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The Science of Cooking: Every Question Answered to Perfect Your Cooking by Dr. Stuart Farrimond, DK, US $35.00, Pp 256, September 2017, ISBN 978-1465463692

The most important thing that makes food taste good is the quality of ingredients used in preparing it. If the meat used is not fresh or of good quality, no chef in the world will be able to cook a good dish. This is true of all cuisines. Can you look at meat and tell if the meat is of good quality. Not many people can do that? Can you tell when the animal was butchered just by looking at the meat? Probably no. Can you tell if meat has been injected with water? Few people can do that although many meat resellers do that. The freshness of ingredients makes the food great. This is again true of all cuisines. So the question arises: Can you make fresh cheese and yogurt at home? The likely answer is no.

In The Science of Cooking, Dr. Stuart Farrimond answers more than 100 of the most common culinary questions and conundrums, drawing on the latest research to give meaningful and practical answers. These questions relate to from kitchen essentials to meat, poultry, fish, seafood, eggs, and dairy to grains and pasta and from grilling, slow cooking, steaming, microwaving, and baking. Dr. Stuart Farrimond shows that science can be a vehicle for fully appreciating the wonders that we see in the kitchen every day. With the help of a microscope, we can see how a whisk transforms the yellow slime of egg white into a snow-white cotton-like meringue. And a sprinkling of chemistry shows why a steak left to sizzle on a hot grill evolves from a bland and chewy hunk of flesh into a mouthwatering, meaty delight.

With striking imagery and diagram, Dr. Stuart Farrimond delves into the most commonly used cooking processes and techniques as well as shines a spotlight on core ingredients, such as meat, fish, dairy, spices, flour, and eggs. It offers a guide on how to equip your kitchen with the best gear. Normally, cooking is termed an “art” and is steeped in rituals and processes that chefs throughout the ages have followed blindly. Many of these “rules,” however, serve to confuse and stifle creativity. Dr. Stuart Farrimond says that science and logic show us that often customs are simply wrong. For example, beans do not need to be soaked for hours before cooking, meat does not need to be rested to seal in juices, and marinated meat can taste better if left for one hour, rather than five.

Dr. Stuart Farrimond says that cooking is a very important part of our lives. Cooking makes food taste incredible, heat browns meats, vegetables, breads, and cakes and caramelizes the sugar. Cooking also releases locked-in flavors from herbs and spices in the process known as the Maillard reaction. It brings new and better textures to food. Cooking also helps digestion. Fat melts chewy connective tissues softens into nutritious, and proteins unravel, or “denature” from their tightly coiled structure into ones that digestive enzyme can break down more easily. Cooking also helps ingredients to release the nutrients. Significant amounts of a food’s nourishment are locked up in “resistance” starch that cannot be digested. Cooking helps break down starches. Heating also forces some of the vitamins and minerals that are confined inside cells to be liberated, increasing how much of these essential substances the body can absorb. Most importantly, cooking helps us socialize.

The Science of Cooking is a uniquely important cookbook. Everybody who cooks should read it to make his/her dishes extraordinarily tasteful and healthy. It teaches you how to differentiate fresh and quality ingredients from expired and bad ingredients. It also teaches you how to handle food ingredients before, during and after you cook them. That is a key to good cooking. It contains answers to most of the questions that may be agitating your mind while working in the kitchen and many more. The Science of Cooking must be in every kitchen, particularly in every restaurant kitchen. You will see the quality of your food tremendously improve after you apply the knowledge you gain from this book.

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