#5. The Food Lab – J. Kenji López-Alt
I received this incredible book for Christmas from my oldest daughter. It is amazing but can be overwhelming, depending how you approach it.
If you go at it like you have to learn everything in it or want to start from the beginning and read all the way through, you may be in for some frustrations.
But if you use it to research a particular technique or culinary term or just pick it up and open to a page and start reading, you’re going to love it.
Here’s what Amazon says about the book:
As Serious Eats’s culinary nerd-in-residence, J. Kenji López-Alt has pondered all these questions and more. In The Food Lab, Kenji focuses on the science behind beloved American dishes, delving into the interactions between heat, energy, and molecules that create great food. Kenji shows that often, conventional methods don’t work that well, and home cooks can achieve far better results using new―but simple―techniques.
Let’s see what the reviewers have to say:
I have been waiting for this book to come out and it exceeds my expectations! “The Food Lab” by Lopez-Alt is a dense collection of science based tips, explanations, techniques, and recipes for the home cook. This is a must have reference and cookbook for home cooking enthusiasts.
I’ve been reading Kenji’s column since it started, and have learned so much and made so many of his recipes. So, I know they work. I know his recipes are excellent and that he’s someone you can trust implicitly to have a great version of a dish. And this book is great, and beautiful, full of photos, his great sense of humor, and excellent instructions.
This book is a monster. At almost 7 pounds and nearly a thousand pages, you can bet that it is comprehensive. Like most cookbooks today, it begins with a background of the author, who is an MIT grad turned culinary scientist. He goes on to discuss gear and technique as well as recommendations for essentials- all pretty standard so far. Though I do appreciate that he adds a premium and budget pick for each gear recommendation.