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Molecular Gastronomy by Herve This

In this book the author, Herve This (pronounced “Tees”), explains the chemistry and physics of what takes place during cooking reactions in the kitchen; augmented with a little bit of cellular biology. The whole concept sounds a bit off-putting. In reality it moves along very quickly with the author breaking down very complex processes into very simple terminology. It does explain why we do what we do in the kitchen to achieve the desired flavor results. Although the title may suggest otherwise, it is a book that the casual reader can peruse without too much difficulty.

The book is divided into four sections. The first section delves into some of the basic cooking techniques and tries to debunk some common food preparation myths. It takes a very Francocentric view on cooking with chapters on some things of which the average person has probably never heard. The more important sections include the science behind various simple cooking techniques like making stocks, using vinegars and wine for marinating, roasting meats, and the use of salt in enhancing flavor. Some other not so useful sections include the correct methods for cooling down a cup of coffee and the debunking of the myth that putting a teaspoon in an open champagne bottle will keep it from losing its bubbles. I think these were some added tidbits for the reader to expound upon in dinner conversations.

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