Monday, August 10, 2009

Five best: books on food and cooking

Raymond Sokolov writes the "Eating Out" column for the Wall Street Journal's weekend edition.

In 2005 he named a five best list of books about food and cooking.

One title on the list:
"On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen" by Harold McGee (Scribner, 2004).

C.E. (Engine Charlie) Wilson, head of General Motors and defense secretary under President Eisenhower, once dismissed scientific research as an activity that explains why grass is green and fried potatoes turn brown in the pan. He didn't know the half of it. Harold McGee devotes several pellucid pages to the chemistry of browning and why it has helped fast food and three-star chefs alike to addict the world to fries. Mr. McGee is the go-to guru for answers to such kitchen questions as why vaporized grease collects only on the inside of eyeglasses or why Chinese cooks cook meat in soy sauce combined with star anise and onions ("the production of sulfur-phenolic aromatics ... intensify the meatiness of the dish").
Read about another book on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue