VOLUME 2 COVERS THE METHODS AND MACHINES OF COOKING, from ancient to avant-garde. The Traditional Cooking chapter of nearly 150 pages provides a new view inside the old approaches—from grilling to smoking, stir-fry to saute—to reveal what is really going on. This view through the scientists’ eyes debunks many long-held misconceptions about traditional ways of cooking. The authors show, for example, why:
1. boiling often cooks faster than steaming;
2. adjustable grills cook just as hot as fixed grills;
3. expensive pots and pans are not worth it;
4. baking is really all about drying the food;
5. deep-fried food tastes best when the oil is older;
6. traditional methods require both tremendous skill and good luck to achieve perfect doneness.
The chapter on cooking in modern ovens offers the first complete guide to cooking in combi ovens and watervapor ovens for both professionals and home cooks. (It also includes several fun and only slightly dangerous tricks you can perform with a microwave.)
Next come two comprehensive chapters on new approaches that give cooks far greater control over two crucial variables—heat and humidity—that separate success from failure in cooking. In Cooking Sous Vide, the authors present the first encyclopedic guide to this increasingly popular technique in which food is vacuumpacked in bags then cooked in a water bath or a watervapor oven. More than 80 pages are devoted to discussing the benefits of this highly flexible way to cook as well as its special safety considerations. Everything the advanced cook needs to know to get started cooking with water baths is included.
Chapter 10, The Modernist Kitchen, presents nearly 200 pages of highly illustrated explanations of specialized equipment that has moved from scientific laboratories to professional kitchens. Centrifuges, freeze dryers, rotary evaporators, homogenizers, vacuum filters, and many others are covered, all based on the first-hand experience of the authors and their team of research cooks in using such equipment to develop innovative dishes at the The Cooking Lab. Through example recipes and illustrated step-by-step techniques, the chapter opens the door to a whole new world of culinary possibilities, a world until now inhabited by just a handful of top chefs around the world.