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Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks, and Good Food
 
 

Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks, and Good Food [Kindle Edition]

Jeff Potter
4.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (4 Kundenrezensionen)

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Produktbeschreibungen

Kurzbeschreibung

Are you the innovative type, the cook who marches to a different drummer -- used to expressing your creativity instead of just following recipes? Are you interested in the science behind what happens to food while it's cooking? Do you want to learn what makes a recipe work so you can improvise and create your own unique dish?


More than just a cookbook, Cooking for Geeks applies your curiosity to discovery, inspiration, and invention in the kitchen. Why is medium-rare steak so popular? Why do we bake some things at 350° F/175° C and others at 375° F/190° C? And how quickly does a pizza cook if we overclock an oven to 1,000° F/540° C? Author and cooking geek Jeff Potter provides the answers and offers a unique take on recipes -- from the sweet (a "mean" chocolate chip cookie) to the savory (duck confit sugo).


This book is an excellent and intriguing resource for anyone who wants to experiment with cooking, even if you don't consider yourself a geek.


  • Initialize your kitchen and calibrate your tools
  • Learn about the important reactions in cooking, such as protein denaturation, Maillard reactions, and caramelization, and how they impact the foods we cook
  • Play with your food using hydrocolloids and sous vide cooking
  • Gain firsthand insights from interviews with researchers, food scientists, knife experts, chefs, writers, and more, including author Harold McGee, TV personality Adam Savage, chemist Herv&eacute This, and xkcd

"My own session with the book made me feel a lot more confident in my cooking."

--Monica Racic,The New Yorker

"I LOVE this book. It's inspiring, invigorating, and damned fun to spend time inside the mind of 'big picture' cooking. I'm Hungry!"

--Adam Savage, co-host of Discovery Channel's MythBusters

"In his enchanting, funny, and informative book, Cooking for Geeks (O'Reilly), Jeff Potter tells us why things work in the kitchen and why they don't."

-- Barbara Hanson, NewYork Daily News

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Jeff Potter has done the cubicle thing, the startup thing, and the entrepreneur thing, and through it all maintained his sanity by cooking for friends. He lives in Cambridge, MA.

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Kundenrezensionen

4.0 von 5 Sternen
4.0 von 5 Sternen
Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen
6 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Das etwas andere kochbuch 19. Juli 2011
Von PlasmaHH
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
Wer keinen intuitiven zugang zum kochen hat (hier ein bisschen davon, dort hiervon, ach das wird so schon klappen) findet in diesem buch sehr gute anleitungen die präzise zu befolgen sind. Auch für den bastler gibt es einige interessante anregungen, und vermutlich ist auch für den altgedienten koch etwas dabei. Leider fehlt manchmal etwas die ordnung, und einige dinge hätten besser diagramme und tabellen anstatt fliesstext gebraucht. Im grosse und ganzen aber sein geld wert, und eine super abwechslung zu den ansonsten nur aus rezeptlisten bestehenden kochbüchern. Nicht nur für geeks sondern auch für den Kochanfänger wärmstens zu empfehlen (38°C)
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3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Von Raul
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
I am interested in cooking and I do not find recipe books or compendiums very appealing. Sure you can find real nice stuff, but at the end you end up following the steps like a robot and wondering "what if I do this or that instead...".

Thus, I am searching for bibliography from I can learn how to cook and before diving into real technical books that I might glance and never open, I went for a taste with an introduction and this was one of the books I selected.

The book is organized precisely to do that; allow somebody (even if he/she cannot tell a pan from a bus) to have close in to cooking and how cooking actually works.

This book covers how proteins in fish and meat work and general techniques for cooking. it also provides a series of recipes and "tips" or advices for cooking, in the area of appliances or equipment or simply "best practices". It covers extensively the food safety topic from a mid point between the theory and practice. It also covers baking and "modern professional cooking".

From my point of view, the information given is good and useful, or at least, most of it. The book includes interviews with "relevant" people, from cooks to bloggers and knive makers. These are, in my opinion, totally superfluous. I do not think that magazine style has a place in the whole book idea. Perhaps for commercial reasons, but I have been unable to get anything useful from those interviews. I feel they break the pace of reading and are just filling.

The recipes fail to be suggestions on how to apply the techniques and become just recipes. Perhaps would have been best to leave them in an appendix, as they litter the reading, just like the interviews.
Lesen Sie weiter... ›
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Toller Einstieg ins Kochen, mit technischen Details 21. Oktober 2013
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
Ich habe dieses Buch für einen (englischsprachigen) Freund zum Geburtstag gekauft. Natürlich habe ich das Buch auch vorher ausgiebig studiert!

Das Buch ist für Nerds konzipiert, was man aber nur an gelegentlichen Vergleichen zu Programmiersprachen oder Programmierer-Vorurteilen merkt (nur Pizza etc.). Würde nicht "Cooking for Geeks" draufstehen, könnte man es auch jedem anderen Kochanfänger schenken. Schön finde ich, dass in den ersten Kapiteln erstmal die Motivation aufgebaut wird. Immer wieder wird wiederholt, wie einfach es eigentlich geht und wie schnell, dass man eigentlich keinen Fehler machen kann, dass man ruhig Experimente wagen soll, etc.

Interessant wird es dann vor allem, wenn chemische Vorgänge erklärt werden. Die "Maillard-Reaktion" z.B. war mir nicht geläufig, und ich finde es auch gut zu wissen, bei welcher Temperatur eigentlich was mit Proteinen passiert. Dabei ist das beim täglichen Kochen+Backen eigentlich ganz wichtig! Schön erklärt ist auch, was mit was ersetzt werden kann, was beim Gehen von Hefe eigentlich passiert, was der Unterschied zu Backpulver ist etc. .

Am Schluss wird sogar auf Molekularküche eingegangen. Das Buch ist umfangreich und detailiert, ohne langweilig zu werden - deswegen 5 Sterne.
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0 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Für Neugierige 2. Januar 2014
Von de bruijn
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
Für Geeks aber nicht für Übernerds. Für die jenige die schon immer wissen wollten warum mann Teig Kühl stelllen muss oder warum kochendes Zucker mehr brennt wie kochendes Wasser. Zugänglich geschrieben, allerdings nicht molecular. Die Rezepten sind in Ordnung, nichts spezielles da zwischen, erwartet mann eigentlich auch nicht.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 von 5 Sternen  173 Rezensionen
265 von 270 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Explains the scientific how and why of cooking 9. September 2010
Von John A. Suda - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
You've got to have a lot of confidence and nerve to write and try to sell a nearly 400 page book on cooking to the take-out pizza and cola set. No cookbook is likely to turn many geeks into chefs or take them away from their computer screens. However, even though "Cooking for Geeks" contains a large number of recipes, it is not a conventional cookbook but a scientific explanation of the how and why of cooking which will certainly appeal to that group, as well as to cooking professionals and intellectually curious others.

The author is a geek himself and brings "geek-like" approaches to the subject matter - deep intellectual curiosity, affinity for details, appreciation of problem solving and hacking, scientific method, and a love of technology. What is even better is his filtering of cooking concepts by a computer coder's framework, analogizing recipes to executable code, viewing of ingredients as inputs and as variables, running processes over and over in a logical manner to test and improve outcomes. This is not a mere literary shoe-horning of cooking concepts into a coder's framework but an ingenuous approach to the topics that should loudly resonate with geeks.

The subject matter includes selecting and using kitchen and cooking hardware; prepping inventory; calibrating equipment (especially your oven, using sugar); understanding tastes and smells; the fundamental difference between cooking and baking (and the personality types which gravitate to one form or the other); the importance of gluten and the three major types of leavening (biological, chemical, and mechanical); the types of cooking; using time and temperatures; how to use air as a tool; the chemistry of food combinations; and very thorough and detailed discussions of food handling and safety. The book is organized into seven chapters and includes an appendix dealing with cooking for people with allergies. The recipes are indexed in the front of the book.

The major conventional flavor types of salt, sugar, acids, and alcohol have been supplemented by modern industrial elements - E- Numbered (a Dewey decimal system-like index) additives, colloids, gels, foams, and other yummy things! All are itemized, charted, and explained in the chapter entitled "Playing with Chemistry." A whole chapter (and an interview with mathematician, Douglas Baldwin) is devoted to the latest and greatest food preparation technique -sous vide- cooking food in a temperature-controlled water bath.

Threaded through the sections are short sidebar interviews of mostly computer and techie types who are serious cooks or involved in the food industry. Some of these contributors are Adam Savage (of Myth Busters fame) on scientific technique, Tim O'Reilly (CEO of the book's publisher) on scones and jam, Nathan Myhrvold, on Moderist cuisine, and others. Other interviews deal with taste sensitivities, food mysteries, industrial hardware, pastry chef insights, and many more. There is an insightful section just on knives and how to use and care for them.

Anyone who is interested in cooking will learn from this book. I now pay attention to things I've never heard of before: browning methods like caramelization and the Maillard processes, savory as a major taste, transglutaminase (a.k.a. meat glue), for example. There is stuff I didn't really want to know - "if you've eaten fish you've eaten worms."

Although one of the strengths of the book is the systematic organization, there are useful tips spread throughout. For example, keeping a pizza stone permanently in your oven will help even out heat distribution; storing vegetables correctly requires knowing whether they admit ethylene gas or not (a chart is included); you can test your smell sensitivity profile by using a professional scratch and sniff test kit obtainable from the University of Pennsylvania. Whatever specialized information not contained in the book is referenced to external sources, especially on the Internet.

If all of this is not stimulus enough for the geek crowd, how about learning how you can spectacularly kill yourself cooking with dry ice, liquid nitrogen, blowtorches, and especially an electrocuted hotdog. Cool! This is mad scientist stuff. Engineering-minded types can learn how to make their own ice cream machine from Legos. You'll also learn how NOT to kill your guests with bacteria and other toxins.

The production is nicely done with easily readable text, plentiful drawings and charts, color captions, and many other quality production features. Weights are based in both grams and US volume-based measurements.

(FTC disclosure (16 CFR Part 255): The reviewer has accepted a reviewer's copy of this book which is his to keep. He intends to provide an honest, independent, and fair evaluation of the book in all circumstances.)
128 von 136 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Alton Brown Fans Take Note--You Need This! 6. August 2010
Von Tracy F. - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
Alton Brown fans take note! You need a copy of Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks and Good Food. Seriously, this book takes everything I enjoy about Alton's shows and combines them into a book for the beginner, novice and pro alike.

Sure some recipes may seem basic. Extremely basic actually. It may seem weird to some that there are people who cannot even scramble an egg, but I've learned from experience that these people do exist. When my neighbor came flying out her house with a smoking pan, it had simply contained olive oil and water for boiling pasta but she'd turned on her stove and forgotten all about it. It became apparent that people can even burn water if given the opportunity.

Everything you need to know about cooking is in this book. From kitchen set-up and equipment to simple tips like reading a recipe completely before getting started, Cooking for Geeks has everything you need to start preparing home-cooked meals.

The book offers more than 400 pages of tips, recipes and even interviews with geeks of today. I loved reading Mythbuster's Adam Savage share his love of science and cooking. Learn easy recipes like a 30-Second Chocolate Cake or ones that may seem a little tougher like Butterflied Chicken. By the time you're done, you'll understand that kitchen and be able to whip together nutritious meals for yourself and others.

It's a very rare event that I come across a review book that I feel I must rush out and purchase a copy as soon as it is released. This is one of those situations. I can't imagine NOT owning this cookbook and I love to cook and know more than the basics already. With outstanding recipes, entertaining interviews and witty writing, this is definitely a book you should hand your friends, family and especially neighbors who do come running out of their home with flaming pans.
105 von 114 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Geekery In The Kitchen 10. Januar 2011
Von wheelerk - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
I initially bought this book for my nerdy boyfriend so that I might benefit from some delicious recipes. I was disappointed, he was not. This book is not really about recipes, as much as it is about the molecular level of sugar, or what temperature is the best for the proteins of eggs. My boyfriend delights me constantly with random trivia about our groceries, and loves the fact that the book is "written like a textbook." It's a great book for someone who wants to know all the ins and outs about the kitchen and cooking; not just recipes that are tasty.
56 von 59 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Goes Ways Beyond a Collection of Recipes 5. August 2010
Von James Kalbach - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
This isn't your ordinary cookbook. Sure, there are recipes--good ones, too--but the author presents a wealth of information about the science of cooking, cooking techniques, and even the psychology of cooking. It's not so technical that you need a degree in chemistry to understand it. Instead, the author explains things like how human taste senses work in plain terms. There's also a bit on nutrition towards the beginning, and there are charts and tables now and then to illustrate the mechanics of food and cooking throughout.

If you're an "innovative cook" (see the interview with Brian Wansink, p. 7), this is right up your alley. Potter gives lots of hacks. Usually, cookbooks are very prescriptive and give exact measurements and ways of doing things. Here, the author encourages us to improvise, and he even gives great tips how to do so. For example, did you know you can roast peppers in a toaster?

I have dozens of cookbooks and love to cook. Cooking For Geeks has surpassed them all and is now my favorite one. Check it out yourself. Well worth the money.
16 von 17 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen A new way to look at cooking and science! 7. September 2010
Von hjohnson - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
Cooking for Geeks, by Jeff Potter, published by O'Reilly Media

Cooking for Geeks by Jeff Potter is the cookbook for people who pestered their parents with "why" questions and were never content with the universal answer of the exasperated, "because I said so."

Cooking for Geeks offers an in-depth look at the science of food, and provides detailed and well researched answers to many questions: Why is it better to weigh, rather than measure, your ingredients? (Weighing is more accurate.) Why is commercial baking powder better than the common tightwad substitute of 2 parts cream of tartar to 1 part baking soda? (Because the commercial kind typically uses multiple types of acid, allowing the CO 2 to release over time, rather than all at once.) How do you create a super hot pizza oven in your own home? (According to Jeff Varasano, C++ programmer turned Atlanta pizzeria owner, clip the lock and bake pizza during the oven's cleaning cycle.)

Cooking for Geeks also include interesting interviews with well-known geeks who answer even more questions--Adam Savage, of Mythbusters, discusses how they test myths on TV, and how the same principle (change one variable at a time!) can be applied to cooking, while Adam Ried, of America's Test Kitchen and The Boston Globe, talks about developing new recipes by making charts comparing the ingredients and methods in 40 or more existing recipes for the dish he wants to cook.

Offering 30 pages on kitchen equipment and organization, Cooking for Geeks seems to assume that geeks are novice cooks. The recipes, however, are often lacking in sufficient detail to be successfully prepared, even by an experienced cook. For example, the "Rosemary Mashed Potatoes" recipe on page 201 offers a novel method of preparing potatoes for mash: by microwaving them. Potter explains why this works, but neglects a couple of key points: what are the properties of a microwaved potato when it is ready to mash? And, is it necessary to pierce or cut the potato before cooking? (We ordinarily would poke a potato before cooking it, but since it wasn't mentioned in a book that seems geared to unexperienced cooks, we didn't want to assume. We thought perhaps piercing the potato allow too much moisture to escape, leaving the potato starch unable to expand. But also wondered if the unpierced potato would explode.) In keeping with the theme of the book, and, honestly, hoping to witness an explosion, we designed our own experiment: three batches of potatoes, one pierced; one un-pierced, and a control batch boiled the old fashioned way. We found that the un-pierced potatoes didn't explode. We hypothesized that this was because the recipe called for red potatoes with thin skins, not russets with heavier skin. Further, the unpierced potatoes didn't cook as thoroughly as the pierced potatoes. After 6 minutes, both were soft enough that we could poke them with a fork (the common test for doneness of a potato) but the unpierced ones had hard spots throughout. They were difficult to mash and left crunchy bits throughout. The pierced potatoes cooked through, resulting in coarse and chunky mashed potatoes. The boiled potatoes control group lost less than one-half the water of the pierced group and one-fourth the water of the non-pierced group. We should have adjusted the amount of sour cream and milk, for they had an almost oatmeal-like consistency.

Cooking for Geeks made acids and bases far more entertaining than our Chemistry textbook ever did, helped us understand what people mean when they say they "need an E-numbers fix" and introduced us to Doug Powell's amusing food safety site: [...]. We copied the lists of flavors used in various ethnic foods and the chart of substitutions for foods that commonly cause allergies to keep in the kitchen for easy reference and inspiration. Cooking For Geeks offered us a method to explore many of the questions we've had about food and cooking. Yes, we wish the recipes were more detailed. No we don't plan to use liquid nitrogen the next time we make ice cream or to flash-pickle cucumbers with a vacuum sealer. Even so, we appreciated and enjoyed this book--it's a far more entertaining introduction to science than anything we read during our K-12 years.
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