Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Molecular Gastronomy by Hervé This

I know we usually stick to fiction here at Pages of the Mind, but I've been so thoroughly enjoying this book that I had to share it!  Have you ever wondered if salt really enhances flavours?  Or why?  What is the best way to cool a cup of tea?  Stirring or blowing?  Or, which method of hard boiling an egg most effectively centers the yolk?

The subtitle of this book is Exploring the Science of Flavor and that's exactly what This (pronounced: Teese, like geese) does in this book.  I think the phrase molecular gastronomy itself might scare some people off, but please don't be fooled by the name of the subject.  Molecular gastronomy is simply a branch of science that tried to understand the chemical processes that occur during cooking.  Understanding these processes then allows molecular gastronomers to understand how to best accomplish the cooking task. 

Each chapter is one to three pages long - 99 chapters in all.  He begins every chapter with a question and proceeds to explain the experiments that have been done to answer that question, and explains how the conclusions of those experiments translates into the kitchen.  Hervé This is French, so there are a few chapters pertaining to food or cooking techniques that I have never heard of, but I still found it extremely interesting to read about them anyway.

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