We live with scientists in The Bachelor’s Kitchen. As geeks, we like talking about how cooking is a lot like science. A recipe is a protocol. Combining ingredients is mixing components. There are chemical reactions, heat breakdowns and precise measurements.
Of course, most cooks will tell you that cooking is also an art. It’s a great expression of creativity. But understanding what’s going on beneath the surface of your food can be very helpful in coming up with new ways to prepare it.
According to a new book from America’s Test Kitchen, there are 50 basic concepts the good cook should learn. These are contained in The Science of Good Cooking, a book that contains hundred of recipes covering many dishes ordinary Americans like to eat.
What the book adds to the classic American cuisine is seemingly endless experimentation to determine the best way to carry out each recipe. Each recipe in the book is followed by a section called “Why This Recipe Works.” Included are references to the concept involved. There are also explanations, with nice clear photos, of the experiments done to arrive at the best method for each recipe.
It’s good that this book is an easy read because nuggets of knowledge are scattered throughout the text. And like most science-related topics, varying from the recipe can cause disaster. Many of them are complex and intimidating. But the book is filled with useful information and can lead you to great cooking masterpieces.