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Jonathan Reed
Jonathan Reed

Harold Mcgee On Food And Cooking Pdf

On Food and Cooking pioneered the translation of technical food science into cook-friendly kitchen science and helped give birth to the inventive culinary movement known as "molecular gastronomy." Though other books have now been written about kitchen science, On Food and Cooking remains unmatched in the accuracy, clarity, and thoroughness of its explanations, and the intriguing way in which it blends science with the historical evolution of foods and cooking techniques.

Harold Mcgee On Food And Cooking Pdf


"Harold McGee changed our lives with his original On Food and Cooking. While we knew that many things in cooking worked or didn't work, McGee showed us why. This new edition is the most complete book on food that I have ever seen, and it is easy to read-an inconceivable amount of information made incredibly accessible. On Food and Cooking is unique, engrossing reading and a major contribution to great culinary literature." -- Shirley O. Corriher, author of CookWise

"Without an understanding of basic food science and practical cooking technique, there can ultimately be no true creativity in the kitchen! Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking is the definitive treatise on this subject that both the professional and home cook will absolutely require to move their cooking forward." -- Charlie Trotter, chef-owner of Charlie Trotter's

The book provides a reference to the scientific understanding and preparation of food. It has been described by Alton Brown as "the Rosetta stone of the culinary world",[3] Daniel Boulud has called the book a "must for every cook who possesses an inquiring mind",[4] while Heston Blumenthal has stated it is "the book that has had the greatest single impact on my cooking".[5]

SIDELIGHTS: Harold McGee is a science and cooking writer whose two books, On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen and The Curious Cook: More Kitchen Science and Lore, have become popular with both amateur and professional cooks alike, and have stayed in print for over two decades. Writing in the Smithsonian, David M. Schwartz commented: "McGee, whose career defies conventional description, can best be described as 'Mr. Wizard of the Kitchen.' His modus operandi is to take a healthy measure of objective science, fold it into homely kitchen lore, then whisk vigorously. Following this recipe, he has demystified cooking phenomena, debunked kitchen myths, tracked down the origins of culinary lore and improved upon standard cooking techniques." While On Food and Cooking is, according to Schwartz, "an authoritative rendering of the technical literature on food science in a highly digestible form," The Curious Cook is "a more personal, lighthearted account of McGee's own adventures as a kitchen sleuth."

Sous vide is a method of cooking in vacuum sealed plastic pouches at relatively low temperatures for fairly long times. Sous vide differs from conventional cooking methods in two fundamental ways: (i) the raw food is vacuum sealed in heat-stable, food-grade plastic pouches and (ii) the food is cooked using precisely controlled heating.

Vacuum packaging prevents evaporative losses of flavor volatiles and moisture during cooking and inhibits off-flavors from oxidation (Church and Parsons, 2000). This results in especially flavorful and nutritious food (Church, 1998; Creed, 1998; García-Linares et al., 2004; Ghazala et al., 1996; Lassen et al., 2002; Schellekens, 1996; Stea et al., 2006). Vacuum sealing also reduces aerobic bacterial growth and allows for the efficient transfer of thermal energy from the water (or steam) to the food.

You cook food to make it safe and tasty. Sous vide cooking is no different: you just have more control over both taste and safety. In sous vide cooking, you pick the temperature that equals the doneness you want and then you cook it until it's safe and has the right texture.

While there are many ways to kill food pathogens, cooking is the easiest. Every food pathogen has a temperature that it can't grow above and a temperature it can't grow below. They start to die above the temperature that they stop growing at and the higher above this temperature you go, the faster they die. Most food pathogens grow fastest a few degrees below the temperature that they start to die. Most food pathogens stop growing by 122F (50C), but the common food pathogen Clostridium perfringens can grow at up to 126.1F (52.3C). So in sous vide cooking, you usually cook at 130F (54.4C) or higher. (You could cook your food at slightly lower temperatures, but it would take you a lot longer to kill the food pathogens.)

While there are a lot of different food pathogens that can make you sick, you only need to worry about killing the toughest and most dangerous. The three food pathogens you should worry about when cooking sous vide are the Salmonella species, Listeria monocytogenes, and the pathogenic strains of Escherichia coli. Listeria is the hardest to kill but it takes fewer Salmonella or E. coli bacteria to make you sick. Since you don't know how many pathogens are in your food, most experts recommend that you cook your food to reduce: Listeria by at least a million to one; Salmonella by ten million to one; and E. coli by a hundred thousand to one. You can easily do this when you cook sous vide: you just keep your food in a 130F (54.4C) or hotter water bath until enough bacteria have been killed.

Since sous vide cooking in a water bath is very consistent, I've calculated the worst-case cooking times so you don't have to. My worst-case cooking times are based on the temperature, thickness, and type of the food and will give at least a million to one reduction in Listeria, a ten million to one reduction in Salmonella, and a hundred thousand to one reduction in E. coli:

Thick pieces of food, like a rib-roast, take much longer to cook and cool than thin pieces of food: a steak that is twice as thick takes about four times longer to cook and cool! So unless you are cooking a rib-roast for a party, you should cut your food into individual portions that can be cooled quickly and easily. It's important that your pouches of food do not crowd or overlap each other in your water bath and are completely under the water; otherwise my tables will underestimate the cooking time.

My goal is to maximizing taste and minimizing the risk from food pathogens. While pathogenic microorganisms can be controlled with acids, salts, and some spices, sous vide cooking relies heavily on temperature control (Rybka-Rodgers, 2001).

The simplest and safest method of sous vide cooking is cook-hold: the raw (or partially cooked) ingredients are vacuum sealed, pasteurized, and then held at 130F (54.4C) or above until served. While hot holding the food will prevent any food pathogens from growing, meat and vegetables will continue to soften and may become mushy if held for too long. How long is too long depends on both the holding temperature and what is being cooked. Most foods have an optimal holding time at a given temperature; adding or subtracting 10% to this time won't change the taste or texture noticeably; holding for up to twice this time is usually acceptable.

While keeping your food sealed in plastic pouches prevents recontamination after cooking, spores of Clostridium botulinum, C. perfringens, and B. cereus can all survive the mild heat treatment of pasteurization. Therefore, after rapid chilling, the food must either be frozen or held at

There are two schools of thought when cooking sousvide: either the temperature of the water bath is(i) just above or (ii) significantly higher than the desiredfinal core temperature of the food. While (ii) iscloser to traditional cooking methods and is used extensivelyin (Roca and Brugués, 2005), (i) has severalsignificant advantages over (ii). Through out thisguide, I define just above as 1F (0.5C) higher thanthe desired final core temperature of the food.

When cooking in a water bath with a temperaturesignificantly higher than the desired final coretemperature of the food, the food must be removedfrom the bath once it has come up to temperature tokeep it from overcooking. This precludes pasteurizingin the same water bath that the food is cookedin. Since there is significant variation in the rateat which foods heat (see Appendix A), a needle temperatureprobe must be used to determine when thefood has come up to temperature. To prevent airor water from entering the punctured bag, the temperatureprobe must be inserted through closed cellfoam tape. Even when using closed cell foam tape(which is similar to high density foam weather stripping),air will be able to enter the plastic pouch oncethe temperature probe is removed.

In contrast, cooking in a water bath with a temperaturejust above the desired final core temperatureof the food means the food can remain in thewater bath (almost) indefinitely without being overcooked.Thus, food can be pasteurized in the samewater bath it is cooked in. While cooking times arelonger than traditional cooking methods, the meatcomes up to temperature surprisingly quickly becausethe thermal conductivity of water is 23 timesgreater than that of air. Moreover, temperatureprobes are not necessary because maximum cookingtimes can be tabulated (see Appendix A and Tables2.2 and 2.3).

Traditionally, light poultry meat is cooked well-done(160F/70C to 175F/80C) for "food safety" reasons.When cooking chicken and turkey breastssous vide, they can be cooked to a medium doneness(140F/60C to 150F/65C) while still beingpasteurized for safety.

Most foods have a thermal diffusivity between1.2 and 1.610-7 m2/s (Baerdemaeker and Nicolaï,1995). Thermal diffusivity depends on manythings, including meat species, muscle type, temperature,and water content. Despite these variationsin thermal diffusivity, we can always choose a (minimum)thermal diffusivity which will underestimatethe temperature of the meat as it cooks (and overestimatethe temperature as it cools). Thus, I usethe lowest thermal diffusivities reported in the literature (see Table A.1) in my pasteurization tables.Moreover, the food cannot overcook if it is placed ina water bath just above its desired final core temperature.Therefore, so long as the pouches do not floatto the surface or are packed too tightly in the waterbath, we can generate cooking tables which willassure perfectly cooked and sufficiently pasteurizedmeat.


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