The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science

Brand: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN 0393081087
EAN: 9780393081084
Category: Toys & Games
List Price: $49.95
Price: $27.99  (127 customer reviews)
You Save: $21.96 (44%)
Dimension: 1.80 x 10.80 x 8.00 inches
Shipping Wt: 6.54 pounds. FREE Shipping (Details)
Availability: In Stock.
Average Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars
Buy From Amazon

Product Description

A New York Times Bestseller
Winner of the James Beard Award for General Cooking and the IACP Cookbook of the Year Award

"The one book you must have, no matter what you’re planning to cook or where your skill level falls."―New York Times Book Review

Ever wondered how to pan-fry a steak with a charred crust and an interior that's perfectly medium-rare from edge to edge when you cut into it? How to make homemade mac 'n' cheese that is as satisfyingly gooey and velvety-smooth as the blue box stuff, but far tastier? How to roast a succulent, moist turkey (forget about brining!)―and use a foolproof method that works every time?

As Serious Eats's culinary nerd-in-residence, J. Kenji López-Alt has pondered all these questions and more. In The Food Lab, Kenji focuses on the science behind beloved American dishes, delving into the interactions between heat, energy, and molecules that create great food. Kenji shows that often, conventional methods don’t work that well, and home cooks can achieve far better results using new―but simple―techniques. In hundreds of easy-to-make recipes with over 1,000 full-color images, you will find out how to make foolproof Hollandaise sauce in just two minutes, how to transform one simple tomato sauce into a half dozen dishes, how to make the crispiest, creamiest potato casserole ever conceived, and much more.

Over 1000 color photographs

Features

  • W W NORTON CO

Buy From Amazon

Top Reviews

Although the scientific based methods are a good learning opportunity for any aspiring home cook who
by A.L. (3 out of 5 stars)
January 29, 2018

Although the scientific based methods are a good learning opportunity for any aspiring home cook who is looking to up their game and standardize some of their techniques, I found some of the recipes needlessly complicated for a questionable benefit. I hate to say it but... sometimes grandma's recipes have been standards for a reason. Bolognese sauce with about 20 ingredients?
↭ 🍁 ↭

The perfect candidate for this cookbook is a cooking novice who ...
by Adam (5 out of 5 stars)
May 14, 2017

The perfect candidate for this cookbook is a cooking novice who enjoys science talk and wants to build a solid, basic repertoire. The recipes contained in this sizable tome are low to medium in complexity, and most have manageable ingredient lists. Most meals made with this book will be familiar to people used to Western cuisine; seek the exotic and adventurous elsewhere.

The real fun, however, is in Lopez's talk of the technique and science behind cooking. He dispels some tired cooking myths, has some helpful charts/graphs, and reviews the results of some of his own tests. He has a good explanation of the various cuts of beef and their best uses. I also enjoyed the discussion of equipment.

In short, this is a good book for you if you want to learn the basic skills and science of cooking and have some fun doing it.

People who I think would not enjoy this book: Trained cooks/advanced home cooks, people uninterested in science, people looking for novel/adventurous/ethnic cuisine.
↭ 🍁 ↭

It is absolutely amazing, and also a fantastic gift
by Anne (5 out of 5 stars)
March 29, 2017

This is a cook book that everyone must buy. It is absolutely amazing, and also a fantastic gift!! I am a scientist myself, and so the descriptions and the science behind the cooking is SO cool! Great gift for scientist friends in particular!! I have attached a few photos of some of the things I have prepared from the cook book and Kenji's website. The meals I have prepared have turned out absolutely delicious, AND they look very much like his professional photos too!!! This is the first time where I've followed the recipe, and what I make looks like what the authors made! This book is absolutely amazing. It will educate you, it will make you a smarter and more confident chef, and it will absolutely entertain you! Kenji has some subtle jokes throughout and some extremely cute pictures of dogs. Awesome book and will be purchasing for family and friends as gifts!
↭ 🍁 ↭

Don't buy - all recipes available for free online
by Big Daddy (1 out of 5 stars)
November 28, 2018

If you can overlook the preening sanctimony of the virtue-signaling author (and good luck with that), you will find this book quite useful. However, there is literally zero reason to purchase it though, as every single one of the recipes is available on his website.
↭ 🍁 ↭

Beast of a cookbook
by Chris Brown (5 out of 5 stars)
September 21, 2015

This book is a monster. At almost 7 pounds and nearly a thousand pages, you can bet that it is comprehensive. Like most cookbooks today, it begins with a background of the author, who is an MIT grad turned culinary scientist. He goes on to discuss gear and technique as well as recommendations for essentials- all pretty standard so far. Though I do appreciate that he adds a premium and budget pick for each gear recommendation.

J. Kenji Lopez-Alt then launches into a nine-part collection of recipes. Each one is well-documented with technique and experimentation as the author discusses how and why he made the recipes the way he did. There are some things which go contrary to cooking norms (flip your steak often, and searing does not lock in juice), but there are explanations for the methods behinds the madness. I appreciate that this book not only has full-color photos and in-depth articles accompanying each recipe, but it really builds on fundamentals of cooking. Even if you never bother to make a recipe from this book verbatim, it will greatly increase your cooking skills from practical knowledge of physics, chemistry, taste, and technique. Many recipes build on one another, and the flow of the book is very good. There is a lack of baked of goods and desserts in this book, but I'm not sure that there would be room for them!

Overall, this book is on par with other amazing at-home cookbooks such as Modernist Cuisine at Home
. I especially enjoy his sections on eggs, steaks, chilis, and fried chicken. There are several vegetarian recipes, but many are meat-based (surprising for someone who does a month-long blog annually about living vegan).

I would highly suggest this book. I look forward to cooking and expirementing my way through it.
↭ 🍁 ↭

Clear instructions and explanations, great recipes
by Deidre512 (5 out of 5 stars)
September 21, 2015

I have been waiting for this book to come out and it exceeds my expectations! "The Food Lab" by Lopez-Alt is a dense collection of science based tips, explanations, techniques, and recipes for the home cook. This is a must have reference and cookbook for home cooking enthusiasts.

I really like the way this book has been laid out:
- The introduction is a modest overview of the author and his background followed by some really helpful information on equipment (such as an explanation on techniques for holding knives, how heat transfers through metal for consideration in what type of pan to use, essential equipment to have in your kitchen, and how to store and organize your fridge and pantry).
- Recipes in subsequent chapters are divided by meal type. Technique tips and explanations are dispersed through the recipes in every chapter.
* The breakfast chapter is lengthy and starts with explaining eggs - their composition and properties related to how they change when they cook, whether brown eggs are healthier than white eggs, how to hard or soft boil an egg,... and much more.There is a great range of recipes including numerous egg dishes, bacon, pancakes, biscuits, and hot chocolate.
* Soups and Stews has an in depth explanation of stock followed by recipes including black bean soup, tomato soup with grilled cheese, chicken, and dumplings, chili, and French onion soup.
* Meat recipes characterized by how to "Fast Cook" in 30 minutes or less for a variety of steak, pork chops, chicken, and fish recipes.
* Cooked Vegetables has a great range of side dishes such as Brussels sprouts, Mexican street corn salad, roasted cauliflower, mashed potatoes, glazed carrots, and quite a few more recipes.
* The Ground Meat chapter explains not only how to grind your own meat, but how to season it as well as recipes for making and cooking sausage, meat loaf, and burgers.
* There is a Roasts chapter for poultry, lamb, and pork. There is a ton of great instructions and tips in this chapter that could be used for making a Thanksgiving meal (with recipes of course as well).
* The Pasta chapter covers details around boiling pasta and how he tested different techniques to determine the best way to cook pasta. Recipes in this chapter include mac 'n' cheese, risotto, linguine with clams, lasagna, and spaghetti.
* The Salad chapter emphasizes picking the right types of greens, the complimenting salad dressing tastes, and accompanying textures to add to make a perfect salad. This chapter has recipes such as tomato and mozzarella salad, iceberg wedge, beet and goat cheese salad, potato salads, and coleslaw.
* The final Frying chapter covers types of oil to fry with and different types of vessels to fry in. Recipes included here are French fries, chicken, fish, and onion rings.
- The front and back book covers insides have conversion tables to be opened or flipped to quickly as a reference.

This book is over 900 pages and has a ton of photos both for techniques and presentations. The author's tone is filled with humor and is not pretentious. The explanations are really clear and educational.

I will be updating this review further as I make recipes within the cookbook. I recommend this book to all experience levels of cooks as well as science-minded people.
↭ 🍁 ↭

Made me an inch taller
by Fast Freddie (5 out of 5 stars)
September 5, 2016

'She who must be obeyed' wanted this book for Christmas and of course I obliged. "Pfft, this sounds like something I'll never read."

Fast forward eight months to when we're visiting her mother. Potential MIL is handing me a platter of two inch thick filet mignon steaks next to a preheated gas grill after the designated grill master flaked.

I hadn't grilled anything in over a year and was horrified by the thought of ruining $100 of USDA prime. My relationship with the potential MIL would be all but destroyed.

I channeled Kenji, politely asking for a meat thermometer, slowly cooking on the cold side and following with a reverse sear. The prospective MIL was horrified when the steaks were still cooking after the half hour mark. "Know what you're doing out there? How much longer? I'm hungry." The tension was palpable.

The response to the first bite sounded nothing short of euphoric. As the table was enjoying perfectly cooked steaks with a beautiful sear, I was enjoying salvation.

TL;DR:. Learning the science behind cooking makes you a culinary force to be reckoned with in nearly any situation. Kenji is here to teach an old dog a lifetime worth of new (empirically tested) tricks in short order.
↭ 🍁 ↭

Was this chef reading my mind when he wrote this? AMAZING cookbook!!!
by Keith Sinders (5 out of 5 stars)
January 31, 2016

FINALLY, a chef gets it!!!

So many chefs write the same old boring stuff. They start off with equipment and describe it like it was a chore that they have to get out of the way. Sort of like, here's the types of pans there are and here is what they are like and maybe here's how they are used. Kenji describes it with passion giving a great story of how when he tried to reduce cream using a pot that he didn't regularly use that the cream turned out a royal greasy mess due to the pan being too thin.

There are other good cookbooks out there with great recipes. And there are other ones out there that do a pretty good job of teaching how to cook and why certain things work. However, NOBODY....absolutely NOBODY I've ever seen has ever described the science behind cooking better than Kenji. He tells it so well and makes it so enjoyable and easy to read!

And his understanding of the subject matter is excellent. I'm a kitchen knife enthusiast. And no other chef I've seen has really properly described the characteristics of a knife that make the best ones the best. Few go into talking about the thinness of the blade actually being a GOOD thing. But at the same time, he looks at things from the beginner level AND the pro level, showing the full grip technique for beginners along with the balanced grip that most chefs use. And he understands that a cook also has to go with what they are comfortable with, like how he talks about how his wife loves her cheap, dull, unbalanced IKEA knife.

Also, don't let the title fool you. This isn't some cookbook about freezing food with liquid nitrogen and making all of these petite and crazy little dishes you'd get in some gourmet restaurant that you'd never cook at home. This cookbook is brilliantly about using science to make the dishes we like to cook and eat everyday and learn how to turn them from good to spectacular.

He's also got the experience to back up what he writes. He worked his way up from small kitchens to some of the fanciest restaurants in Boston. And Boston has some very good restaurants! Then he worked for Cook's Illustrated developing great recipes. Many of you might know Cooks Illustrated for some other names like America's Test Kitchen or Cook's Country. And now he writes for seriouseats.com.

I have a bunch of cookbooks, but none of them does nearly as great of a job as Kenji at explaining things. This is THE COOKBOOK of ALL COOKBOOKS if you have a passion for cooking like I do and really want to learn how to become a better cook. I'm definitely going to start following his blog and I HIGHLY RECOMMEND getting this cookbook.

This isn't more of a recipe book. This is a HOW TO book that has recipes. I hope I get to see a lot more cookbooks from Kenji and I hope his publishers will let him really write what he wants to write. He's a genius chef and I'd take his cookbooks over Julia Child, Pepin, Jamie Oliver, Emeril, or any other big name cook out there. He's one chef I'd love to meet.

Any of the negative reviews are undeserved. For once, we have a cookbook that is pure genius. Anybody who takes the time and reads it thoroughly and cooks from it is bound to realize it. I'm getting more out of this cookbook than dozens of others combined. He even gets into making your own sausage!

About the best way I can describe this cookbook is it feels like he looked directly into the soul of cooking and wrote with the passion and understanding and genius of a chef to make a master-piece that I'll cherish for years to come.
↭ 🍁 ↭

A candidate for the Cookbook Hall of Fame
by No one of consequence (5 out of 5 stars)
October 12, 2017

I have some formal culinary training and own a lot of cookbooks -- too many, if you ask my wife -- and this one ranks among my all-time faves. Chef Kenji takes an entirely unique approach to his subject matter. Rather than simply providing a litany of recipes, as most authors do, or even providing some instructional materials, he dives deeply into the "why" behind the "how". The science of food and cooking comes to the forefront as Chef Kenji talks you through his experimental approach to answering a wide variety of often controversial cooking questions:

What is the best time to salt a steak?

What is the optimal cook time for a boiled egg, or the best method to make an omelet?

What is the best way to shape and cook a hamburger?

What is the best method to roast a turkey, or to make homemade stock?

These are just a very few examples of the broad-ranging topics that the author tackles both with substance and humorous wit. Some of my own cooking practices have benefited immensely from this book. My burgers are now better than anything I can find in a restaurant, and my Texas chili with homemade chili paste will bring tears of joy to your eyes. As a serious home chef who is constantly trying to improve, I would heartily recommend this to anyone who wants a deeper understanding of why food behaves as it does during the cooking process. No matter how good you may be, you will find something in here to elevate your game.
↭ 🍁 ↭

I was going back and forth on 4 or 5 stars for this book
by S. Nunez (5 out of 5 stars)
September 22, 2015

I've been reading Kenji's column since it started, and have learned so much and made so many of his recipes. So, I know they work. I know his recipes are excellent and that he's someone you can trust implicitly to have a great version of a dish.

And this book is great, and beautiful, full of photos, his great sense of humor, and excellent instructions.

The thing is, I was slightly disappointed that it is very much more of an all-American, sort of new, scientific, Joy of Cooking. Some of my favorite articles from Serious Eats involve Kenji's Asian, Mexican, and vegetarian/vegan recipes. Now he did include some of his vegan work, and his wonderful chile verde is in here, but there are no stir-fries, no tacos, and his absolutely stellar kale salad with crispy chickpeas was passed in favor of two others which are excellent, but really, that salad is AMAZING. Or his black bean burger, which is the absolute best black bean burger on the planet. But whatever, that's not the point. I was just hoping to see more of that type of food, whereas this book is targeted towards beginners (not to say that experienced cooks can't get value out of this book, because it's full of great info) or more specifically, towards people who haven't been reading his column all this time.

Having said all that, I have to review the book on its own merits and how could I possibly give such a stellar tome anything but 5 stars?! There is no fault to be found with the information provided or how engaging it is to read. Even the quality of the book, with lovely binding meant to last and meant to make the book truly a workhorse that doesn't just look pretty sitting on a coffee table is worth commending!

I'll just have to wait for future books to cover the things I miss from this book. Though in the meanwhile, there are already recipes I've got bookmarked to try out, like his puttanesca, pot roast, oven fries, THAT MEATLOAF, not to mention his excellent egg salad, which I've previously made from the site...

I'm so glad to be able to pay Kenji back in some form for the years of free content on Serious Eats and I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in cooking and improving their skills, in particular beginner cooks.

But really, go check out his column on Serious Eats, too. ;) His pie dough, chocolate chip cookies, fish tacos, crispy chicken with white beans and chile verde, chop suey, fried avocado tacos, and his vegan experience (CRISPY TOFU) recipes (AND MORE) are all remarkable!
↭ 🍁 ↭

Was this chef reading my mind when he wrote this? AMAZING cookbook!!!
by Keith Sinders,Top Contributor: Cooking (5 out of 5 stars)
January 31, 2016

FINALLY, a chef gets it!!!

So many chefs write the same old boring stuff. They start off with equipment and describe it like it was a chore that they have to get out of the way. Sort of like, here's the types of pans there are and here is what they are like and maybe here's how they are used. Kenji describes it with passion giving a great story of how when he tried to reduce cream using a pot that he didn't regularly use that the cream turned out a royal greasy mess due to the pan being too thin.

There are other good cookbooks out there with great recipes. And there are other ones out there that do a pretty good job of teaching how to cook and why certain things work. However, NOBODY....absolutely NOBODY I've ever seen has ever described the science behind cooking better than Kenji. He tells it so well and makes it so enjoyable and easy to read!

And his understanding of the subject matter is excellent. I'm a kitchen knife enthusiast. And no other chef I've seen has really properly described the characteristics of a knife that make the best ones the best. Few go into talking about the thinness of the blade actually being a GOOD thing. But at the same time, he looks at things from the beginner level AND the pro level, showing the full grip technique for beginners along with the balanced grip that most chefs use. And he understands that a cook also has to go with what they are comfortable with, like how he talks about how his wife loves her cheap, dull, unbalanced IKEA knife.

Also, don't let the title fool you. This isn't some cookbook about freezing food with liquid nitrogen and making all of these petite and crazy little dishes you'd get in some gourmet restaurant that you'd never cook at home. This cookbook is brilliantly about using science to make the dishes we like to cook and eat everyday and learn how to turn them from good to spectacular.

He's also got the experience to back up what he writes. He worked his way up from small kitchens to some of the fanciest restaurants in Boston. And Boston has some very good restaurants! Then he worked for Cook's Illustrated developing great recipes. Many of you might know Cooks Illustrated for some other names like America's Test Kitchen or Cook's Country. And now he writes for seriouseats.com.

I have a bunch of cookbooks, but none of them does nearly as great of a job as Kenji at explaining things. This is THE COOKBOOK of ALL COOKBOOKS if you have a passion for cooking like I do and really want to learn how to become a better cook. I'm definitely going to start following his blog and I HIGHLY RECOMMEND getting this cookbook.

This isn't more of a recipe book. This is a HOW TO book that has recipes. I hope I get to see a lot more cookbooks from Kenji and I hope his publishers will let him really write what he wants to write. He's a genius chef and I'd take his cookbooks over Julia Child, Pepin, Jamie Oliver, Emeril, or any other big name cook out there. He's one chef I'd love to meet.

Any of the negative reviews are undeserved. For once, we have a cookbook that is pure genius. Anybody who takes the time and reads it thoroughly and cooks from it is bound to realize it. I'm getting more out of this cookbook than dozens of others combined. He even gets into making your own sausage!

About the best way I can describe this cookbook is it feels like he looked directly into the soul of cooking and wrote with the passion and understanding and genius of a chef to make a master-piece that I'll cherish for years to come.

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought


Buy From Amazon


*If this is not the "The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science" product you were looking for, you can check the other results by clicking this link.  Details were last updated on Aug 3, 2022 02:12 +08.