Unveiling the Essential Elements of Food
Ecco, 9780062385352, 272pp.
Publication Date: September 27, 2016
An IACP Award-Winning Cookbook
In this entertaining, informative guide, one of the leading experts in culinary science—a chef, consultant, and scientist who has worked with some of the biggest names in the industry, from Thomas Keller to Daniel Humm—paints a portrait of each of the fundamental building blocks of food, giving all cooks a way to visualize and respond to what’s really happening in the pan.
There are ingredients, and then there are Ingredients. An ingredient is a tomato, a tortilla, or some tarragon. An Ingredient (with a capital "I") is a fundamental building block or recurring theme that works behind the scenes in everything we cook. There are millions of ingredients, but only eight Ingredients: Water, Sugars, Carbs, Lipids, Proteins, Minerals, Gases, and Heat.
Each Ingredient has its own personality, a set of things it does or doesn’t do. Ever been blown away by a wonderfully fragrant dish? From soup and mashed potatoes to French toast and barbecue, lipids act like glue to stick aromas to your food. Is a batter too thin or sauce not clinging correctly? The best bets for thickening any liquid are carbs and proteins, which we can find anywhere from a bag of flour to a roasted garlic clove or a piece of braised meat. This book teaches you the personalities of the Ingredients, where to find them, and how to put them to work.
Ingredient isn’t a book of recipes, nor is it a definitive treatise on the science of the kitchen. It’s an illustrated guide to visualizing and controlling food’s invisible moving parts, regardless of your skill level or how you like to cook.
Through this lively, engaging, and accessible guide, renowned culinary scientist Ali Bouzari shifts our focus from secret ingredients to the secrets of Ingredients.
Praise For Ingredient: Unveiling the Essential Elements of Food…
— Daniel Humm
“Ingredient is a highly elevated cheat sheet for any avid cook or food geek. Essential for any serious kitchen...a direct and fascinating guide to the science of food.”
— Padma Lakshmi
“I’ve read a lot of books about food, but I’ve never seen one like Ingredient...Engaging and eminently useful. You can’t turn more than two pages without discovering something new or being reminded of a concept that is the key to solving a kitchen problem you’ve been having.”
— J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, managing culinary director of Serious Eats and author of The Food Lab
“[A] charming new primer on the science of food and cooking . . . Bouzari’s animated style vividly dramatizes processes that may be familiar to us, but whose inner logics remain obscure.”
“Awesome, nerdy science...Reading Ingredient will make you smarter, and after reading it, you’ll cook smarter. And that makes everything taste better.”