The Science of Cooking [pdf, epub] 3540674667

The Science of Cooking

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  • Title: The Science of Cooking
  • Autor: Peter Barham
  • Publisher (Publication Date): Springer; Auflage: 2001 (4. Oktober 2000)
  • Language: Englisch

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A kitchen is no different from most science laboratories and cookery may properly be regarded as an experimental science. Food preparation and cookery involve many processes which are well described by the physical sciences. Understanding the chemistry and physics of cooking should lead to improvements in performance in the kitchen. For those of us who wish to know why certain recipes work and perhaps more importantly why others fail, appreciating the underlying physical processes will inevitably help in unravelling the mysteries of the “art” of good cooking.

Strong praise from the reviewers –

“Will be stimulating for amateur cooks with an interest in following recipes and understanding how they work. They will find anecdotes and, sprinkled throughout the book, scientific points of information… The book is a pleasant read and is an invitation to become better acquainted with the science of cooking.” – NATURE

“This year, at last, we have a book which shows how a practical understanding of physics and chemistry can improve culinary performance… [Barham] first explains, in a lucid non-textbooky way, the principles behind taste, flavour and the main methods of food preparation, and then gives fool-proof basic recipes for dishes from roast leg of lab to chocolate soufflé.” – FINANCIAL TIMES WEEKEND

“This book is full of interesting and relevant facts that clarify the techniques of cooking that lead to the texture, taste and aroma of good cuisine. As a physicist the author introduces the importance of models in preparing food, and their modification as a result of testing (tasting).”- THE PHYSICIST

“Focuses quite specifically on the physics and food chemistry of practical domestic cooking in terms of real recipes… Each chapter starts with an overview of the scientific issues relevant to that food group, e.g. toughness of meat, thickening of sauces, collapse of sponge cakes and soufflés. This is followed by actual recipes, with the purpose behind each ingredient and technique explained, and each recipe followed by a table describing some common problems, causes and solutions. Each chapter then ends with suggested experiments to illustrate some of the scientific principles exploited in the chapter.” – FOOD & DRINK NEWSLETTER



This book is the perfect kitchen companion for the scientifically inclined cook. As one of a few books it explains principles instead of fixed recipes and explaining _why_ they work; this understanding allows the cook much more freedom in varying the recipe to taste without endangering the result. I personally prefer this style of cooking as it is much more creative and artful than mechanical. And some of these results are surprising; who would have thought that chocolate acts like a plastic under pressure? Peter Braham also explains the experiments which lead to these conclusions, so that every reader can repeat them; this is truely in the scientific spirit. The author’s English is very clear and well-written, and even a non-native speaker will enjoy reading this book as it is lightened with just the right amount of anecdotes. I could only subtract a star from the rating because the book is too short and sometimes refers to particular British cooking, which is indeed hard to follow in Germany – but as this book qualifies for 6 stars, 5 is still adequate 😉

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