Book Review: “Keys to Good Cooking” by Harold McGee

by Michelle on November 2, 2010

When I first started reading Harold McGee’s new book, “Keys to Good Cooking”, I originally thought it would be a wonderful gift for a wedding shower or to someone special for their first apartment or home. But after reading 4 or 5 chapters, I’ve come to the conclusion that it should be on the shelf of every kitchen library. In the last month, I’ve already referred to it at least a half a dozen times and since I don’t have a computer in my kitchen, it’s the next best thing to Google for finding quick answers to those pesky questions that pop up every now and again.

I particularly enjoyed the chapter on Vegetables and Fresh Herbs, pages 143-186. Storage of fresh vegetables is always something I’ve had problems with and I know part of the problem is that vegetables look so darn good at the market and frankly I buy too many at any given time. But the first Gee, I didn’t know that moment came within a few pages when I read “To speed the ripening of tomatoes or avocados, enclose them in a paper bag to concentrate the ripening gas, ethylene, and keeping them in a warm place.” But the entire chapter was a good read and refreshed my memory of many things my Mom had told me years ago and then taught me quite a few new kitchen rules as well.

Another Chapter that I thoroughly enjoyed was Kitchen Tools, pages 43-64, which covered everything from measuring spoons and cutting boards to aluminum foil and small appliances. Any reader of my blog knows I love gadgets and I will never have enough of ’em! Of course not everything discussed is essential for every kitchen but wouldn’t it be fun if it was!

All in all, I think “Keys to Good Cooking” is an excellent, quick reference book that would be well used in most kitchens. I am already planning on buying a copy for each of my nieces and I’m pretty sure they will refer to it often and continue to use it for years to come.

The truth about heat, meat and juiciness.

If you are a fan of Harold McGee’s, I also own his first book “On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen”. This was the first book I ever read on the science of cooking. And although the simple baking process can be quite technical, Mr. McGee makes it very easy to understand, even to me and I am so not a science person!

AllRightsReserved@BigBlackDog

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Comments

  • Biz November 2, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    Thanks for that review Michelle! I’ll have to see if my library carries that book – usually I get it at the library first and then try to buy a used on on eBay if it’s worth owning.

    Have you been loving our weather??!! I love chilly mornings.

  • […] Tuesday, November 2nd: Big Black Dog […]

  • Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours November 2, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    I agree – this book needs to be in absolutely every kitchen! It is an amazing resource. Thanks for being a part of the tour!

    (And as a side note, I loved looking at the dog pics! Rotties are a fabulous breed, aren’t they?!)

  • Kim November 3, 2010 at 9:35 am

    I have been seeing this book all over the blogosphere and it does look terrific. I’ll have to check it out at the bookstore. Thanks for sharing what you enjoyed.

  • Sheila November 3, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    Michelle, thanks for this recommendation. I would have thought that seering would hold the juices in, so who knew? Obviously Harold! He seems like a neat man, and I like the fact that he talks about basics in the book. I might have to give this a try. :-)

  • Melanie November 3, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    Thank you for the review! I also read thru McGee’s “big red book” and I thoroughly enjoyed it so I’ll definitely be looking for it at the bookstore to take a look.

  • My Carolina Kitchen November 8, 2010 at 5:28 pm

    I have his first book and this new one is on our Christmas wish list. Can’t wait to get my hands on it.
    Sam

  • Sheila November 8, 2010 at 8:32 pm

    I could really use this book. Sounds like something that would be useful for years to come! Thanks for the review, Michelle!

    XO,

    Sheila :-)

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