The first edition of On Food and Cooking appeared in 1984. I wrote it to translate technical food science into cook-friendly kitchen science, something that had not yet been done in a systematic, comprehensive way. It gradually became a standard reference, the book to which food lovers and professional chefs worldwide turn for an understanding of where our foods come from, what exactly they’re made of, and how cooking transforms them into something new and delicious. And it contributed to the rise of the modern experimental approach to cooking.
For its twentieth anniversary year in 2004, I prepared a new, fully revised and updated edition of On Food and Cooking. I rewrote the text almost completely, expanded it by two thirds, and commissioned over 100 new illustrations. Among the major themes I address throughout are:
- Traditional and modern methods of food production and their influences on food quality
- The great diversity of methods by which people in different places and times have prepared the same ingredients
- The particular substances that give foods their flavors, and that give us pleasure
- Our evolving knowledge of the health benefits and risks of foods
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