Cookwise: The Secrets of Cooking Revealed

Shirley O. Corriher, Author
Shirley O. Corriher, Author Morrow Cookbooks $34.99 (544p) ISBN 978-0-688-10229-6
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Corriher, a research chemist, food writer and cook, promises no more failed recipes for those who take up her hefty, scientifically based work disclosing how to make just about everything and why. The background to nearly 250 recipes crosses a broad culinary landscape explaining such processes as gluten's role in breadmaking and the affects that the different ways in which vegetables store glucose have on cooking methods. Besides the background procedures and transformations discussed in chapter introductions, Corriher spells out the science lesson to be learned from each of the recipes, e.g., chilling potatoes in the fridge converts some of the starch to sugar and promotes the browning process in Oven-Fried Herbed Potatoes. While some of this material is covered in Christopher Kimball's The Cook's Bible without quite as much solemn scholarship, Corriher, passing up nochance to inform, is a persuasive tutor with many terrific ideas. Dissolving salt in water distributes flavor evenly in a Flaky Butter Crust; lemon juice inhibits cheesy stringiness in Fettuccine with Mozzarella, Mushrooms and Tomatoes; adding corn syrup to sugar in Caramel Grand Marnier Sauce promotes caramelizing without crystallization. Curious-minded home cooks who are satisfied as much by the process of cooking as by its other rewards will find much to relish here. Photos not seen by PW. Author tour. (Aug.)
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