Keys to Good Cooking - A Guide to Making the Best of Foods and Recipes

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 30 January, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 30 January, 2011, 12:00am

Keys to Good Cooking - A Guide to Making the Best of Foods and Recipes
By Harold McGee

In his excellent book, On Food and Cooking, Harold McGee made food science accessible to food geeks without dumbing down the content. The book had chapter after detailed chapter on subjects such as: grains and cereals; flavourings from plants (herbs, spices, tea and coffee); vegetables, broken down into categories that included lower stems and bulbs (beet, turnip, radish, onion and others), stems and stalks (asparagus, celery and others), flowers (artichokes, broccoli and cauliflower), seaweed and mushrooms, truffles and their relatives; and meat, with information on the history of meat consumption, its nutritional pros and cons and food-borne illnesses.

His latest book, Keys to Good Cooking, though, is McGee lite. It has bullet points and short explanations of some of the subjects he covered in On Food and Cooking but without going into detail. This is fine for those who want short summaries of ingredients and trouble-shooting solutions to difficult recipes. But those who loved and appreciated McGee's previous work - he also wrote The Curious Cook - even if it is, sometimes, almost too detailed, will be disappointed.