Book Review: Cooking For Geeks

(I know this isn’t SQL-related, but I think this may be a great read for people with similar interests.)

This is not a cookbook. If you’re looking for a new collection of recipes, this is not the book for you. If you like shows like Good Eats or enjoy seeing how food is prepared and served, you’ll almost certainly love Cooking for Geeks. If you like experimenting in the kitchen and knowing why food turns out the way it does, pick up this book!

As a geek, I loved Jeff’s analogy: Recipes are code. Follow a recipe as written and you generally get good results. Forget the where clause and you could have unrecoverable errors. Introduce your own changes and you could get something great or you could get something horrible that requires a lot of cleanup. Recipes may have bugs or need corrections. Perhaps there’s more than one way to the same result. Oh, and don’t forget to comment your recipe. Otherwise you might not be able to recreate something fantastic.

Each chapter of Cooking for Geeks deals with different concepts, each with their own scientific background. Common utensils, ingredients, time/temperature, baking, additives (chemicals), and even some geeky fun with hardware or unusual cooking techniques – all are included in a way that not only gives some neat recipes, but the science behind the recipes.

To me, the most interesting parts were on baking and the chemical reactions that take place as heat is applied. It was great reading exactly why food turns out with all of its various nuances. That science got me thinking about ways to tweak the outcome of various recipes I follow and was just fun to read.

You can get your own copy of Cooking for Geeks direct from O’Reilly.

Disclaimer: I received an electronic review copy of this book, though I’d likely have wanted to read and review this anyway.

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