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Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Cooks, and Good Food

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Why, exactly, do we cook the way we do? Are you curious about the science behind what happens to food as it cooks? Are you the innovative type, used to expressing your creativity instead of just following recipes? Do you want to learn how to become a better cook?

Cooking for Geeks is more than just a cookbook. Author and cooking geek Jeff Potter helps you apply curiosity, inspiration, and invention to the food you prepare. Why do we bake some things at 350°F / 175°C and others at 375°F / 190°C? Why is medium-rare steak so popular? And just how quickly does a pizza cook if you “overclock” an oven to 1,000°F / 540°C? This expanded new edition provides in-depth answers, and lets you experiment with several labs and more than 100 recipes— from the sweet (a patent-violating chocolate chip cookie) to the savory (pulled pork under pressure).

When you step into the kitchen, you’re unwittingly turned into a physicist and a chemist. This excellent and intriguing resource is for inquisitive people who want to increase their knowledge and ability to cook.

• Discover what type of cook you are and learn how to think about flavor
• Understand how protein denaturation, Maillard reactions, caramelization, and other
reactions impact the foods we cook
• Gain firsthand insights from interviews with researchers, food scientists, knife experts, chefs, and writers—including science enthusiast Adam Savage, chef Jaques Pépin, and chemist Hervé This

488 pages, Paperback

First published April 1, 2007

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About the author

Jeff Potter

17 books56 followers
Jeff Potter is curious about the science of food and loves finding answers to why ingredients and recipes work the way they do. By bringing science to food-minded people—and food to science-minded people—he blends genres to educate the public about how to master the kitchen. He’s been featured in USA Today, the Today Show, and is a regular guest on Science Friday. He’s even had the pleasure (and terror) of making a 500-pound donut for Food Network.

When not in the kitchen cooking with friends, Jeff Potter works with organizations and tech startups, building the technology behind their products. He studied computer science and visual art at Brown University. He can be found online at www.jeffpotter.org.

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5 stars
1,387 (37%)
4 stars
1,388 (37%)
3 stars
686 (18%)
2 stars
176 (4%)
1 star
58 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 195 reviews
Profile Image for Kristina.
248 reviews44 followers
January 4, 2019
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ That's rather an unusual book.
It's neither a cookbook nor a science one. Actually, it's more of an interesting mixture of both blended with some salt, pepper and a great amount of fun. I would recommend it to everyone that feels even a bit like a foodie.
There are many smart tips to remember and recall when you cook next time. It also consists of delicious recipes and a few interviews with chefs and scientists.

The book provides satisfying answers to "How" and "Why" to some cooking questions you might have. Moreover, it sparkles curiosity. I was marvelled to find exciting info about some of my favourite foods. For example, I understood that artichokes provoke what is called a "taste perversion", which means that it changes the taste of some foods that you eat afterwards. Water can taste sweeter and wine can be bitter. This made me google it and find more information. It turned out that in the wine world, artichokes are considered one of the greatest offenders. The important thing to remember here is to exclude artichokes from a meal where fine, aged or rare wines are going to be poured.

Did you know there is a fifth flavour - umami? Or did you suspect the magical features of Methylcellulose or how to thicken a warm jam and an interesting fact about it - they use it in Hollywood to make artificial slime.
There are also curious facts about pectin and enzymes explained in an understandable way (with graphics, of course).

Some of the recipes I knew and I have cooked already but I enjoyed the extra info about them - cumin and salt seared tuna, pizza dough (no-knead method), zabaglione, creme Brule, mayonnaise. It was funny to see a recipe for penne alla vodka. I may ask Eleanor Oliphant to lend me some of her vodka supplies. :D

I found a few recipes to put in my to-cook list: meringue cookies, coconut macaroons, white wine and cheese sauce, lemony quinoa and asparagus with shrimp scampi. There is a detailed explanation on how to make mozzarella cheese, Japanese style brine and marinade - things that I can't wait to try.

If my review made you interested in the book, you may download two of the chapters after subscribing to https://www.cookingforgeeks.com

Happy reading!
Profile Image for Elaine Nelson.
285 reviews35 followers
October 26, 2010
I love food science stuff: two things I miss very much from having actual TV is Good Eats and America's Test Kitchen, both of which get into why things work in the kitchen.

This book does that, with the extra twist of assuming a (computer) geek audience. It's smart and charming in the process. Lots of interviews, a whole section of really weird cooking techniques, and recipes too.

I've only used one of the recipes so far: Bechamel Sauce, which turns out to be the first time EVER that I've made a cheese sauce (for veggies) that turned out the way I wanted. That said, the information about techniques, temperatures, and even food safety has changed my approach to cooking, or at least made me feel like I understand what I'm doing when I do it.

Definitely recommended.
Profile Image for Ryan.
Author 1 book39 followers
March 23, 2011
I've read a fair number of books, websites, and magazines about cooking over the years. Prior to this book, though, NONE of them discussed using 3D printing technology to create cookie cutters/molds for cookies in the shape of the Linux mascot. Now, most of this book isn't nearly that hardcore, but it does give you a bit of insight into the mindset that went into developing it.

Cooking for Geeks knows its target audience well, and is full of content to appeal to geeks across all levels of experience with cooking - everything from advice on how to make simple pancakes to building your own sous vide cooker. It has recipes, instructional bits, interviews with celebrity geeks (people like Adam Savage and Meg Hourihan) on their favourite foods and interactions with food.

There's also a lot of discussion of the science involved in cooking, which I thought was pretty neat. If you've never heard of a term like "caramelization", for example, it explains what caramelized food looks, what's happening to the sugar chemically as it browns, etc. I had this as a library loan, but I think I'll be picking up a copy for myself to keep on the shelf.
Profile Image for Kimberly Hughes.
93 reviews3 followers
September 13, 2013
This is not a cookbook as there are very few recipes. The title is misleading as you would think it would delve into the science of cooking and how to manipulate recipes and it doesn't do this either. It's really a basic overview of how cooking works for those that come to it knowing absolutely nothing about cooking past a box of macaroni and cheese.

It's actually a very simple book filled with information on how to perform basic cooking experiments that would be good for 12-year-olds if it weren't over written and filled with esoteric allusions that are the only points in the book that are likely to appeal to geeks.

It's almost like a parody of the book that it's meant to be. It completely missed the mark.
Profile Image for Cheryl.
9,315 reviews399 followers
February 3, 2017
If I were new in the kitchen, or if I wanted to give my son a 'housewarming' gift, or my husband a 'retirement' gift, I'd buy this book. I am on the wait list for a cheap used copy already.

Lots of excellent science, and lots of encouragement to the pizza and Hostess snack cakes crowd.

Also lots of stuff I'm not, at least for now, at all interested in.

I liked Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking better.

But this one has a Mean (as in arithmetical average) Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.
And an "Optimal Cake-Cutting Algorithm for *N* People."
And I did take a page of notes of suggestions I'll probably actually use. (But no actual recipes.)
Profile Image for Ellis.
1,210 reviews136 followers
November 16, 2011
An excellent book! Learn how to make your own seitan! Learn how to make your own green olives. I no longer think of food as being cooked, I think of its proteins as being denatured. Every cocktail made at my house from now on will be sure to feature homemade ginger, mint, or lemon syrup. And whiskey, of course, I won't forget that part.
315 reviews
November 9, 2013
I've been interested in the science behind food and cooking for years and this is my first attempt at understanding what goes on in the kitchen.

The book was all over the place for me, some of it was interesting other parts not at all. The first two chapters seemed geared towards readers who have never cooked before, the middle chapters seemed to be fore people with an understanding and curiosity about cooking and the final few chapters were for serious foodies. I debated putting the book down after the first chapter but I'm glad I stuck it out.

I enjoyed the outside interviews and resources sprinkled throughout. The book here was focused on explaining concepts then introducing other places where you can find recipes and applications. There are some recipes in here, but they are all pretty basic in order to illustrate the accompanying scientific points.

One thing that bothered me perhaps more than it should is that this book is titled 'cooking for geeks', but if you think having a science background might make you a geek, you are mistaken. Here "Geek" means "codes and reads TechCrunch" and not "has spent time in a lab". Basic biology/chemistry concepts are explained and simplified, and what you'll find instead are programming jokes or reference to 'hacking' your food that will make you want to roll your eyes. I kind of expected a more general zeal for figuring out how things works and less of a niche appeal. That didn't ding the score for me though, the real issue is that this book has some great highs and some boring lows but overall is a worthwhile read for someone interested in the science behind cooking.
Profile Image for Tim Daughters.
91 reviews
December 29, 2019
This book was great. If you like to cook and you like science, you'll love this book. It is full of detailed scientific explanations of the reactions that go on in your kitchen combined with practical advice about how to make adjustments to get the results you want. There is a good dose of humor as well.
Then, there are the experiments. Some are quite practical, and you will learn something useful. Others are whimsical like making ice cream using liquid nitrogen, or cooking meat in your dishwasher.
There are recipes, too, but this is more of a science book than a cookbook.
If you liked Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, you will like this book. It is similar in many ways, but heavier on the science and humor.
Engineers and scientists will love this book. So will curious cooks who like to experiment.
Profile Image for Elle.
582 reviews13 followers
March 15, 2011
I forgot to review this, which is funny because I read it, raved about it, and then ended up buying copies for some of my friend's Christmas gifts.

This book really appealed to me. But I am the type of over analyzing person that this book is aimed at. I like to know how something works and then go from there. With cooking, I've been uninterested in relying on recopies. Just explain the chemistry of a cake, and then I'll go off and play with stuff and see what I can make. In that respect this book was the answer for me.

I must say, I resent it being called "cooking for geeks". It was a good sale line because it caught my attention, but after liking it so much I'm annoyed with the use of the word "geek". I don't embrace the term, I find it's a negative term. But I'll over look it this once.

Bottom line: This is a great book if you're the type of person that likes cream being charted out so you can see what's heaviest and what's lightest, or if you think knowledge is power in the kitchen. For those who are content following a recipe (and thus better ensuing that their stuff always comes out edible) then perhaps you'll find this annoying. I liked it though!
Profile Image for Gary.
7 reviews2 followers
January 1, 2013
First read-through, I haven't actually tried any of the recipes yet.

My great annoyance when attempting to work with other cookbooks was that I didn't really understand what was going on, or why certain steps had to be done in a particular order, etc. And this book has cleared up many things that may be obvious to people who grew up doing lots of cooking, but wasn't to me (too many things to count). While the "modernist cooking" section is interesting, the very well written focus on what actually happens at a chemical level, may turn around my interest in cooking completely.

Even if I don't always use these recipes, the basic knowledge provided will be of use with other books.

I also have "On Food and Cooking", but it's not a quick and easy read, but far more of a reference. This is the better book as an introduction to the subject of cookery.
Profile Image for Alex.
1,418 reviews4,382 followers
Want to read
January 22, 2013
So, I was reading this article about cookbooks at a lady blog SHUT UP DON'T JUDGE ME and then I was like hey, I'm a geek and I eat, maybe I should read this.
Profile Image for Stephen.
Author 2 books12 followers
June 12, 2019
This is the sort of book most likely to be enjoyed by people who watch(ed) MythBusters on television. In fact, Adam Savage, one of the two "stars" of MythBusters provides one of the many interviews in this text. [There is also an interview with Jacques Pépin, for balance, I guess.] Despite its wide variety of lexical choices (more than any other language), English is plagued by ambiguities. There is ambiguity in the title. Does it mean that this is a book about how to cook foods to be served to geeks (as in "Cooking for a Large Family" or "Cooking for Firefighters") or does it mean that it is a book for people who are themselves geeks who want to learn about cookery? It is inarguable that cooking is both art and science, and that the science is both physics and chemistry. Engineers and others of a scientific bent tend to be dangerous in the kitchen because they think through the process in more-laboratory, less-culinary ways. Sometimes this produces good results. I learned my method for making ghee (clarified butter) from a website called "Cooking for Engineers." [It says to discard the leftover milk solids as "refuse”, but I know -- as a non-engineer -- to save them and use them on popcorn.] Potter does a quite wonderful job of explaining the physics and the chemistry without setting off the trip wires in non-scientists' brains which prevent the introduction of scientific knowledge. Particularly for those who wish to surpass the slavish following of recipes, Potter's teaching is useful. It is important to know the temperature at which eggs scramble (175F), most fats melt (85F), pork becomes safe to eat (140 F), chocolate tempers (115F & 90F), and sugar begins to caramelize (320F-340F). It is also important to know what happens on a molecular level when one adds salt or sugar or acids or bases or alcohol or baking powder or gel or other exotic chemicals to food. The sections on cream whippers, the use of liquid nitrogen, and blow torches for making crème brûlée demonstrate why scientists in the kitchen tend to be dangerous. My wife will not allow me to buy a vacuum machine. The cream whipper came in the post this week. There are many things to learn here: how to cook a thin-crust pizza in a self-cleaning oven by taking the lock off the oven door; how to cook cake in a microwave oven in 30 seconds, how to make salt from seawater, how to make pulled pork in a pressure cooker. There are also normal recipes. The whole book is very good and entirely worthwhile, but I kept getting the feeling that there would be a quiz at the end.
Profile Image for Andrew.
20 reviews1 follower
January 21, 2018
Mostly covers the basics. Oddly organized. Did help me figure out my oven calibration and remind me to get my knives sharpened however :)

Also had some fun food experiments to try with kids.
Profile Image for Jessica Strider.
513 reviews62 followers
August 11, 2011
Pros: a lot of extremely detailed information about cooking methods, equipment, reactions, etc., interviews with people who cook creatively

Cons: not many recipes, some information is well beyond what most cooks will use/need

This is an interesting cookbook. I would consider the first 5 chapters worth reading if you plan to do any cooking and want a better understanding of what's happening or if you like experimenting.

If you REALLY like experimenting the last 2 chapters will be perfect for you. If you don't feel like buying lots of chemicals to try new (and not necessarily edible) things, they're not as

The cookbook was written specifically for computer geeks who are afraid of doing things in a kitchen. The opening chapter has a lot of references to thinking of cooking techniques with regards to computing. If you don't know computer programming, you might consider this chapter skippable, but you'd miss out on some hidden gems of information, like the difference between all purpose and baking flour (gluten content).

Chapter 2 is an overview of cookware, a chapter I'd normally not find interesting. Here again, there were interesting tid bits of information, like what to look for in knives, how they get teflon to stick to the pan, and a tasty 1-2-3 crepe recipe.

Chapter 3 is where the experiments start. This is not so much a recipe book as it is an experimentation guide. Mr. Potter explains the theory behind something and then gives you a recipe with which to test that theory out. Often there are two recipes to compare and contrast. It's here I found the watermelon feta salad recipe, as an example of how you experience taste. I tried it, and it was very surprising. I would never have expected raw red onions (soaked in water to take the sting out) to work well with watermelon. And the saltiness of the feta added something that the watermelon alone couldn't do. In the end, it was a great experiment and I learned a few things about taste combinations.

Also from this chapter, I tried the white bean and garlic soup. It was different (a thick, almost gravy consistency) but worth trying again.

Cooking times, heat and food safety are dealt with in chapter 4, followed by the necessity of air in baking. If you're like my friends, though you've used them often you probably don't know the difference between baking soda and baking powder. This book will teach you. It will also tell you what gluten does, and how to use different kinds of yeast.

Finally, the two chapters that require a lot more specific ingredients and equipment. Chapter 6 deals with chemicals in cooking (notably food additives, which is interesting even if you don't do any of the experiments - I wanted to try the s'mores ice cream, but couldn't find liquid smoke anywhere). Chapter 7 explains the principles of sous vide cooking and other specialized techniques.

I highly recommend the book for anyone serious about cooking. The tips and tricks it teaches are useful for everyone. And if you're adventurous, some of the experiments sound like a lot of fun.
Profile Image for Adam Wiggins.
250 reviews95 followers
December 2, 2014
This book is a great combination of two things: (1) assuming you are intelligent and (2) assuming you know absolutely nothing about cooking.

Which gives choice quotes like:

"We eat for two physiological reasons: to provide our bodies with food to break down into energy (via catabolism), and to provide our cells with the necessary building blocks to synthesize the chemicals that cells need to function (called anabolism)."


"Cooking is the application of heat to ingredients to transform them via chemical and physical reactions that improve flavor, reduce chances of foodborne illness, and increase nutritional value."

So on one hand the author starts at a very basic level: why do we eat? what is cooking? what tools are needed in the kitchen? what's the difference between sweet, sour, salty, spicy, and unami?

But on the other, he doesn't hesitate to dive into complex topics, such as describing the chemical transformations happening while meat cooks (protein denaturing) or when bread browns (Maillard reactions).

By explaining what actually happens during cooking a piece of meat, it becomes clear why time instructions (e.g. "cook for 10 minutes over high heat") are just a proxy for the thing that matters, which is temperature, hence the right tool for the job is a cooking thermometer. Same thing for volume (e.g. "one cup of rice") vs weight. Right tool for the job is a kitchen scale.

Perhaps the most useful tip was this: to get better at cooking, you have to experiment. But experiments often fail, and when they do, you're left both frustrated *and* hungry, a nasty combination. So don't hesitate to order pizza the moment your experiment goes wrong, and make the cost of failure low.
52 reviews1 follower
November 30, 2010
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.
198 reviews
January 14, 2011
Cooking is chemistry. With maybe a little physics thrown in on the side. You know, temperature control, stuff like that.

You may think you don't like to cook. Too boring, too restrictive, you have to follow the recipe - or else. If so, this book is for you. It answer questions that most cook books don't think about asking. And if you have any curiosity about why recipes turn out like they do, and are interested in experimenting, using a knowledge of chemistry and physics to improve your dishes, this is a great book. It includes interviews with fellow geeks who explain why they like to cook in certain ways, including one with the publisher, Tim O'Reilly. Each interview adds something to the final mix.

Although there is some organization to the book, like most cook books, it can be opened to any page, and there is likely to be something interesting to peruse. It is not put together as a textbook on cooking

If you enjoy experimenting, using the scientific method in your cooking, if your curiosity isn't satisfied by just following a recipe time after time, you'll enjoy this book. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Kyle D..
Author 1 book6 followers
June 4, 2013
Okay, this book wasn't exactly what I expected. In some ways, it's almost a textbook for a food science class and a "cooking for dummies" book in one, with some fun geeky things tossed in. To say it's textbook-like is to say that at times it felt long-winded and unnecessarily detailed.

But of course, that's just where I'm coming from, as a somewhat-interested-in-food-science person and a knows-plenty-about-cooking-already person. I can imagine people who really want to know so many things about the details of food science who would be thrilled to find it all in one spot.

And when the book is fun, it's *really* fun, including awesome ideas about how to make ice cream with liquid nitrogen and cook pizza in 45 seconds. So I'm glad I have it on the shelf, but I should have just skimmed it when necessary, not gone cover-to-cover.
285 reviews68 followers
January 29, 2020
Hands down the best cookbook we have. Much of this you can understand after years of cooking just by what seems to work the best but it's nice to have someone analyze the science behind it and give an explanation.
Profile Image for Oskar.
32 reviews1 follower
January 8, 2014
Probably the best cookbook for a geek and/or otherwise analytically minded person! It doesn't just tell you what to do, but why you do it, so you actually learn something about cooking.
Profile Image for Amos.
16 reviews
February 2, 2015
Fun and surprisingly instructive. I now know exactly what temperature melts sugar, and I'm glad I do.
Profile Image for Kate.
426 reviews1 follower
January 9, 2020
Książka porusza ciekawą tematykę i przedstawia gotowanie jako interesującą przygodę. Jedyne co mogę zarzucić (i to nie autorowi) jest niepoprawne przetłumaczenie niektórych słów i błędy ortograficzne - rzuć zamiast żuć w kontkście przeżuwania. Właściwie cała książka składała się z ciekawostek, ale przytoczę tu jedynie kilka z nich:

Ciekawostka 1:
Slowo cereal pochodzi od imienia rzymskiej bogini Ceres, która była patronką rolników.

Ciekawostka 2:
Kalibrację piekarnika można sprawdzić przy użyciu cukru. Sacharoza topi się w temperaturze 186 stopni Celsjusza, więc w dobrze skalibrowanym piekarniku, tylko próbki poddane temperaturze 190 stopni i większej powinny się stopić.

Ciekawostka 3:
Przyczna wydzielania się łez podczas krojenia cebuli jest następująca: podczas rozpadu komórek cebuli wydziela się enzym (anillaza), który reaguje z sulfotlenkami z komórek, tworząc kwas sulfenowy. Kwas ten stabilizuje się w formie gazu sulfonowego zawierającego siarkę (S-tlenek tiopropanalu), który reaguje z wodą, tworząc kwas siarkowy.

Ciekawostka 4:
Wrażenie ostrego smaku w odpowiedzi na kapsaicynę jest tożsame z mechanizmem uruchamiającym się pod wpływem wysokiej temperatury. Reakcja ta jest sterowana przez neuropeptyd (substancja P, "p" od pain). Substancja P wyczerpuje się z czasem i jej uzupełnianie w organizmie trwa wiele dni/tygodni. Umożliwia to zbudowanie odporności na ostre posiłki.

Ciekawosta 5:
Sztandarowy przykład wpływu chiralności na świat zapachów to D-karwon (zapach kminku) i R-karwon (zapach mięty).

Ciekawostka 6:
Hel i wodór są porównywalnie dobrymi wymiennikami ciepła jak oliwa z oliwek.

Ciekawostka 7:
Nieenzymatyczne ciemnienie pod wpływem temeperatury (wyższej niż 154 stopni Celsjusza) nazywane jest reakcją Maillarda. W tej reakcji aminokwasy (z białek) reagują z cukrami redukującymi, które w roztworze alkalicznym (pozwalającym im reagować z aminami), tworzą związki organiczne bazujące na grupie ketonowej lub aldehydowej.

Ciekawostka 8:
Sól zabija nie tylko patogeny. Już dawka około 80 g soli jest dla dorosłego człowieka śmiertelna. Nadużycie soli jest podobno bardzo bolesnym sposobem śmierci, bo prowadzi do obrzęku mózgu.

Ciekawostka 9:
Oliwki z nadzieniem pimiento nie są bezpośrednio nadziewane papryką, ale są one wypełniane pastą z alginianem sodu. Najpierw oliwki pozbawia się pestek, potem wstrzykuje pastę, a następnie umieszcza się je w roztworze wapnia, który żeluje pastę.
Profile Image for Abigail.
95 reviews
May 15, 2019
I've been reading this book on and off for almost a decade. I have always loved to cook but this book helped me to move beyond following recipes down to the letter. The author encourages you to try new things, have fun, and risk making mistakes. If your dish doesn't work out, just order a pizza.

In addition to helping change my attitude, there is so much food science jammed in here. I learned something new everytime I picked it up. The chapters on leaveners, temperature and flavors were particularly helpful and interesting.

The only weak spot was that the author would get side tracked on a kitchen hack or experimental cooking that I'll never use...liquid nitrogen, cooking pizza on the cleaning cycle, building your own sous vide system, etc.

I made the recipe for chocolate port cake with my kids today. I wasn't mindlessly throwing in ingredients anymore and we were having fun together. Thanks Jeff Potter!
Profile Image for Reading For Funs.
203 reviews4 followers
May 31, 2019
Cooking for Geeks is a fun book with actually a fair share of recipes included, most of which are tasty. The congee recipe was incredible and very informative, and I loved how the author is right about it being a concept. Once you read the recipe once, you know the backbone of the recipe and from there you can move on to make your own congee recipe. The book includes tons of fun projects, information, and interviews.

The most important thing I learned from this cookbook was to never follow a cookbook blindly. I had a terrible habit of following a recipe to a T and being left puzzled over why the dish didn't come out properly. Thanks to Cooking for Geeks I now understand to tinker with a recipe to make it work for me.

It's a really nice cookbook, I don't know what else to say honestly. The recipes are nice, the information is great and it's overall a great novelty item in which someone can learn useful tips while learning about more fascinating topics.
Profile Image for Bryan Whitehead.
448 reviews4 followers
April 24, 2020
I’ll admit to being in the obvious target audience for a book with this title. It started on my good side by sharing some insights on the psychology of cooking, and I found several other sections absolutely fascinating. However, more tedious passages were sprinkled in with the good stuff. I got so grossed out by the fanatical detail of the food safety section that I had to skim most of it. And half of the final chapter is devoted to sous vide cooking, something I’m not likely to try (expensive? equipment-intensive? time-consuming? potentially dangerous? what’s not to love?). And some of the computer programmer humor may prove impenetrable to anyone who’s never programmed a computer. Still, for the most part the insights into the physical and chemical lives of food are pure fun. If nothing else, at least now I know the difference between baking soda and baking powder.
31 reviews
April 24, 2021
“Jeff Potter’s Cooking for Geeks, similarly displayed the limits of grounding cooking lessons too much in science; what it made up for in its looser writing style, it more than lost in its distracting tendency to try flattering the “geeks” who might read it by pandering to the most basic clichés about them. The first line of the preface, for instance, is: “Hackers, makers, programmers, nerds, techies—what we’ll call ‘geeks’ for the rest of the book (deal with it)—we’re a creative lot who don’t like to be told what to do.” I know more than a few programmers who would be fascinated by the information in Potter’s book but put off by his tone.”
Profile Image for Magda.
63 reviews1 follower
June 29, 2021
Jest to książka którą warto mieć. Mówi o gotowaniu z technicznego punktu widzenia. Odpowiada na większość pytań dlaczego coś w kuchni dzieje się tak a nie inaczej. Znajduje się w niej dużo praktyczniej wiedzy ale jest też opisane wiele eksperymentów gdzie dociekliwi szefowie kuchni po prostu chcieli sprawdzić co się stanie jak zrobią tak a nie inaczej.
Polecam ze względu na to że dzięki tej pozycji można spojrzeć na gotowanie na wiele nowych sposobów. W książce podane jest też dużo przydatnych stron do odwiedzenia oraz odnośników pomiędzy rozdziałami tak aby naprawdę dociekliwym ułatwić indywidualne eksperymenty.
Profile Image for Amy Cutting.
8 reviews1 follower
January 18, 2020
Very much enjoyed this seriously in-depth, hardcore geek cookbook. Almost makes Alton Brown (who I love!) look like a lightweight ;)

I actually loaned my copy that was won as a prize at the Maker Faire to a friend who I though would enjoy it and hadn't seen it since so when I ran across it for sale at my local library, snatched it up and decided the loan would then just be a gift and we could both enjoy the book!

I particularly enjoy the Sweet Corn and Miso Soup, Japanese-style Marinade, Duck Confit, and the Meringues (French & Italian).
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