Read The Kitchen as Laboratory: Reflections on the Science of Food and Cooking by César Vega Job Ubbink Erik Van Der Linden Jeffrey Steingarten Cesar Vega Morales Online


Eating is a multisensory experience, yet chefs and scientists have only recently begun to anatomize food's components, introducing a new science called molecular gastronomy and a new frontier in the possibilities of the kitchen. In this global collaboration of essays, chefs, scientists, and cooks put the innovations of molecular gastronomy into practice, advancing a culinaEating is a multisensory experience, yet chefs and scientists have only recently begun to anatomize food's components, introducing a new science called molecular gastronomy and a new frontier in the possibilities of the kitchen. In this global collaboration of essays, chefs, scientists, and cooks put the innovations of molecular gastronomy into practice, advancing a culinary hypothesis based on food's chemical properties and the skilled use of existing and cutting edge tools, ingredients, and techniques. As their experiments unfold, these pioneers create, and in some cases revamp, dishes that answer specific desires, serving up an original encounter with gastronomic practice.From the seemingly mundane to the food fantastic, from grilled cheese sandwiches, pizzas, and soft-boiled eggs to sugar glasses and gellified beads, these essays cover a range of creations and their history and culture. They discuss the significance of an eater's background and atmosphere, the importance of a chef's methods, and strategies for extracting and concentrating aromas, among other intriguing topics. The collection will delight experts and amateurs alike, as restaurants rely more on "science-assisted" cooking and recreational cooks increasingly explore the chemistry behind their art. Contributors end each essay with personal thoughts on food, cooking, and science, offering rare insight into their professional passion for playing with food....

Title : The Kitchen as Laboratory: Reflections on the Science of Food and Cooking
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780231153447
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 336 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Kitchen as Laboratory: Reflections on the Science of Food and Cooking Reviews

  • Jenny (Reading Envy)
    2018-11-05 14:48

    Molecular gastronomy - applied. Written by actual food scientists, each chapter addresses a different food question and narrates the science that particular scientist or team undertook to find the answer. Some of these experiments were grant funded research, yet the book is easy to read for the most part, even for a lay person like me. The book starts with a chapter on grilled cheese, where I learned why mild cheddar melts better than aged, and why fondue works. I couldn't put the book down after that. Other chapters address texture, crispness, thickening agents, and my favorite - chewy ice cream. The scientists took a look at what makes salep dondurma (which Harold McGee wrote about in the NY Times in 2007) work, and to see if they could replicate it with other ingredients. They had to do this since the key ingredient, salep, a wild orchid derivative, isn't allowed out of the country of Turkey, where it is indigenous to that area only. I was fascinated and horrified and probably won't go to the trouble of trying the recipe they developed on my own, since it is a long list of ingredients I'd have to special order and aren't immediately recognizable, but I could if I so chose. That's pretty much the underlying sentiment in this book - can we? why not? and how? I was fascinated by it and imagine others would be too. You can just gloss over the chemical diagrams like I did.

  • Darren
    2018-10-21 12:47

    If you think about it food and cookery have always been interlinked but not so many people have bothered to think why and look towards science as a way of making things even better. When they do, invariably, it is to make commercial food production more efficient and cost-effective.Does the consumer gain so much here? Not so when it comes to the plate in any case and many people are sceptical to overt scientific manipulation of their foodstuffs. Yet in more recent times there has become a growing amount of interest in the science of gastronomy with many talented chefs around the world tackling this subject and looking at ways of pushing the envelope. It is no longer good enough to use good ingredients to make tasty food. A wow factor is often desirable and what better way to do that then through fooling the senses in a positive way and making the absolute best of the ingredients at hand! Some chefs such as Heston Blumenthal have managed to carve themselves a niche through their reputation as a good chef and as a talented gastronomic or molecular cook.This book is a collection of 33 standalone chapters or essays looking at different elements of molecular gastronomy, as the subject has been labelled. Good science if you will differentiate it from the sometimes-controversial scientific manipulation of foodstuffs. Much of this work is still relatively new and developments are constantly being made as techniques are trialled and refined and knowledge becomes more commonplace.This is not a dry scientific book that will only appeal to people with many letters after their name! Of course, it is going to be science-heavy and not an overly light read but the information contained within the essays is engaging, thought-provoking and accessible. Each chapter is concise and self-contained, meaning that you need not read the entire book in sequential order. You can pick and mix, of course, as and when the mood takes you. The range of topics being discussed is wide and varied. Quite thought-provoking really when you consider the subject matter. The science of a grilled cheese sandwich, the appeal of sound to eating, designing a sustainable and stretchable "fox testicle" ice cream, the perfect cookie dough, pairing of ice cream flavours and so forth.One needs to remain open and willing to learn. In some ways it may challenge existing knowledge and beliefs but hopefully it will lead to a greater, complex understanding of foodstuffs and how they in fact interact together to form a meal or a key ingredient for the meal. This book manages to appeal to all levels - both the bemused but interested non-cook, the amateur cook who wants to one day take things further, the scientist and the professional cook who wishes to add this style to their repertoire. To achieve this with such an understandably complex subject matter is testament to the wide range of contributors and polishing by the editors.Some further reading suggestions are given at the end of each chapter for those who need to look at concepts or references in more detail. Whilst it might have been nice to have had many colour photographs to illustrate the concepts shown in the book, maybe it would have then transformed into an unwieldily tome. Nonetheless some illustrations could have helped further express the visual concepts examined in the book. Current problems with technology mean that it is not possible to reproduce the aural and taste experiences that the experiments would have delivered. Maybe a future version when the technology allows!One can equally expect that this book will act as a springboard into the subject of molecular gastronomy and inspire more people to take a closer look at it for professional, private or educational use. There is also a growing home movement of amateur molecular gastronomists who are enjoying riding the wave and trying to copy the often high-end, esoteric creations of leading-edge chefs. Although, on the whole, to do this and do this well you need a deep pocket as a lot of the equipment being used is very expensive, running into the thousands and tens of thousands of dollars a time. As amateur interest develops, however, prices of equipment may begin to fall.The book ends with a detailed resume of the contributors and an index. Unfortunately it was not possible to examine the index and state whether it was comprehensive and helpful or flaccid and a waste of pages as the review example provided did not feature this. However, one would be surprised if this was found to be deficient when one considers the overall high quality of this book. It is further pleasing to see the quite low price point for this book, making is less of an exclusive academic resource and more accessible to the regular reader without overly watering down the content. If you treat it as a great overview and introduction irrespective of your level of accomplishment or background, you should not be disappointed. This reviewer expects that this book will be a regular reference companion in the future too.The Kitchen as Laboratory: Reflections on the Science of Food and Cooking, edited by Cesar Vega, Job Ubbin, and Erik van der Linden and published by Columbia University Press. ISBN 9780231153447, 400 pages. Typical price: USD25. YYYYY.// This review appeared in and is reproduced here in full with permission of celebrates the worldwide diversity of food and drink, as presented through the humble book. Whether you call it a cookery book, cook book, recipe book or something else (in the language of your choice) YUM will provide you with news and reviews of the latest books on the marketplace. //

  • Jenni Snider
    2018-11-14 09:41

    Really interesting read. A collection of essays by top chefs about how they use scientific methods to develop their recipes. Think of Alton Brown's Good Eats on crack!! I didn't finish every single essay but found several that were incredibly interesting. Theres a recipe in here for chocolate chip cookies where they suggest you vacuum seal the dough for a few hours, or even freeze for a few days before baking. This process is supposed to result in a richer tasting cookie because the ingredients are allowed to develop their unique characteristics within the dough. Definitely going to try it.

  • Irene
    2018-11-14 12:50

    An excellent book overall. Loved the curious and almost flippant tone of writing, as well as the science. Actually learned new stuff, which is getting to be a rare occurrence these days, haha. Loved the segment on dondurma ice cream. I would read again just for the fun of it.

  • Jaki
    2018-10-18 15:59

    Some sections were a lot more interesting (to me) than others. If you’re mostly looking for practical ways to apply science to’ll be wading through a lot of other stuff, some of it interesting, some of it dry.

  • Amy L. Campbell
    2018-11-10 14:10

    Note: Advanced Reader Copy provided by Netgalley.This is more for scientists with an interest in cooking than cooks with an interest in science. Most of the articles were fairly scientifically complex if you haven't had a chemistry class in a few years. However, most of the contributors did an excellent job of relaying the basic idea behind the science, so I found myself more or less understanding the gist, even if I could not grasp the exact details.There were a few stand out articles that I think almost everyone will enjoy. Perhaps my favorite chapter (11) was, not surprisingly, the one about bacon. Timothy Light covered the topic with a humor that I think most bacon lovers will appreciate, I especially enjoyed his bacon butterfly metaphor. Other highlights include how to immediately improve your chocolate chip cookies in one easy step and why that works (chapter 9). Chapter 28 was also well written with a brief personal history of pizza and suggestions for playing with dough ratios to get your perfect homemade crust. But one of the most interesting chapters all around was chapter 29, which described an experience of dining in the dark and how our perception of the meal, the dining environment, and presentation all change our experience of a meal. Not only was the concept fascinating, but the article was highly enjoyable, with just the right balance of science and understandability. I think serious chefs will certainly enjoy this, as well as scientists with an interest in food. Others may also find "The Kitchen as Laboratory" interesting, but may have some difficulty grasping the scientific and/or culinary concepts.

  • Jason
    2018-10-16 15:59

    A fantastic anthology of science and cooking from some of today's most prominent cooks and scientists. Everyone from Michael Laiskonis (former pastry chef at 3 Michelin star Le Bernardin, countless professors of multiple disciplines, high ranking food industry scientists, award winning European chefs, and Nathan Myhrvold former CTO of Microsoft and author of the book Modernist Cuisine. Basically theres a little bit of everything in the book if you enjoy science in your cooking. Want to know what cheese makes the best grilled cheeses and why? I do mean the hard science behind the why, as in the casein and proteins, etc. Want to get in depth with the Maillard reaction? This book will oblige you. Some chapters are better than others, but none are very long, which does keep it moving and keeps you engaged. It does get technical and makes no apologies for it, and it should not, it revels in the science behind the craft, and attempts the marry the two as harmoniously as possible. It certainly made me view my cooking in an entirely new light.

  • Jami Leigh
    2018-10-25 08:46

    Perk of having a librarian in the household: She knows my interest in both food and science, so when this came across her desk today, it got checked out and brought home for my perusal. Essentially a bunch of scientific abstracts focused on food preparation. Think Serious Eats' food lab (, with a few more charts, molecule drawings, and black and white photos of food that don't really give you much of an idea what you're looking at. This is a case of a book that would have very much benefited from color photos. It's a bit dry, as well, and a lot of the information isn't new.. In fact, I'd say light/dumbed down versions of many of these articles routinely make their rounds on the various and sundry food blogs I follow. Still, enjoyable light reading for science minded people who enjoy knowing what's going on with their food while it cooks. I think the main use for this is in recipe development/modification, and with that in mind, it's not a bad read.

  • Lance Schaubert
    2018-11-01 12:58

    @ Kitchen as Laboratory only got a flip-through so far, but my engineer friendwho cooks like Gregory House LOVES it. I let him flip through the pages of my review copy, and we’re already joking about measuring the rarity of steak in kelvin and using bunsen burners to boil water for Ramen. The book’s nothing like that – it’s a compilation of essays from scientists, chefs and food critics who see cooking more like a science, less like an art. I, for one, am interested in why the cheesecake blossomed the first time and collapsed the second. What changed? They make a compelling case…

  • Sandra Keyser
    2018-10-17 15:08

    This book is composed of a series of interesting articles, ranging from topics like why chocolate chips will sometimes bloom to how one can roast a duck while keeping the outside crispy and inside moist. The papers vary in their scientific content; some featured for example SEM images of the pores in bread or graphs correlating sugar content and freezing point depressions, while others were descriptions of experiences (e.g. dining in the dark). If you like cooking, this is a worthwhile text, but feel free to skip the more mundane chapters!

  • Dan
    2018-10-19 13:10

    Simply brilliant. A collection of 33 essays by top chefs, food scientists and food writers on an impressive array of topics that cover all the senses and how they're affected by cooking techniques and the chemistry, physics and biology of cooking. In some places it gets quite technical, in others it's quite an easy read for the layperson, but all of it is fascinating and for anyone who enjoys cooking, it's a guarantee you'll pick up at a least a couple of new ideas and/or procedures that will enhance what you put on the plate.

  • Elizabeth
    2018-10-30 14:08

    As seen inNature .Also as seen in this webinar: scrub to ~31:30.Also as seen in ACS Reactions:

  • Roxy
    2018-11-13 15:08

    Very interesting and insightful book. It had a bit too much chemistry and I found myself trying to take notes to follow the discussions. Perhaps I am outside the book's intended audience; being neither a professional chef trying to mass produce a menu nor a chemist seeking further application of my science.

  • Katie
    2018-11-08 10:44

    A very serious book about the science of food and cooking. I found myself skimming over many of the chapters because it was a little more than I wanted to know. I think that if you love science this would be a great book.

  • Rebecca Reid
    2018-10-29 14:53

    I really enjoyed this for the most part. (I skipped about five of the 33 chapters because I just wasn't interested in them). Review TK

  • Robert Broek
    2018-10-19 12:02

    Really cool book with lots of incite to the science behind cooking. If you like to experiment in the kitchen this is a must read.