The Science of Good Cooking
Great cooks seem to operate on intuition. Watch one at work and you might think he or she must have a sixth sense that switches on in the kitchen. But great cooks aren't psychic. They simply understand the fundamental principles of cooking the unspoken rules that guide their every move in the kitchen. What's behind these principles? Science.
At America's Test Kitchen, we know something about that. The team at Cook's Illustrated has spent the past 20 years investigating every facet and every detail associated with home cooking through tens of thousands of kitchen tests. In The Science of Good Cooking, we distill the past two decades of this test kitchen work into 50 basic cooking concepts, ones that every home cook should know.
These concepts sound suspiciously simple: Gentle Heat Retains Moisture. Salty Marinades Work Best. Starch Helps Cheese Melt Nicely. Sugar Changes Sweetness and Texture. It turns out that these ideas are not only easy to understand but also easy to master. And don t worry there is no molecular gastronomy, liquid nitrogen, or fancy equipment involved. As always, our mission is squarely focused on great home cooking.
In addition to explaining how food science works (and why you should care), The Science of Good Cooking shows you the science. This book brings you into the test kitchen with 50 unique (and fun) experiments engineered to illustrate (and illuminate) the science at work. The experiments demonstrate why adding fat to your eggs will make the perfect tender omelet, why grinding your own meat will make the ultimate burger, and why you should have patience before carving your roast. And because no concept is complete without recipes, The Science of Good Cooking includes more than 400 classic Cook's Illustrated recipes that take the science to the stove, putting the principles to work. The book offers a fresh perspective on everything from roasting a chicken to baking chocolate chip cookies. These are the fundamental recipes home cooks struggle to get right. And when these recipes are coupled with the simple science explaining how and why they work, the results are illuminating.
Featured On Episode #232
This week, we’re exploring the everyday experiments that take place in our very own kitchens. Desiree Schell speaks to Guy Crosby, Science Editor for America’s Test Kitchen, about his book “The Science of Good Cooking.” And geneticist and science writer Torah Kachur returns to the show, to take a scientifically informed look at the future of food.