Cookbooks were not something I was into until 3 years ago. The only attachment I had to them, if you even want to to call it that, was my visit to the bookstore and browsing through Cuban and Latin ones. That was 10 years ago.
And then something happened. I started writing for a travel magazine. And then I started writing for a food magazine, based out of Atlanta. And that food magazine led to a lifestyle magazine. Shoot, all I need now is a gig writing for a car magazine, a sports magazine an interior magazine, and a gardening magazine, then I’ll cover it all. Truthfully, come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve shared this previously. So yea, I’ve been writing for some food magazines for a while now.
As you can imagine, I get a lot of cookbooks to review! I think my collection is now up to 20!! Yes! A whopping 20! I know, I know, that’s so gah, but for me it’s a big deal. I’m running out of kitchen counter space! I’m slowly, but surely getting around to cooking at least 10 dishes from all of them. But I will admit, I’m not big on recipes. I have the hardest time writing them, so most times, I’ll look at them and do what I do…
One of my recently published pieces was on the Science of Good Food, The Ultimate Reference Guide on How Cooking Works,by David Joachim and Andrew Schloss. And I’m giving a copy away because it’s just that good. It’s not a cookbook, so if you were looking for a cookbook, this is not the contest to enter. However, if you’re a foodie, you will continue to read and desire one, anyway! I will say that this is one of my best acquisitions to date. It’s completely resourceful, practical, efficient and even glossy. Most cook and kitchen reference books are so lackluster, I was surprised to see some high res color photos of food. For me, that was an added bonus.
I know Cuban food and technique like the back of my hand. I know most ingredients associated with Latin food in general. And I’m learning daily about French food and technique (3 hours of cooking in a French kitchen with an attractive French chef will surely get your juices going!) But, like most of us, there are thousands of things we just don’t know, no matter how professional we are, how experienced or how OCD we are about food. After reading this book, trust me, I feel like I may want to entertain the drawing board!
There are 600 pages full of “what it is”, “how it works” and “what it does” headers, which elaborate on the chemistry and basic engineering of food. Fillers include evenly sprinkled charts, tricks, tips and even 100 recipes, offering you something new to learn just about everyday. While I gave the book a very favorable review, because after all it is beautifully laid out and extremely easy for the everyday, curious George, I was confused with some of the entries. In some cases, when you go to a cooking staple (such as garlic), you are redirected to “See” something else. I use garlic every single day. In my realm of hunger for in-depth knowledge, garlic holds its own and deserves at least an entire page. But if you want to learn how to fry that perfect piece of chicken, authors will explain the frying process and teach you how to avoid that soggy effect. Either way, you’ll walk away with the ability to toot your own horn at your next soiree after you’ve talked about the different alcohol (proof) levels in certain spirits!
To read the full article and learn some useful and quirky information (like bourbon classification laws in Canada), click on the picture above or here. I promise you’ll enjoy the read.
SO, I’m giving one copy away to a super duper lucky reader! You must leave a comment to be automatically entered to win! You know you want to add geekery to your already robust collection! Comments must be entered by May 20th 12 pm EST. GO!
From the book, and as originally published here, following is an ice cream recipe seen in Good Food! If you dare to try working with liquid nitrogen, then go for it! Enjoy!
LN2 Basil Ricotta Ice Cream
Liquid nitrogen is available at welding supply and medical supply stores and is not expensive. However, it must be transported in either a pressurized tank or a specialized thermos, which can be pricy. Working with LN2 is about as risky as working with a deep-fat fryer filled with boiling oil. If it touches you, it will do some damage. Take care by wearing protective goggles, heavy rubber gloves, long sleeves, long pants, and closed shoes.
- 2 cups whipping (35%) cream / 500 mL
- 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar / 375 mL
- 1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves / 250 mL
- Pinch salt
- 1 container (15 oz/425 g) whole-milk ricotta cheese
- 1 tsp vanilla extract / 5 mL
- 3 quarts liquid nitrogen / 3 L
1. In a large saucepan, over medium heat, bring cream, sugar, basil and salt to a simmer, stirring often until sugar dissolves. Set aside for 5 minutes and strain to remove basil.
2. In a food processor puree ricotta cheese, basil-infused cream and vanilla until smooth. Transfer to a large metal or plastic bowl.
3. Put on the safety goggles and gloves and slowly add a small amount of liquid nitrogen as you stir with a whisk. Nitrogen gas will rise from the bowl as you stir. Don’t worry; it won’t hurt you.
4. Continue stirring and adding LN2 until the mixture thickens too much to use the whisk. Switch to a wooden spoon (or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment) and mix thoroughly until the ice cream is firm, adding more LN2 as needed. Remove the spoon (or lift the paddle) and add the remaining LN2 to harden the mound of ice cream. Let stand a minute or two then pick up a spoon and dig in. Or pack into a tightly covered container and freeze for up to 48 hours. Scoop and enjoy.
Makes 1 quart (1 L)
Adapted with permission from The Science of Good Food by David Joachim and Andrew Schloss.
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Eat well, love unapologetically, pray with true intention, and take care of yourself.
79 thoughts on “The Science of Good Food is For You Curious Foodies, So I'm Having a Contest!”
Hey Bren, have you sent the Bustelo that I won? I haven’t received any packages lately. Thanks, keep up the great writing!
OK so liquid nitrogen scares me a bit, I must admit. Ice cream made with LN as a key ingredient? Hmmmmm… not so sure. Maybe one day I’ll be brave.
I’m a cookbook addict, especially for the geeky science ones! If I don’t win, I’ll probably buy this one 🙂
That’s an interesting book! A bit of added geekism wouldn’t do bad to my collection!
Scott: yes yes yes your coffee finally went out! i think u and the other 4 winners get the patient award! I’ve been so slow in getting stuff to the post office, but with my writing and traveling schedule, it’s c.r.a.z.y. !! are you ready to get addicted!?
Tiffany: I know liquid nitro is something I’ve still not played around with!
Vicki: good to *meet* you! this is def. a book to own either way!
Rosa: geekism is always good to embrace!
Now that sounds like the right kind of read for me in all my geekdom. I always love the application of science and cooking and ingredients. That’s probably why a love to watch Alton Brown. I think the science brings a new level of understanding.
I am loving this post!!!! I am such a cookbook fanatic!! I would love to have this book in my collection! I hope I am a winner and if not I will have to purchase this!
Hmmmmmmmmmm haven’t done anything with liquid nitro, interesting reciepe!
You own a mere 20 cookbooks? For shame! I should send you one that I like. I have whittled my collection down to a few basic books. If I had my way, cookbooks would line the walls of my pantry. Of course, my husband says otherwise.
Did you really say liquid nitrogen? You betta use that chemistry from middle school! How fun is that recipe. : )
I’m such a foodie geek – yet I never saw this book until now! It looks fantastic!!
I am crazy about books like this and am always looking for new one’s to read!
I love all the new food writing and look forward to reading this book. Also just became aware of your site and look forward to reading it daily.
I’m on for winning a cookbook!
I love cookbooks Bren… I hope I win!!
Another cookbook addict here. What a nice giveaway!
Bring on the foodie geekery! Bren, you’re such a superstar 🙂
The book sounds really interesting! I’d love to have one! 🙂
It sounds like a very interesting book. What’s liquid nitrogen?
Hah! I love it! I also think you have a hard time writing reciepes because your such a “natural” in the kitchen! That’s like me writing how-to sewing instructions (yawn)…
Can one actually use the cookbook if they *ahem* didn’t do so well in Chemistry in High School – not that I’d know anyone like that *whistles and looks around*
Don: i love all kinds of geekery! I just love this book!
Shameisa: i had no idea u liked collecting cookbooks. i really need to step my game up!
Alicia: I can’t wait to get my book from you! yay!
TheDuoDishes: yes liquid nitrogen!
Sarah: It really is fantastic! good luck!
Patsy: I know you’ll love it!
MarvinPayne: Thanks for finding me! Looking forward to more of your comments!
Ninette: Good luck!
Zestycook: Good luck!
Helene: Thanks woman, good luck!
Sharon: You’re so sweet! Geekey superstars are great! 🙂
Bonnie: Good luck!
Ivy: ln is a gas in liquid form that is used to instantly freeze.
Anarnia: I know you get it!
Lys: *whistles and looks around* lol!
Sounds like a very good and helpful book! I’m in! Pick me! 😉
I still don’t use cookbooks too often… but I want to change it 🙂
Hope you had wonderful weekend, Margot
I definitely love the geekery saide of cooking, so this looks like a great read! Thanks for the chance to win!
I read geeky cookbooks like novels. This one looks really cool!
Giveaways of Cafe Bustelo? Man I stumbled on this blog a little too late! But I’m a fellow food/wine blogger who ALSO happens to be Cuban and would LOVE to get my hands on that book because I’m as big a book geek as I am a food/wine geek!
I saw this on Twitter and followed the link-I am glad I did! I am consumed with learningabout food-preparation,properties and presentation! I always wanted to be a chef and feel it’salitle too late for me now so I just want to be the best cook I can be! You’re book sounds so interesting…and it would be going to a goodhome. Not destined to sit on a shelf unread but to someone who would learn andenjoy it!! Thanks
I really wish I understood the science of cooking more. This would be perfect for me. Thank you for the great giveaway! We all know how much I love books books books.
I have so much to learn and this book would be the perfect teacher
I’m a chef and educator and I can say that you cannot know everything, or have enough reference material. This book looks interesting and if I don’t win it here, I will definitely order it online.
My husband would love this book! He’s into the science “how things work” side of cooking. Sounds fun!
My cookbook collection has grown by leaps and bounds in the past couple years and I’m always looking to add to it. I love a good reference book though, I read them like other ppl read trashy romance novels…
hi to all new commentors! good luck to old and new friends! Tony, you’re so right! Way too much information on food to ever know! But learning is so much fun!
wish me luck! I love a good cookbook. I have shelving in my kitchen just for them! I even have cookbooks on my kindle! I hope I win this one for my collection!
Bren I love cookbooks! Even when I was a kid I’d try to steal my mom’s and read them in my bedroom! I have hundreds…my husband doesn’t understand it but to me….these cookbooks are my love story! 🙂
Thanks for sharing! 20 books isn’t so bad for a foodie! I love cook books! They make me so hungry! Thanks!
Ever since we read Jeffrey Steingarten’s books, we’ve been thinking we should get a food science book!
Considering that I already love cook and have a way of thinking outside the box, I would love to try the recipes in this cookbook.
That book looks like something I should have!!! Thanks for the chance Bren!
This sounds like an outstanding addition to our “how things work” collections, not to mention the food book collection.! 🙂
As a South Florida girl, Cuban / Latin / Caribbean cuisines are part of my life – glad to find this site! OK! Yeah! I really want this book!!! 🙂
Thanks to the last batch of readers that left comments for the book! I’ll pull names today and announce shortly! COMMENTING IS NOW CLOSED!
i love cookbooks!
Terrific work! This is the type of information that should be shared around the web. Shame on the search engines for not positioning this post higher!
I’m crazy about food science so I’ve got to get my hands on this book.
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