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Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks, and Good Food By Jeff Potter

Cooking has never been interesting to me, after reading this book I am still not very interested, but I do want to learn how to cook well enough to feed my family a nice balanced meal.

I read this book using Safari Books Online an iPad, a MacBook, and an iPhone. Reading using HTML view in mobile Safari works ok, it is not as good an experience as a proper eBook that is correctly formatted, but it is a lot better than trying to read a PDF that is formatted with all the wasted space of a print book.

Cooking for Geeks approaches cooking from a scientific and computer geek point of view. I enjoyed the information about what makes food taste the way it does, why we like the taste, how to bring out the best taste, how our taste buds work, and some of the basic recipes to get me started cooking.

I used the information in the book to buy kitchen tools like a non-stick frying pan, an iron skillet, probe and oven thermometers, and a kitchen scale. I look forward to using them to cook my family some great meals.

One of my favorite features of this book are the vignettes from celebrity chefs, celebrity geeks, and food scientists. From Adam Savage talking about cooking eggs to Jeff Varasano of Atlanta’s Varasano’s Pizzeria hacking his home oven to get temperatures hot enough to cook a proper pizza they were all great.

From the publisher:

More than just a cookbook, Cooking for Geeks applies your curiosity to discovery, inspiration, and invention in the kitchen. Why is medium-rare steak so popular? Why do we bake some things at 350° F/175° C and others at 375° F/190° C? And how quickly does a pizza cook if we overclock an oven to 1,000° F/540° C? Author and cooking geek Jeff Potter provides the answers and offers a unique take on recipes — from the sweet (a “mean” chocolate chip cookie) to the savory (duck confit sugo).

I rate this book an 8 out of 10. I highly recommend this book to any geek that has an interest in cooking. It is not the only book needed to go from a non-cook to a great cook but I think it is a great first step.

My next cooking book is Alton Brown’s “I’m Just Here for the Food: Version 2.0” or “How to Cook Everything” by Mark Bittman from which I hope to learn basic kitchen skills.

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