ReLocavore: Redefining "local"

A locavore moves from Wisconsin to New Hampshire and rediscovers what "local" means.

Christmas Cookbooks: from Cooks Illustrated…

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An illustration of pig anatomy and pork primals from the Science of Good Cooking from Cooks Illustrated Press, 2012.

An illustration of pig anatomy and pork primals from the Science of Good Cooking from Cooks Illustrated Press, 2012.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I got a lot of cookbooks for Christmas. Today, I’m going to review the three cookbooks that I got from Cooks Illustrated. Two books are hardbound annuals, and the other is a new cookbook based on techniques.

The hard bound annual editions are like the hard bound journals in academic libraries… Take all of the paper monthly journals for the year and slap them between two hard covers. I have been amassing these annual editions since I became a Cooks Illustrated subscriber in 2005. This year, Sam gave me the 2001 and 2009 editions. 2001 was working back in the timeline, and for some reason, I never got the 2009 edition.

Illustration of moisture expelled from roasts after variable minutes of resting.

Illustration of moisture expelled from roasts after variable minutes of resting.

The cookbook The Science of Good Cooking is a collection of recipes and techniques arranged around a common scientific/cooking/chemistry concept. Each section describes the science behind the concept, illustrates how the concept works in cooking using laboratory-like experiments, and then presents recipes that utilize the concept. For example, concept #3 is “Resting Meat Maximizes Juiciness.” In this chapter, the concept is presented as resting meat reabsorbs expelled water back into muscle fibers. Then they test the concept by resting equal-weight roasts for different amounts of time (0 to 40 minutes) then measuring the amount of liquid expelled after slicing. Then they include a table summarizing the amount of time to rest meats, based on similar tests. Then there are recipes using the resting technique to increase moistness: grilled flank steak and pork roast.

Bibliography

The Editors at America’s Test Kitchen and Crosby, G. The Science of Good Cooking. 1st ed. Brookline, MA: America’s Test Kitchen; 2012. ISBN: 978-1-933615-98-1. Details at CooksIllustrated.com.

The Editors of Cooks Illustrated. Cooks Illustrated. 2001 Bound Annual Ed. Brookline, MA: Boston Common Press LLP; 2001. ISBN: 0-936184-56-6. Details at CooksIllustrated.com.

The Editors of Cooks Illustrated. Cooks Illustrated. 2009 Bound Annual Ed. Brookline, MA: America’s Test Kitchen Press; 2009. ISBN: 1-933615-49-4. Details at CooksIllustrated.com.

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