The Science of the Oven

The Science of the Oven


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Mayonnaise "takes" when a series of liquids form a semisolid consistency. Eggs, a liquid, become solid as they are heated, whereas, under the same conditions, solids melt. When meat is roasted, its surface browns and it acquires taste and texture. What accounts for these extraordinary transformations?

The answer: chemistry and physics. With his trademark eloquence and wit, Hervé This launches a wry investigation into the chemical art of cooking. Unraveling the science behind common culinary technique and practice, Hervé This breaks food down to its molecular components and matches them to cooking's chemical reactions. He translates the complex processes of the oven into everyday knowledge for professional chefs and casual cooks, and he demystifies the meaning of taste and the making of flavor. He describes the properties of liquids, salts, sugars, oils, and fats and defines the principles of culinary practice, which endow food with sensual as well as nutritional value.

For fans of Hervé This's popular volumes and for those new to his celebrated approach, The Science of the Oven expertly expands the possibilities of the kitchen, fusing the physiology of taste with the molecular structure of bodies and food.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780231147071
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 08/07/2012
Series: Arts and Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 216
Sales rank: 887,723
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Hervé This is a physical chemist on the staff of the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique in Paris. He is the author of Building a Meal: From Molecular Gastronomy to Culinary Constructivism; Kitchen Mysteries: Revealing the Science of Cooking; and Molecular Gastronomy: Exploring the Science of Flavor, among other books.

Jody Gladding is a poet who has translated more than twenty works from French.

Table of Contents

Into the Mouth
1. Let Us Play with Our Senses
2. Health and Diet
3. What Are the Notes?
4. The Question of Hors d'oeuvres
5. Understanding, Perfecting
6. Without Forgetting All That Makes Life Beautiful
7. From Molecular Cuisine to Culinary Constructivism
A Last Bite for the Road

What People are Saying About This

Jeanine Plottel

Hervé This's contribution is in his application of the scientific method: questioning procedures that have come down through the ages and asking whether they make sense. Here is his charm and whimsy that make his work fun to read.

Albert Sonnenfeld

What Hervé This aims for is to use fairly high-powered yet accessible science not only to analyze what transpires in traditional cooking but also to adapt his unique brand of analysis to flavors, textures, colors, and more, therefore entering new realms of culinary epistemology.

Albert Sonnenfeld, translator of Culture of the Fork: A Brief History of Everyday Food and Haute Cuisine in Europe

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