Kitchen Mysteries: Revealing the Science of Cooking

Kitchen Mysteries: Revealing the Science of Cooking

by Hervé This, Jody Gladding

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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, Hervé 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780231512039
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 11/15/2007
Series: Arts and Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 232
File size: 816 KB

About 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.

Table of Contents

Series Editor's Foreword
Cooking and Science
The New Physiology of Flavor
Gels, Jellies, Aspics
The Egg's Incarnations
A Successful Soufflé ?
The Boiled and the Bouillon
Chicken Stew, Beef Stew, Veal Stew
Questions of Pressure
Sautés and Grills
Even More Tender
Vegetables: Color and Freshness
Sauces: Creamy, Satiny, Flavorful
A Burning Question
The Salad: An Oasis of Freshness
Yogurt and Cheese
Fruits of the Harvest
Ices and Sorbets
Cakes: Light and Melting
Pastry Dough: Tart, Shortbread, and Puff Pastry
The Alcohols
Cold and Cool
Kitchen Utensils
Mysteries of the Kitchen

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Kitchen Mysteries: Revealing the Science of Cooking 2.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
kaelirenee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It's not alchemy that makes the crust of bread brown or cheese so addictive. It is basic chemistry. This is a culinary scientists who breaks down the chemistry, microbiology, biochemistry, and physics of the kitchen to show why food is spicy, bread rises (best with old flour), and other mysteries that should help a budding chef understand his foods better. Best for people with a deep love for cooking and a basic understanding of science (having taken high school biology in the last 50 years, for example).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago