Keys to Good Cooking Q&A + Videos

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keys.jpg
This book is so helpful it even has the table of content on the front cover.
Harold McGee's Keys to Good Cooking is a great

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Keys to Good Cooking Q&A + Videos

  • Keys to Good Cooking Q&A + Videos

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    keys.jpg
    This book is so helpful it even has the table of content on the front cover.
    Harold McGee's Keys to Good Cooking is a great addition to any cookbook library. It picks up where many cookbooks leave off. The "How's" and "Why's" of a dish's success - or failure - are often a mystery, but McGee sheds light on many of those mysteries to make us more informed in the kitchen and ultimately, better cooks.

    Here's a continuation of our Q&A with Harold McGee. Read Part I of the Q&A.

    MSG - good or evil?

    MSG is our main source of the taste called umami, a meaty, savory, mouth-filling, mouth-watering taste. It's found in many foods and contributes to the special deliciousness of such things as tomatoes, parmesan cheese, dry-aged steaks, and soy sauce. Used as a food additive, it's a quick way of getting that taste without the ingredients. Hundreds of clinical studies have found that it is not harmful to eat. It's neither good nor evil; it can make foods delicious, or can be used to disguise the absence of delicious ingredients.

    You are a busy man and probably struggle with what most home cooks do - time. You have recommended cooking vegetables fast in the microwave but meat or other proteins slowly. Any advice for how to get dinner on the table quickly after a long work day?

    Take some time over the weekend to make a big slow-cooked braise or stew, which takes very little actual work time but sits in the oven for many hours, and which tastes better and better on the second and third and fourth day. If you like pasta, you should know that it doesn't need to be cooked in a big pot of water, which can take half an hour just to get to the boil. Just put the pasta and a small amount of cold water (about a quart and a half per pound) in a saute pan, turn on the heat, and you'll have al dente pasta and the makings of a sauce (the thick pasta water) in 20 minutes.

    Harold McGee is in Seattle this week with appearances at University Book Store on November 18th at 7pm and at Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park on November 20th at 6:30 pm.

    Check out these fun videos McGee made to demystify a couple of common cooking myths:

    Cooking Vegetables

    There is a common wisdom about how to cook "leaky" vegetables like eggplant and mushrooms. McGee shows you that there are benefits to both the "wrong way" and the "right way."

    Making Ice Cream

    McGee demonstrates that you don't need a fancy machine - or even a machine at all - to make ice cream at home. Just three ziplock bags, salt and ice cream mix.

     
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