Cooking For Geeks: How Nerds Hack Great Food

September 5, 2013


Engaging, filled with practical information, and sprinkled with humor, Jeff Potter’s Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks, and Good Food is a great book for understanding the hows and whys of cooking.

A love of technology and cooking drove Potter to write this highly readable book that manages to explain a variety of things everyone should know about preparing food, including:

  • the proper equipment: how to choose it and how to use it
  • how the taste buds transform ingredients into flavors
  • the chemistry of food and flavor combinations
  • the secrets of conduction, convection, broiling, baking, grilling, microwaving, and other cooking methods
  • how ingredients like baking soda, soy lecithin, and egg yolks work as chemical agents to transform other ingredients

With Potter’s help, you’ll learn how to neutralize bitterness (a pinch of salt and sugar), why bread rises, how to prevent oil and water from separating, and much more.

In addition, Cooking For Geeks is full of recipes for mouthwatering dishes – including explanations of why certain ingredients and techniques are best for achieving each culinary goal.

The recipes are ready to try out at home, and most require no exotic ingredients or equipment.

Interviews with food experts lend authority to the book and provide in-depth information on modern techniques and equipment, food mysteries, baking secrets, and esoterica.

For example Cornell University nutritional science professor Virginia Utermohlen explains why some people like beer more than others do:

“The carbonation and pungency of beer give it a trigeminal kick.If you are sensitive to the pungent, the trigeminal side of things, but not sensitive to the bitterness of beer, you‘re going to like beer a lot better than I do. I can’t stand it!”

Adam Savage, host of the Discovery Channel’s Mythbusters program, also makes an appearance.

Cooking For Geeks will teach you how to make ice cream using liquid nitrogen, how to use a blowtorch to make crème brulee, and how to cook hot dogs via electrocution.

Jeff Potter’s advice is aimed particularly at geeks, tech-savvy people who appreciate a scientific approach to cooking, but it’s a great read for any cook who wants to understand the art of cooking and prepare tasty meals at home.

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