Kitchen Mysteries

Revealing the Science of Cooking

Hervé This. Translated by Jody Gladding

Columbia University Press

Kitchen Mysteries

Pub Date: July 2010

ISBN: 9780231141710

232 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $16.95£13.99

Pub Date: November 2007

ISBN: 9780231141703

232 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $22.95£18.99

Pub Date: November 2007

ISBN: 9780231512039

232 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $15.99£13.99

Kitchen Mysteries

Revealing the Science of Cooking

Hervé This. Translated by Jody Gladding

Columbia University Press

An international celebrity and founder of molecular gastronomy, or the scientific investigation of culinary practice, Hervé This is known for his ground-breaking research into the chemistry and physics behind everyday cooking. His work is consulted widely by amateur cooks and professional chefs and has changed the way food is approached and prepared all over the world.

In Kitchen Mysteries, Hervé This offers a second helping of his world-renowned insight into the science of cooking, answering such fundamental questions as what causes vegetables to change color when cooked and how to keep a soufflé from falling. He illuminates abstract concepts with practical advice and concrete examples—for instance, how sautéing in butter chemically alters the molecules of mushrooms—so that cooks of every stripe can thoroughly comprehend the scientific principles of food.

Kitchen Mysteries begins with a brief overview of molecular gastronomy and the importance of understanding the physiology of taste. A successful meal depends as much on a cook's skilled orchestration of taste, odors, colors, consistencies, and other sensations as on the delicate balance of ingredients. Hervé then dives into the main course, discussing the science behind many meals' basic components: eggs, milk, bread, sugar, fruit, yogurt, alcohol, and cheese, among other items. He also unravels the mystery of tenderizing enzymes and gelatins and the preparation of soups and stews, salads and sauces, sorbet, cakes, and pastries. Hervé explores the effects of boiling, steaming, braising, roasting, deep-frying, sautéing, grilling, salting, and microwaving, and devotes a chapter to kitchen utensils, recommending the best way to refurbish silverware and use copper.

By sharing the empirical principles chefs have valued for generations, Hervé This adds another dimension to the suggestions of cookbook authors. He shows how to adapt recipes to available ingredients and how to modify proposed methods to the utensils at hand. His revelations make difficult recipes easier to attempt and allow for even more creativity and experimentation. Promising to answer your most compelling kitchen questions, Hervé This continues to make the complex science of food digestible to the cook.
Fans of 'Curious Cook' Harold McGee will relish the latest from This (Molecular Gastronomy), a French chemist and foodie hero who has helped to usher in the current restaurant world vogue for turning the kitchen into a laboratory.... Even those who might be turned off by the thought of food chemistry will quickly be drawn in by his obvious love of food and eagerness to apply his research to helping people cook better. Publishers Weekly
This has made invisible processes visible, revealed the mysteries, and the bread has risen, baked, and been enjoyed. Claudia Kousoulas, Appetite for Books
Cooks who want to learn more about the chemistry and physics that make their efforts possible will discover useful things here. Booklist
This's molecular gastronomy is garnished with the author's own rich philosophy of food and flavor. Peter Barham, Nature
An exuberant paean for the role of science in cooking... This's book performs a great service. Len Fisher, Times Higher Education Supplement
This book should be in every kitchen. Christine Sismondo, Toronto Star
[An] eye-opening book. Kate Colquhoun, Portsmouth Herald
Witty and humorous... [readers] whose eyes glaze over at the very mention of electrons may find themselves becoming entranced by This' graceful descriptions of essential chemical reactions. Lynn Harnett, Seacoast Sunday
Well crafted, sprinkled with insight, and containing a menagerie of information, Kitchen Mysteries is a wonderful trip down a stellar buffet line. J. Edward Sumerau, Metro Spirit
Kitchen Mysteries is another tour de force for the French scientific chef... Highly Recommended. Choice
This's book offers expert explanations that give the reader a better understanding of both cooking and cuisine. As such, it is enticing. Pierre Laszlo, Chemical Heritage
Series Editor's Foreword
Cooking and Science
The New Physiology of Flavor
Soup
Milk
Gels, Jellies, Aspics
Mayonnaise
The Egg's Incarnations
A Successful Soufflé ?
Cooking
The Boiled and the Bouillon
Steaming
Braising
Chicken Stew, Beef Stew, Veal Stew
Questions of Pressure
Roasting
Deep-Frying
Sautés and Grills
Even More Tender
Salting
Microwaves
Vegetables: Color and Freshness
Sauces: Creamy, Satiny, Flavorful
A Burning Question
The Salad: An Oasis of Freshness
Yogurt and Cheese
Fruits of the Harvest
Ices and Sorbets
Cakes: Light and Melting
Pastry Dough: Tart, Shortbread, and Puff Pastry
Sugar
Bread
Wine
The Alcohols
Jams
Tea
Cold and Cool
Vinegar
Kitchen Utensils
Mysteries of the Kitchen
Glossary
Index

About the Author

Hervé This is a physical chemist on the staff of the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique in Paris. He is the author of Columbia's Molecular Gastronomy and of several other books on food and cooking. He is a monthly contributor to Pour la Science, the French-language edition of Scientific American. Jody Gladding is a poet and has translated twenty works from French, most recently, Madeleine Ferrière's Sacred Cow Mad Cow, which also appears in the Arts and Traditions of the Table series.