Sunday, September 05, 2010

Harold McGee and the Keys to Good Cooking

Frankly, science always confounded me. It just didn’t connect, until I made a critical link. Cooking is science. Switch light bulb on.

Now, granted cooking is a lot of things beyond just science. In the introduction to his new book, Keys to Good Cooking, food scientist Harold McGee writes “Cooking can be one of the most satisfying things we do in life. It’s a chance to make things with our own hands, nourish and give pleasure to people we care about, and choose exactly what we eat and make a part of ourselves.” But underlying it all, McGee has shown time and again that an understanding of kitchen science can make you a better cook.

In Keys to Good Cooking, McGee has taken years of kitchen research and observations and compiled a substantial manual on the basic facts of food preparation, covering pantry ingredients, tools, heat and basic cooking methods and kitchen safety tips. Consider these tips on vegetables which intrigued me:
  • Fresh vegetables and herbs are alive and breathing and should look like it. The best-quality fresh vegetables are the most recently harvested and most carefully handled.
  • At farmers’ markets, avoid vegetables and herbs that have been sitting in full sun and are hot to the touch.
  • Choose packages of frozen vegetables from the coldest corners of the market freezer and just before you check out.
  • Avoid potatoes with any green color. Green surfaces and sprouts contain bitter and toxic alkaloids.
Keys to Good Cooking will be published on October 28, 2010 and TLC Book Tours is providing a copy of the book for me to review. I’ll post the review on Culinary Types on Sunday, October 24.

©2010 T.W. Barritt all Rights Reserved


My Carolina Kitchen said...

How cool that Harold McGee has a new book coming out. His book "On Food and Cooking" is considered a bible. He was Alton Brown before Alton Brown. It's wonderful that a whole new set of cooks will get to know him.

I'm looking forward to your book review. His new book will definitely be on my wish list.

Julia said...

So cool that you are getting a review copy!

My first reading assignment in cooking school was "On Food and Cooking". I'll look forward to seeing his new book and your review.

lostpastremembered said...

I got to meet Harold McGee this summer.. he is just as wise and good and insatiably curious as you imagine from reading his books. The tip about the sunning vegetables is new to me... thanks for the tips and bless Mr McGee who makes sense out of cooking mysteries.
Happy labor day !!!

trish said...

I love those tips. My mom didn't really ever teach me how to pick out veggies, so I've had to learn over the years through trial and error and asking questions. I never realized I should avoid potatoes with any green, though!

So glad your on this tour!

~~louise~~ said...

I've been thinking lately that I need to add a few "modern" cooking books to my library.

Sounds like a good place to start. I look forward to your review.

Thanks for sharing, T.W.

Jann said...

So much good info~thanks for telling us about the book.