The Science of the Oven (Arts and Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History) by Hervé This, PDF, EPUB 0231147074

April 16, 2018

The Science of the Oven (Arts and Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History)

Mayonnaise “takes” when a series of liquids form a semisolid consistency. Eggs, a liquid, become solid as they are heated, whereas, under the same conditions, solids melt. When meat is roasted, its surface browns and it acquires taste and texture. What accounts for these extraordinary transformations?

The answer: chemistry and physics. With his trademark eloquence and wit, Hervé This launches a wry investigation into the chemical art of cooking. Unraveling the science behind common culinary technique and practice, Hervé This breaks food down to its molecular components and matches them to cooking’s chemical reactions. He translates the complex processes of the oven into everyday knowledge for professional chefs and casual cooks, and he demystifies the meaning of taste and the making of flavor. He describes the properties of liquids, salts, sugars, oils, and fats and defines the principles of culinary practice, which endow food with sensual as well as nutritional value.

For fans of Hervé This’s popular volumes and for those new to his celebrated approach, The Science of the Oven expertly expands the possibilities of the kitchen, fusing the physiology of taste with the molecular structure of bodies and food.

Review

What Hervé This aims for is to use fairly high-powered yet accessible science not only to analyze what transpires in traditional cooking but also to adapt his unique brand of analysis to flavors, textures, colors, and more, therefore entering new realms of culinary epistemology. (Albert Sonnenfeld, translator of Culture of the Fork: A Brief History of Everyday Food and Haute Cuisine in Europe)For people with a (very) serious interest in food, this is satisfying stuff. (The Australian)Another tour de force by a favorite polymath that will be valuable to all who love to cook and dine on good cooking… Highly recommended. (Choice)This is one of those books that could be great for holiday reading by the curious as well as being an essential part of academic study. (Yum.fi)

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Book Description

Mayonnaise “takes” when a series of liquids form a semisolid consistency. Eggs, a liquid, become solid as they are heated, whereas, under the same conditions, solids melt. When meat is roasted, its surface browns and it acquires taste and texture. What accounts for these extraordinary transformations?The answer: chemistry and physics. With his trademark eloquence and wit, Hervé This launches a wry investigation into the chemical art of cooking. Unraveling the science behind common culinary technique and practice, Hervé This breaks food down to its molecular components and matches them to cooking’s chemical reactions. He translates the complex processes of the oven into everyday knowledge for professional chefs and casual cooks, and he demystifies the meaning of taste and the making of flavor. He describes the properties of liquids, salts, sugars, oils, and fats and defines the principles of culinary practice, which endow food with sensual as well as nutritional value.For fans of Hervé This’s popular volumes and for those new to his celebrated approach, The Science of the Oven expertly expands the possibilities of the kitchen, fusing the physiology of taste with the molecular structure of bodies and food.

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Comments:

It might sound obvious at first glance, yet if you have to really answer the question you might be stumped and struggle to give a proper answer. Such as “What happens in the oven when you cook something?” Highly-acclaimed physical chemist and author of many well-respected gastronomy books Hervé This has put his mind to many vexing questions and produced a book for us all to help answer the question. Written in a great style whereby it can be read by both expert and amateur alike, you tend to find that your mind just skips over anything overtly-technical without missing a beat, yet without feeling that you are missing out on something. This book has not been dumbed down either, so the scientist or researcher can see exactly what makes a given thing tick – the amateur just understands and accepts that something ticks. A great balancing art. The level of detail in this book is particularly pleasing, especially in the way the author just casually, almost embarrassingly, just slips it in the book. Take, for example, the section on the senses. Why do we roast a piece of beef? Obvious, you may say, but the reasons and outcomes can be contradictory. Sure, the meat is roasted to kill off the pathogenic microorganisms that naturally inhabit the surface. So, you put this tender meat in to roast and you start to harden it in the process. Why make something tender a lot harder? But then the roasted meat takes on flavour. But flavour is not throughout as we would associate it to be. The edge develops a crust with a strong, marked taste that does not go through the meat. Yet our body tends to sense the crust’s flavour and conveniently ignores the rest. Would you think HOW you carve the meat can make a difference? It does. The English method would cut parallel to the bone, giving a relatively consistent cut (and associated flavour/appearance) whilst the French Entrecôte style cuts perpendicular, giving you effectively many different tastes from the same cut. When it is pointed out to you it might be head-slappingly plainly-obvious… and who better to point it out than Hervé This. The book continues in this vein, examining the so-called chemical art of cooking and how it all goes together. This is one of those books that could be great for holiday reading by the curious as well as being an essential part of academic study. It deserves a wider audience even though the book itself, in its current form, can look quite austere with its acres of relatively small text. The book is already very powerful but if it was accompanied by some photographs that are the same calibre as those in Modernist Cuisine and oh, Oh, OH!! If you have an interest in food, in science or just like learning something new for learning’s sake, buy this book. Nothing more needs to be said.
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Herve This writes books that wander, in coffee table book style. The Science of the Oven starts with good information about how humans perceive tastes, and raises various ideas about bending ingredients into the food equivalent of trompe de l’oiel. He offers enough description to support the credibility of his concept, and not a systematic catalog of current research progress. As he nears his conclusion, he raises the concept of making the pianococktail …a set of ingredients designed first in written form without worrying about the properties of the ingredients. The results of this first foray were exactly what I would expect ‘…hmmmmm. Pretty good, but needs salt.” The Science of the Oven contains lots of good ideas and heads them toward avant garde experiments in post modern food. But it’s more of a manifesto than a comprehensive textbook on the topic. This should not surprise us either. The stuff that’s the farthest “out there on the cutting edge” wasn’t written down when Herve This wrote the Science of the Oven. If you want an example of where all this leads, check out […]
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This book is focused on the oven, baking and roasting mostly. It’s probably not the best introduction to molecular gastronomy (try  Building a Meal: From Molecular Gastronomy to Culinary Constructivism (Arts and Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History)  or  Kitchen Mysteries: Revealing the Science of Cooking (Arts and Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History) , both by Herve This as well), but is excellent at covering what happens, in time and temperature with foods. It’s the physics and chemistry of food, for those without a lot of science background. As an amateur chef and professional scientist, this book is a revelation of the facts behind the recipes. Of the reasons for the kitchen rules. What is a sponge of eggs? What’s happening inside chemically? What is the cooking of meat all about?
 

  • Title: The Science of the Oven (Arts and Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History)
  • Autor: Hervé This
  • Publisher (Publication Date): Columbia University Press; Reprint edition (August 7, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231147066 | 0231147074
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231147064 | 978-0231147071
  • Download File Format: EPUB, PDF

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