Food science: New books invite science into your kitchen and help cook modern cuisine in a simple way.
You may not aspire to the culinary theatrics performed by the wizards of modernist cuisine — transparent ravioli? edible balloons? — but your cooking probably still could benefit from a few lessons from their labs.
And learning those lessons will get a lot easier this fall when food science becomes far more home-friendly. Riding the buzz of science-driven cooking shows and hot modernist chefs like Ferran Adria and Grant Achatz, publishers are releasing two books this fall that demystify the secrets of everyday food science, such as searing meat, scrambling eggs and measuring flour.
"The Science of Good Cooking," from the test kitchens of Cook's Illustrated magazine, joins fifty basic concepts — why salt makes meat juicy, why high heat develops flavor — with 400 recipes that show you how to put those principles into practice.
Meanwhile, "Modernist Cuisine at Home," from the laboratory that produced "Modernist Cuisine," a six-volume encyclopedia of molecular gastronomy released last year, promises a bit more flair, urging home cooks to turn their blowtorches and meat injectors on comfy fare such as cheeseburgers and roast chicken.