Tuesday, November 17, 2020

KitchenWise: Essential Food Science for Home Cooks


KitchenWise: Essential Food Science for Home Cooks is an indepth science based instruction manual about the chemistry and physics involved in food preparation. Due out 17th Nov 2020 from Simon & Schuster on their Scribner imprint, it's 288 pages and will be available in hardcover, audio, and ebook formats. 

According to family lore, my first word was not mama or dada but "why". According to my mother, I've not stopped asking why from that day to the present. This book is written for cooks who really want to know *why* eggs prepared a certain way are not as fluffy, or why their quiche was a runny catastrophe in the middle. This book is for cooks who want to understand *why* their gelatin mold didn't set properly with certain fruit but worked fine with the same recipe using different fruit. 

The author was formerly a research chemist and has an academic background. There is a lot of technical information contained here (which was a huge plus to me, but won't suit readers looking for a straight cookbook containing mostly recipes). 

Because of the nature of the interconnectedness of the ingredients we use in cooking and their relationship to one another, this book is sometimes difficult to navigate. The chapters are arranged thematically: Flavor, Proteins, Fruits & Vegetables, Grains, Perfect Sauces, On Freezing, Baking, More Desserts, and an index. I made use of the search function often on the electronic copy which I received for review. Much of the information in the book is referenced in other chapters, so this isn't a book which is easily read cover to cover like a novel. 

For cooks looking for good background info about why things work (or don't) in the kitchen and how to improve standard recipes without a huge amount of trial and error, there's a lot to love here. For readers looking for a cookie-cutter cookbook, this is emphatically not what you're looking for.

Kitchen science 4 stars.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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