. In hundreds of easy-to-make recipes with over 1,000 full-color images, you will find out how to make foolproof Hollandaise sauce in just two minutes, how to transform one simple tomato sauce into a half dozen dishes, how to make the crispiest, creamiest potato casserole ever conceived, and much more.
The managing culinary director of the Serious Eats website, editor, and author of the James Beard Award–nominated column that informs this massive investigation into the best methods for preparing a litany of foods, Lopez-Alt takes a deep dive into classic recipes and their best preparation methods. Lopez-Alt’s experience as test cook and editor at Cook’s Illustrated magazine clearly comes in handy, as he recounts the many steps he took in order to determine the best way to pan-sear a steak, whip up a quick tomato soup, scramble an egg or make the best French fries. Though he’s hardly the first to tackle the topic of a more scientific approach to cooking—the ghosts of Cook’s Illustrated, Harold McGee, and Alton Brown loom large— for the most part he deftly manages to hold the reader’s interest and educate without devolving into arcane ingredients or overly complicated instructions. Yes, there are sous-vide cheeseburgers, and his four-step process for cooking steak fries will test many a relationship, but helpful tips on pan-searing a steak (frequent flipping is fine, and might even be the best way), taking the armwork out of risotto, and whipping up a flavor-rich homemade chicken stock in under an hour are genuinely informative and sure to help home cooks of all skill levels. Lopez-Alt’s writing style is friendly and informative; he’s genuinely interested in his material, and that enthusiasm shines through. Given the book’s breadth and depth, this is a remarkable piece of work that stands up to its culinary comrades, and is a terrific starting point for home cooks interested in perfecting their techniques. (Sept.)
Working in professional restaurant and test kitchens, MIT grad and chef López-Alt (managing culinary director, SeriousEats.com) learned to question "expert" cooking advice. In the vein of his James Beard Award-nominated column "The Food Lab" and previous writings for Cook's Illustrated magazine, his massive debut debunks false kitchen wisdom through rigorous scientific inquiry. Hugely informative yet not quite a textbook, this title uses humorous prose and more than 1,000 color images to relay the results of tireless experimenting with cooking temperatures, techniques, and tools. After trying López-Alt's perfected recipes for omelets (diner-style and Western), potatoes (fried, mashed, and hashed), meat loaves, and other popular foods, readers will undoubtedly emerge better cooks, with an arsenal of unconventional techniques that really work (e.g., salting eggs 15 minutes in advance of cooking for improved texture). VERDICT This indispensable kitchen manual, which suggests visualizing heat capacity as a coop full of Red Bull-energized chickens, makes food science accessible.
- Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
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- 8.80(w) x 10.60(h) x 1.90(d)
Meet the Author
J. Kenji López-Alt is the managing culinary director of SeriousEats.com, author of the James Beard Award–nominated column The Food Lab, and a columnist for Cooking Light. He lives in San Mateo with his wife Adriana.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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You no longer have an excuse why your food is so bland with this book, making this book a must have. Mark my words - this book will quickly become a classic standby for any serious home cook. What Kenji has accomplished with this book is truly extraordinary, and I'd bet the farm that this book will win a James Beard Award. Such wonderfully clear and funny writing and excellent recipes. The Mexican Street Corn Salad is delicious. I'd also recommend that you buy or borrow a copy of Conquer Your Kitchen from Chef Jai Scovers. Between the two books, everything that you make should be divine, yet healthy.
I bought this cookbook for my husband for christmas last year and it is our go to reference for EVERYTHING. We are not gourmet cooks, but everything we've made using this cookbook has been fantastic. Its a great learning experience to read the science behind why we do certain things.
This is amazing, I learning something new every time I read this book.
love this book! one of the best i've read in a long time on cooking
Really like this in the e-book format. Easy to navigate, and a LOT more pleasant to use than the print book, which is something like 7 pounds. Lots of photos help explain the concepts Kenji talks about, and his discussions are well written. I do wish that some of the more interesting recipes from Serious Eats had been included, but most of those aren't about food science so I guess we will wait for another book from Kenji!