I am a sucker for cookbooks that have science intertwined with recipes. I have read a few other books, and I have read The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science.
I have to admit that I was not able to read the entire 900 pages, but read around 300 pages in detail and have learned a lot from it. The way Lopez-Alt explained everything scientifically without using heavy words made it more interesting.
The recipes that are mentioned in the book are also simple to make and was more fun to make now that we know why a particular dish behaves the way it does.
The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science by Kenji Lopez Alt
- 3.5/5, 3.5 from 12 reviews
- Kenji Lopez Alt
- 0393081087 (ISBN13: 978-0393081084)
- Buy from Amazon
Science applied in real life
- 4/5, 4 out of 5, reviewed Oct 25, 2018
This is a cookbook that explains how science influences our cooking. The book has a lot of hacks, and some wonderful scientific explanation explained in simple terms. The best part of the book was the way he went ahead and demolished some common food myths through simple experiments. I tried out some of those experiments and was pretty impressed by the results.
My only issue with this book was the size. Thank God, Lopez-Alt did not include baking, or else it would have run into more than 1500 pages.
To sum up, not your everyday cookbook, but a book that you should have in your home library.
A wonderful book
- 4/5, 4 out of 5, reviewed Oct 21, 2018
When my friends said they would give a big present for my anniversary, I thought they were joking. But boy, were they serious? They gave me this humongous book which is very difficult to carry around. I cannot put it on my lap lest I risk injuring some precious assets nor can I keep it on my lightweight table.
That said, the book is wonderful. It has various techniques, information, tips, some beautiful pictures, many cooking jargons that I never came across and yes, recipes.
Did not like the book
- 1/5, 1 out of 5, reviewed Oct 16, 2018
I will be frank here when I say that I am going to review a book that I have not read completely. At more than 900 pages, this is not your quick or easy read book. This is a time-consuming book and one fit for nerds and geeks who like to delve deeper into the science of cooking. For me, a cookbook should help me cook simple yet delicious food. I once got this wonderful book from my Indian friend “How to cook Indian” by a leading chef, Sanjeev Kapoor. The recipes were very simple, and I was able to impress my friend with some traditional Indian food. Now that is what I look in a cookbook.
Good book, but does not inspire me to cook
- 2/5, 2 out of 5, reviewed Oct 9, 2018
Kenji Lopez-Alt’s The Food Lab is an interesting book with lots of scientific jargon (explained in layman terms) and highly knowledgeable. The book helped in demolishing some popular myths about cooking.
My only problem with this book is that while it is okay to learn the finer intricacies of cooking, the book does not inspire me to cook. Explanations in the recipes are not something that I look forward to in a book on cooking. Also, some of the stuff mentioned in the book was very tedious. Why the hell would I want to fry French fries nearly five times to get a perfect crisp? Instead of wasting so much time, I’d rather go to the nearest burger joint and order some French Fries.
Scientific stuff explained in simple terms
- 5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Oct 3, 2018
Lopez-Alt’s book is a mixture of science and cooking. This book addresses every single question. For example, why do some omelets turn out harder while sometimes it is tender? Well, the culprit is salt. The time of adding salt to the eggs makes all the difference. Also, what is the difference between baking powder and salt?
Let’s be honest here, not all are going to go through this book in one sitting. Take each chapter and then try to learn and understand the science behind it. It might take a while for us to get a grip on these things, but it surely does work. BTW, do not go for a library book or an electronic version, opt for the hardback.
An okay book
- 2.5/5, 2.5 out of 5, reviewed Sep 29, 2018
Kenji’s The Food Lab was an okay book. I felt the author tried to add some unnecessary humor to the book. I have issues with the author not including any baking section. While he goes into details about frying and searing etc. he does not have time to do some research on baking!!! Maybe he hates cakes and pies.
Another problem with the book was the manner in which the book was presented. Kenji should have focused on introducing the techniques and tips first and then recipes. I hope he takes these suggestions and offers a much better book the next time around.
Suited for those who seek answers to the “why’s”
- 3/5, 3 out of 5, reviewed Sep 24, 2018
I love science and cooking, so was very happy when Kenji Lopez-Alt released The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science. The book is fascinating and explains why our food reacts in a particular manner when it is cooked. There are also some wonderful recipes. All in all, a wonderful book for those who like to seek answers to the “why’s.” But sadly, I am not that person.
Prefer taking real cooking class
- 3/5, 3 out of 5, reviewed Sep 19, 2018
Boy, is this book big. I mean who would want to keep a 900-page book and refer it every day for cooking. Make no mistake, this book is good, but I would prefer taking a real cooking class where even my silliest or stupidest doubt can be answered.
I cannot stop raving about this book
- 4/5, 4 out of 5, reviewed Sep 11, 2018
I was a terrible cook, and the only thing that I could make to perfection was a cup of coffee. In order to impress my wife whom I was dating back then, I bought Kenji’s The Food Lab. I must admit, I cannot stop raving about the book even after two years. The way Kenji explains everything related to everyday cooking feels as if he is standing next to us and handholding us when we are preparing our food. I would call it a pragmatic way of cooking. The book also contains wonderful tips that can help us make tasty food day in and day out. Now, who would have thought that adding gelatin would speed up cooking homemade broth or searing steak would help in trapping moisture?
I agree this is a very BIG book, but every page is worth reading. One tip from my side: Buy the hard copy and do not go for Kindle or any other version.
Oh, one more thing, my wife was impressed by my cooking, and we ended up marrying after three months of dating. So yes, this book does work.
The WHY’s are explained in detail
- 4/5, 4 out of 5, reviewed Sep 5, 2018
The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science is an amazing book which explains science involved in cooking. The author’s dedication and love towards science and cooking can be gauged from the fact that he meticulously breaks down our daily cooking process into the simple, understandable terms. Thanks to this book, I can now make tender omelets one day and a bit tough omelets the next day all by varying the time when I add the salt. It also taught me to peel potatoes in a much better way. Highly recommend!!!
You have to own this book
- 5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Aug 31, 2018
If you are planning to start cooking or want to know the finer intricacies of cooking, then this is the book for you. Long story short, you have to own this cookbook.
J. Kenji López-Alt surely knows what he is doing, and it is reflected in this humongous book (do not know what else to call a book that is over 900 pages). Analyzing cooking as a science, the book does not have a place for “how,” rather it has a place for a detailed “why.”
The fact that this book can be enjoyed by professional chefs, wannabe chefs and even those who like to read technical matters related to cooking made me fall in love with this book.
P.S.: I have not eaten a single burnt toast after I got this book and this was back in 2016.
Ever wondered how to pan-fry a steak with a charred crust and an interior that's perfectly medium-rare from edge to edge when you cut into it? How to make homemade mac 'n' cheese that is as satisfyingly gooey and velvety-smooth as the blue box stuff, but far tastier? How to roast a succulent, moist turkey (forget about brining!)—and use a foolproof method that works every time?
As Serious Eats's culinary nerd-in-residence, J. Kenji López-Alt has pondered all these questions and more. In The Food Lab, Kenji focuses on the science behind beloved American dishes, delving into the interactions between heat, energy, and molecules that create great food. Kenji shows that often, conventional methods don’t work that well, and home cooks can achieve far better results using new—but simple—techniques. In hundreds of easy-to-make recipes with over 1,000 full-color images, you will find out how to make foolproof Hollandaise sauce in just two minutes, how to transform one simple tomato sauce into a half dozen dishes, how to make the crispiest, creamiest potato casserole ever conceived, and much more.