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The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science by J. Kenji López-Alt
- Print Length: 960 Pages
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
- Publication Date: September 21, 2015
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0393081087
- ISBN-13: 978-0393081084
- File Format: EPUB
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.
J. Kenji Lopez-Alt then launches into a nine-part collection of recipes. Each one is well-documented with technique and experimentation as the author discusses how and why he made the recipes the way he did. There are some things which go contrary to cooking norms (flip your steak often, and searing does not lock in juice), but there are explanations for the methods behinds the madness. I appreciate that this book not only has full-color photos and in-depth articles accompanying each recipe, but it really builds on fundamentals of cooking. Even if you never bother to make a recipe from this book verbatim, it will greatly increase your cooking skills from practical knowledge of physics, chemistry, taste, and technique. Many recipes build on one another, and the flow of the book is very good. There is a lack of baked of goods and desserts in this book, but I’m not sure that there would be room for them!
Overall, this book is on par with other amazing at-home cookbooks such as Modernist Cuisine at Home. I especially enjoy his sections on eggs, steaks, chilis, and fried chicken. There are several vegetarian recipes, but many are meat-based (surprising for someone who does a month-long blog annually about living vegan).
I would highly suggest this book. I look forward to cooking and expirementing my way through it.