On Food and Cooking
U.S. second edition cover
Hodder & Stoughton UK
November 2004 (second edition)
|Media type||Print (hardcover)|
|Pages||704 first edition
896 second edition
On Food And Cooking: The Science And Lore Of The Kitchen is a book by Harold McGee, published by Scribner in the United States in 1984 and revised extensively for a 2004 second edition. It is published by Hodder & Stoughton in Britain under the title McGee on Food and Cooking: An Encyclopedia of Kitchen Science, History and Culture.
The book provides a reference to the scientific understanding and preparation of food. It has been described by Alton Brown as "the Rosetta stone of the culinary world", Daniel Boulud has called the book a "must for every cook who possesses an inquiring mind", while Heston Blumenthal has stated it is "the book that has had the greatest single impact on my cooking".
The work is separated into sections that focus on the ingredients, providing the structure for the author to speculate on the history of foodstuffs and cookery, and the molecular characteristics of food flavours, while the text is illustrated by charts, graphs, pictures, and sidebar boxes with quotes from sources such as Brillat-Savarin and Plutarch. The book advises on how to cook many things (e.g., for pasta use abundant water, avoid hard water, add salt and a little oil to water, use slightly acidic water, with reasons and the science behind everything, OFaC 2nd ed. p576) and includes a few historical recipes (e.g., Fish or Meat Jelly, by Taillevent in 1375, OFaC 2nd ed. p584), but no modern recipes as such.
- Waxman, Nach, Slate.com (December 12, 2007). The Joy of Cookbooks
- Davis, Mandy, Publishers Weekly (November 22, 2004). PW Talks with Harold McGee
- Brown, Alton, TIME Magazine (April 30, 2009). "The 2008 TIME 100". Time.
- Saekel, Karola, San Francisco Chronicle (December 1, 2004). Good reads for the cooks on your list
- Hirst, Christopher, The Independent. (November 13, 2004) Snail porridge? It's a matter of taste
- Jaine, Tom, The Guardian (December 11, 2004). Taste sensation
- Stafford, Matthew, SF Weekly (November 24, 2004). On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen
- Hirst, Christopher, The Independent. (December 3, 2004) The best of 2004: food books reviewed
- On Food and Cooking on McGee's site "Curious Cook"