Book Review: Cooking for Geeks by Jeff Potter

Cooking for Geeks
By Jeff Potter

Cooking for Geeks is the cooking book for the rest of us.  It is the book that was written for those of us who do not naturally feel comfortable in the kitchen.  It is the book that was written for those of us who want to know; Why does that happen? and Why do I need to do that in a certain order?

Jeff takes the reader through the science of cooking, through theory and plenty of examples in the forms of recipes, ranging from simple to complex.  While the book focuses on the scientific reasoning behind what happens in the kitchen, Jeff does in an amusing and non-threatening manner.

Each chapter is organized in straightforward manner.  Jeff starts off the book by talking about what equipment you should have in your kitchen, then about taste and smell, what happens when food is cooked, baking and gluten to ending talking about commercial and modern cooking methods.  In each case, he does it in a manner that exposes the reader to new concepts in an easy to understand method with examples and the science behind the concept.

Along with the science behind kitchen concepts, Jeff provides enough recipes for the reader to utilize in their everyday life, ranging in complexity from simple cooking of eggs to a more complex example of Seared Mussels.  This to me is one of the selling points to the book.  Too many times, cooking books focus on either the simple or complex and do not make it seem as though a kitchen novice would not be able to handle something more complex than making cereal and toast.  This is not the case here, with each recipe explained in a straightforward manner that would allow even the kitchen novice to feel comfortable doing something more complex in the kitchen.

Along with a multitude of recipes and scientific explanations, Jeff interviews famous people about their experiences in the kitchen.  These experts range from Adam Savage of Mythbusters fame to pastry chef Dave Lebovitz from Berkley.  This adds to the rich content of the book by giving an outside perspective on cooking and kitchen science/cooking.

Overall, I recommend this book to novice and experienced home cooks.  Jeff has tips and tricks that can be utilized by all level of home cooks without insulting or frustrating either group.

Cooking For Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks, and Good Food by Jeff Potter

Publisher: O’Reilly Media, Inc.

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