The Perfect Gift for the Cook in your Family
First let me say two things. One, I LOVE this book. As a mum trying to cook for my family, I need all the help I can get and Jeff Potter’s Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Cooks, and Good Food is a real time, effort and not to mention temper-saver!
Second, this book is not just for Geeks. Don’t be put off by the word science in the title. Even if you failed science at school, I promise you’ll find this cookbook a fantastic source of helpful information and tips and tricks to help you become master or mistress of your kitchen.
More than “just a cookbook”, Cooking for Geeks is packed full of information that will transform the way you cook, I guarantee it. Case in point, I thought I knew how to cook scrambled eggs – a quick stir over high heat and they’re done, right? But then I’ve always wondered how the eggs I’ve eaten in restaurants and hotels end up tasting so much nicer and creamier than the ones I cook at home. Now, I know the secret. Jeff’s Slow Scrambled Eggs may take a little longer and require a bit more attention (granted, as a busy mum at teatime that’s not always what you want) but they are delicious and even my daughter commented on how much nicer they a) looked and b) tasted. Definitely worth the extra time and effort.
There’s also a whole bunch of detailed advice on topics such as how to calibrate both your oven and freezer to make sure they’re working at the right temperatures, how to preserve heat in the oven when you open the oven door (keep a pizza stone or hot plate in there); the science behind how to make the perfect cookie and how to cut a cake so that everyone gets the size piece they want (this tip is ingenious).
But yes, as with any good cookbook, there are plenty of recipes too. No-Knead Pizza Dough, 30-Second Chocolate Cake and Mac n Cheese are sure to be family-pleasers, but there are some more adventurous and advanced sounding dishes too. Pulled Pork under Pressure, Smoked Paprika, Chickpea and Cilantro Chicken, and Peppermint Chocolate Mints are next on my list of recipes to try.
Along with the recipes, there are a series of kitchen lab “experiments” that my kids have asked if they can help with (particularly the How to Make Ice Cream with Salt and Ice – funny that – and the intriguing-sounding How to Make Liquid Smoke). Plus there are interviews with scientists and chefs peppered throughout the book on a range of subjects from taste, food safety, pizza and unfamiliar ingredients.
So, there’s just lots and lots and lots to get your teeth into. This book is such a rich and detailed resource – I know I will be dipping into my well-thumbed copy for years to come.
This would be a fantastic Christmas gift for the cook in your family – (if that’s you, leave very strong hints) – or for anyone who wants to go further than just following recipes, but wants to understand the science behind what makes them work as well. Cooking for Geeks is currently available on Amazon for £21.20 and you can also buy it at Waterstones and other high street book stores. There’s more information about the book and author, Jeff Potter, along with sample chapters on the website Cookingforgeeks.com
Now in its second edition, Cooking for Geeks has sold over 100,000 copies in six languages. Author and self-confessed food geek, Jeff Potter says: “By bringing science to food-minded people and food to science-minded people, there’s the potential to make us all masters of the kitchen.” Cooking for Geeks is published by O’Reilly Media.
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