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Great 'science of cooking' cookbooks for gift?

What are the most entertaining and useful books you've found ... popular and recent ... that help a person hone cooking techniques via an understanding of food physics/science?

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  1. On Food and Cooking by Harold Mcgee, a 2004 or later edition. It's pretty much the standard.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Botch

      Although many wouldn't find it "entertaining" it is a standard reference book of food science for the kitchen. One I wouldn't want to be without.

    2. Its not a gourmet book by any means, but Alton Brown's "I'm Just Here for the Food" was pretty entertaining.

      1. Have you looked at Cookwise by Shirley Corriher? Might fit the bill.

        5 Replies
        1. re: fern

          I was also going to suggest Cookwise -- it's well-written and an interesting read, in addition to having good recipes.

          1. re: DanaB

            Shirley just published Bakewise. I haven't read it yet but if it's anything like Cookwise, it's perfect for the baking enthusiast.

            1. re: Dee S

              Bakewise was recently given the James Beard award for cookbooks. I have both of Shirley's books and I also recommend Harold McGhee's book.

          2. re: fern

            Yes. Cookwise was given to my former sister-in-law as she requested a no-nonsense, beginners book.She said it opened up the world of cooking.

            1. re: fern

              Yes indeed! Cookwise and Bakewise! They're readable and incredibly informative.

            2. "What Einstein Told His Cook" by Robert Wolke explains many things, and now has a second volume.

              1. I second Alton Brown's "I'm Just Here For The Food". It's the science behind the techniques, with Master recipes that can be adapted to any "gourmet" usage. Also the companion book "I'm Just Here For More Food" does the same things for baking techniques.

                3 Replies
                1. re: KiltedCook

                  I third Alton Brown's two books, and be sure to watch his show "Good Eats"!

                  1. re: Michelly

                    Love that show. A little manic, but entertaining and useful.

                    1. re: Cinnamon

                      But the mania is great! I mean, I never would have thought of coring a pear with a drill gun!
                      And since his show is so entertaining, even my 10-yr. old watches it, so she learns what to do and WHY, just like me.