The Science of Good Food: Book Review

If you've ever wondered what keeps red cabbage from turning blue, why onions make you cry, or whether it is better to salt a steak before or after grilling, then this book is for you. Self-proclaimed as "The Ultimate Reference on How Cooking Works", The Science of Good Food explains the what, the how, and the why of food and cooking in an easy-to-use, A-to-Z format.

Look up "celery" and learn about the science behind the stalks, nutritional information, and some interesting fast facts. You can also find a total of over 100 recipes and 1,600 entries that explain the physical and chemical transformations that govern all food preparation and cooking.

Learn how copper bowls affect eggs, what happens to shortbread at high altitude, and how butter tenderizes cake.

Among the plethora of food and recipe books available today, The Science of Good Food stands out because it has been laid out as a quick reference for the hurried chef racing against the clock. At the same time, it also has enough juicy information for a sit-down, fascinating read.

When it comes to navigating the culinary diversity of ingredients, this book is a lifesaver. It is filled with tantalizing possibilities for new, exotic dishes, clearly explained and within reach for even the most novice chef.

With this guide, anyone can learn to master the uses of many uncommon ingredients, as well as refine special techniques by using the basic principles of food chemistry and physics. It also debunks many common kitchen myths.

One helpful fast fact from The Science of Good Food: Commercially grown raspberries and strawberries are some of the most heavily sprayed food crops. USDA tests have shown high concentrations of pesticides and fungicides. Since it is difficult to wash these berries without damaging them and impossible to peel them, it is a good idea to buy these organic. Or if you prefer, pick your own from a source that you know has not been sprayed.

It seems that these days, whether for financial or health reasons, more people are opting to prepare their meals at home. This makes The Science of Good Food an invaluable reference tool while at the same time inspiring confidence and creativity in the kitchen.  

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Vanessa Rodriguez is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, an ultra-endurance athlete, and an online editor for Active.com.

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