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Paperback Kitchen Science : A Compendium of Essential Information for Every Cook Book

ISBN: 039533960X

ISBN13: 9780395339602

Kitchen Science : A Compendium of Essential Information for Every Cook

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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

This description may be from another edition of this product. In this revised and updated edition of the book that thousands of cooks have turned to when they have a question, the science authority Howard Hillman provides the latest findings about everything...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings


This book is a cyclopedia of how stuff works in the kitchen. It is written in question-and-answer format, addressing numerous kitchen topic, like "Which is better, rock or sea salt?" and "What's wrong with farmed fishes?". The book is divided into chapters addressing cooking equipment, cooking methods, meats, seafood, dairy products, eggs, fruits and vegetables, sauces and thickeners, seasonings, oils and fats, baking, beverages, food storage, health and nutrition, and diets. It includes a list of references for further reading, and index. It is clearly not a cookbook, but there are a few recipes for basic home cooking scattered here and there for illustration of principles. This book would make a handy kitchen reference. Want to know the different cooking and nutritional properties of various oils? Check the tables found in this book. Trying to choose some new cookware for your kitchen? Read this book, and you'll learn why professional chefs prefer stainless steel pots with copper bottoms for many kitchen tasks. A few topics are covered superficially, such as vegetarian diets, where the author notes that vegetarians can get all essential amino acids through combining different foods at meals, but he doesn't note that getting enough vitamin B12 while avoiding animal products requires extra effort. While most of the information is up-to-date, perhaps a few articles could do with some revisions, such as the entry on taste buds, in which Hillman describes the old theory on the zone distribution of taste buds, which recent research has put into question.

great help

Full of a lot of good information for the home cook or chef. Helps to explain why things happan like they do. Helps know some things you may want to change to get the results you want.

Very Good Introduction to Kitchen Lore. Not Best Science

`The New Kitchen Science' by culinary journalist Howard Hillman is a new edition of a 20 year old book which uses the question and answer format common to a lot of cooking advice books. One small problem is that this format is not the best approach to presenting `science' in that science is a body of theories and explained phenomena the understanding of which facilitates applying knowledge to understanding new situations. So, if a book just answers questions, the ability to extend the answers to new situations may not be as good as other expository approaches. That said, I have to say that like Robert L. Wolke's `What Einstein told His Chef', this book may be more accessible to many readers than other conventional writers on the subject such as Harold McGee's works and `The Science of Cooking' by Bristol University (UK) don Peter Barham. One thing a widely read foodie may want to consider is that they may have already seen most of the material in this book in the volumes cited above. This is not to say this book does not contain some new material, but a devoted reader of Shirley Corriher and Alton Brown may find this new material a bit sparse. For the reader with little experience with food science reading, I caution you that there are some statements in this book, which are scientifically incorrect. This may be a small point, since the errors are not likely to interfere with your practical cooking, but they may interfere with your ability to extend your knowledge to new situations, which is the whole point of the scientific inquiry in the first place. The first error I noticed is the statement that when a water / alcohol mixture is boiled, the alcohol will all boil off, leaving just water. One of the first things a freshman chemistry student learns is that this is not true. It is true that more alcohol will evaporate than water, until the alcohol and water attain equilibrium. Admittedly, the alcohol will be reduced to a very small level, but it is still there. This is important if someone has physical or religious problems with any alcohol. The second error I noticed is the use of the term `dissolved' when referring to the mixing of flour with water. The proper term here is `suspension', not `solution'. In some ways, this is a more serious error, as suspensions behave much differently than solutions, and the two states are pervasive in cooking techniques, so it is important to know the differences in behavior between the two states. After all that nit picking, I can still recommend this as a really worthwhile source of information whereby one can improve your cooking, especially for the reasonable paperback price. One especially valuable feature of this book is the excellent bibliography which gives references for all the authors and works mentioned above except for Alton Brown, and a whole lot more. If you really need to have fun with your reading about food science, I recommend `The Cook Book Decoder or Culinary Alchemy Explained' by reti

Excellent Kitchen Reference

Howard Hillman's "Kitchen Science" and Robert Wolke's "What Einstein Told His Cook" are two books of largely similar information. Their titles foreshadow their different writing styles.Both are very informative and worthy of keeping as a reference. Hillman uses a question and answer format and is direct and succinct. Wolke also uses the question/answer format, but he has more lively style, and the lengthier answers are rendered with much wit and humor. For the efficiency-mined reader, Hillman's book gives more bang. Wolke's book gives more reading pleasure.Interestingly, they sometimes disagree. Hillman says that most alcohol added to dishes while cooking is lost due to evaporation, while Wolke maintains, with a more nuanced explanation, that the anywhere from 4 to 49 % of the added alcohol might remain...Take your pick. I enjoyed both.

A great addition to the home kitchen

This interesting and fun-to-read book really helps the home cook understand the hows and whys behind cooking and food, which is essential if one is to get beyond the stage of simple preparation and slavish adherence to recipies. Even better, this book has inspired me to want to learn more.I personally don't prefer the question and answer format, which is one reason it doesn't get five stars. Illustrations could help make difficult concepts more understandable, and it could stand to go through another revision and expansion. However, I found it a satisfying read, and well worth my money.
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