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Bux

Q&A Announcement

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I'd like to welcome Harold McGee, author of On Food and Cooking and thank him for joining us.

We invite those who may be unfamiliar with Mr. McGee to read about Harold McGee. Following that post you will find a series of pre-release comments about the book in the next post. These have been forwarded by the publisher and while most of us tend to take these blurbs with culinary figures including those members love and those members often seem to love to hate. I think all members and especially those who have read the original volume, will find the Introduction to the new edition worth reading.

I’m very excited to have Harold McGee engage our members in an eGullet Q&A at this time for a number of reasons. The first edition of On Food and Cooking was, and is, an exceptionally influential book. It arrived at time when there was considerably less interest in science in professional and home kitchens. The second edition appears when cooks and chefs are hungry for the kind of information McGee has assembled. A generation ago, McGee’s role was to spur an interest in science. Today it’s to sate a growing thirst for knowledge and information.

It seems that no matter where I allow the book to fall open, I am quickly absorbed and fascinated by what is written. If there’s a challenge, it may be to find a boring page. I’ll try to look for one with a very technical drawing and see if I’m bored or lost. I suspect it won’t happen and I fear we will see fewer posts here on eGullet while our members devour the book. Looking at the positive side, they should all return and contribute to more stimulating discussions.

If you’ve not noticed that food cooked in water looks and tasted different than the same food cooked in oil, or if you’ve noticed, but couldn’t care less, this book may not be for you. Everyone one else will probably find it interesting and those with any sort of curiosity will likely find it fascinating. The information contained is hardly limited to the physical changes one experiences in cooking or why mayonnaise becomes mayonnaise. Summing up the range of the kind of information contained is too difficult a task. Each time I think I’ve got a grip on an inclusive phrase or sentence, I discover more lore outside my range. The greater part of the challenge amy have been in organizing all this material in a manner that makes for such easy and compelling reading.

N.B. My daughter was Harold McGee’s editor for this edition. I met her before I ever heard of Harold McGee, but I was familiar with his name and work long before she started her work on this book. When I first learned she’d be working on the book, I was thrilled to know she’d be working on a book that was sure to be an important one in culinary circles.


Edited by Bux (log)

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Scribner has offered us five copies of On Food and Cooking in connection with this Q&A. We will draw names from a hat, or perhaps a large kettle or salad bowl from among those who ask interesting questions of Mr. McGee and announce the winners here in this thread at the end of the session. As is our practice, hosts and managers are not eligible to win.

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