Posts Tagged ‘cooking without a cookbook’

New book from McGee: Keys to Good Cooking

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Harold McGee, author of the seminal On food and cooking: The science and lore of the kitchen (which is one of my favorite non-recipe books for the kitchen) has done it again! The book Keys to Good Cooking: A Guide to Making the Best of Foods and Recipes is to appear in October, but is already available for pre-order as I write. The book is one step closer to the kitchen and the actual cooking than On food and cooking. In a mini Q&A with NY Times in 2008 Harold McGee said the following:

“I’ve heard from many cooks that while they value the scope and depth of “On Food & Cooking,” when they need practical help with a specific technique or ingredient it’s often hard for them to locate the information. So my next book will be nothing but practical information and directions, concise and brief.”

I think it’s fair to say that Harold McGee, more than any other person I know of, has been very successful at distilling scientific work into a very readable and accessible form. He did this back in 1984 with the first edition of On food and cooking, and then again in 2004 with a more or less rewritten edition in 2004. A complete book with practical information rooted in science can easily become the single most useful book in your kitchen!

Cooking by ratios – new book by Ruhlman

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

ratio-cover

kochen-backen-grundrezeptenOne of the more curious cookbooks I own is a German one entitled “Kochen und Backen nach Grundrezepten” (Cooking and Baking with Base recipes). It was first written in 1932 and has been updated regularily ever since. Each section typically has a standard recipe which indicates the ratios to use followed by suggested variations (just like The improvisational cook). It also has nice summaries of dos and don’ts (just like BakeWise and CookWise), and what really makes the book stand out is that is so compact yet still comprehensive. It’s one of those books I actually use when cooking. Many other books have a little too much text – you have to read a lot to pick up the key points. Anyway – the reason I mention this is that as I read about the new “Ratio” book by Michael Ruhlman (MR books, MR blog), the German cookbook was the first book that came to my mind.
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