Something I have not had the opportunity to do until now is to review a book here on Coco Cami, so I was thrilled to be asked to review Cooking For Geeks by Jeff Potter recently.
I have always been a bit of a geek myself, and I like the idea of a book which combines science with food, going in to the science behind flavours and techniques. Jeff Potter has really gone in to depth with this book and I was hooked from the first page. I loved reading about the history of recipes. We pretty much take for granted reading recipes all the time, but I had never before thought about how far recipes date back to, so it was amazing to learn that one of the oldest known recipes dates back to four millennia ago and describes a ritual for making beer.
The section on cooking medieval recipes was fascinating and the excess of medieval banquets was astonishing, I think our palates have obviously changed a lot since then but the excess has not changed in some ways as the medieval banquets reminded me of the crazy amounts of food I order when I get a Chinese take away! Or is that just me...?
It was interesting to learn about the science of pressure cooking and all about the science of why things taste the way they do, until reading this book I had never really thought about what a big part science plays in the composition and flavour of food. It was great to get more insight about so many different topics which frankly I had never thought about in detail before.
The best thing about this book however is that it is by no means only about science, so if science is not really your thing there is still every reason to add this to your library of cookbooks. There are so many great recipes in the book which have clear instructions and combine just a little bit of science in to the recipes. I was happy to see a recipe for Fall butternut squash soup as butternut squash is one of my favourite vegetables, and the recipe for winter white bean and garlic soup sounds like one I will definitely be trying.
There are so many easy recipes in the book which are seasonal too, such as summery gazpacho. The fennel, Portobello mushroom and parmesan salad would also be ideal for a lighter side dish served alongside pasta or pizza.
In between these easy to make recipes, Jeff plunges you back in to the world of science with engaging insights on subjects such as ‘environmentally sound food choices’ and ‘the optimal cake cutting algorithm’ (I kid you not) the book is well written, funny and easy to read.
The short sections make it the sort of book that you can pick up during your coffee break and have a good read of whilst learning something interesting. It is almost like reading a magazine, as the format comes across in a style which reminded me of a series of articles. This book is a winner for anybody who takes their food seriously, as there is also detailed technical knowledge on subjects such as Sous Vide cooking and optimising the efficiency of your freezer.
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who like me, is a total foodie and loves recipes, but who is equally interested to find out about the science of how food is made!
Jeff Potter is a great writer and this book is such a good read, which can easily be enjoyed in sections and does not come across as too heavy even when it deals with more scientific topics.
Cooking for Geeks is also available on Amazon
The author is on Twitter as @jeffpotterusa
What do you all think, do you like the idea of a book which is easy to read, clear and interesting which focuses on science and food? As always I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post.
Until next time,