Books 2015 – Cooking for Geeks

Found this in the drafts folder, somehow never went live in 02/2016. -ed.

Taking a break from self-help, psychology style books, I thought this would be an enlightening view of cooking. Not so much. There’s some details that I liked, a few recipes I will try, but mostly this is “recipes describing the cook as a programmer, and a lot about molecular gastronomy”.

The idea of molecular gastronomy, or modernist cooking techniques is lovely. I just don’t care. And I got a particularly bad taste in my mouth at the quantity of text wasted discussing the name of the techniques and people’s feelings about it. I found it a waste of time to interview accomplished chefs and waste their time and your pages by asking their opinion about such a mundane topic unrelated to the preparation of food.

If you somehow found this looking for reviews of the book, pass. Instead I highly recommend The Food Lab which I bought around the same time. Kenji spends a serious amount of time and effort breaking down the science of common dishes and preparations, explaining why things work the way they do when cooking classic dishes. For whatever reason I bought Cooking for Geeks as a Kindle ebook and The Food Lab in physical form. For me this was the right choice. The Food Lab is open about every third meal I’m cooking, and my kids know it as “The cook book”. I’ve probably only cooked about 4 entire recipes from it, but I’ve read it cover to cover, and used pieces, parts, or techniques from a ton of the recipes to level up my own cooking.