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Food Reference & Cooking Science
Why food ingredients behave the way they do

See also: Food Glossaries.

Selected Books

Bittman, Mark
How to Cook Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Food
TX714.B573 1998
Nationally known cooking authority Mark Bittman shows readers how to prepare great food for all occasions using simple techniques, fresh ingredients, and basic kitchen equipment in this relaxed, straightforward approach to cooking.
Corriher, Shirley
Cookwise: the Hows and Whys of Successful Cooking
TX714.C6917 1997
Can you tell whether a recipe will work before you cook it? You can if you really know what's cooking. In the long-awaited CookWise, food sleuth Shirley Corriher tells you how and why things happen in cooking.
Cox, Jeff, 1940-
The Organic Cook's Bible: how to select and cook the best ingredients on the market
TX741.C68 2006x
This is a useful reference for its list of fruits and vegetables and how to cook them even if you are not an organic food enthusiast.
Davidson, Alan
The Oxford Companion to Food
rq TX349.D36 2006
The 2,650 alphabetical entries include information on specific foods, cooking terms, culinary tools, countries, traditions, and biographies of chefs and cookbook authors. The entries for countries cover foods, habits, and holidays with special foods.
Edible: An Illustrated Guide to the World's Food Plants
QK98.5.A1 E35 2008x
This National Geographic volume has photographs to go along with each entry. It includes not only common fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, herbs and spices but ones you have never heard of, like bilimbi, pejibaye and quangdong (and yet it still does not cover them all).
Green, Aliza
Starting with Ingredients: Quintessential Recipes for the Way We Really Cook
TX714.G74946 2006x
OK. What do we have in the refrigerator? This A to Z compendium of ingredients and recipes is a tome to rival Larousse Gastronomique.
Joachim, David
The Science of Good Food: The Ultimate Reference on How Cooking Works
q TX651.J63 2008x
A finalist for the 2009 James Beard Cookbook Award for Reference and Scholarship. From Ferrán Adrià of El Bulli restaurant in Spain to Homaro Cantu of Moto in Chicago, great chefs combine unexpected textures and flavors with secrets of new cooking techniques in great dishes. Organized from A to Z, this highly readable book has more than 1,800 entries that clearly explain the physical and chemical transformations which govern all food preparation and cooking. Also includes over 100 recipes, including Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream and Coconut Sweet Potato Foam.
McGee, Harold
On Food and Cooking: the Science and Lore of the Kitchen
TX651.M27 2004
Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking is a kitchen classic. Hailed by Time magazine as "a minor masterpiece" when it first appeared in 1984, On Food and Cooking is the bible to which food lovers and professional chefs worldwide turn for an understanding of where our foods come from, what exactly they're made of, and how cooking transforms them into something new and delicious.
Peterson, James
What's a Cook to Do?: An illustrated guide to 484 essential tools, tips, techniques, & tricks
TX651.P484 2007
James Peterson has written many comprehensive cooking guides for the serious chef. In this recent book he shares his secrets with the rest of us.
Rolland, Jacques L. and Carol Sherman
The Food Encyclopedia: Over 8000 Ingredients, Tools, Techniques and People
q TX349.R564 2006x
An illustrated encyclopedia that is useful for foreign terms and ingredients (like arracacha). It also includes biographies of significant chefs and cookbook authors. Surprisingly enjoyable to read.
Ruhlman, Michael
Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking
TX652.R845 2009
When you know a culinary ratio, it's not like knowing a single recipe, it's instantly knowing a thousand. Ratios are the starting point from which a thousand variations begin. Cooking with ratios will unchain you from recipes and set you free.
The Science of Good Cooking: Master 50 Simple Concepts to Enjoy a Lifetime of Success in the Kitchen
TX651.S375 2012
It was only a matter of time before the people at America's Text Kitchen (aka Cook's Illustrated) came out with some "scientific" guidelines.
This, Hervé
Building a Meal: From Molecular Gastronomy to Culinary Arts and Traditions of the Table
TX651.T36813 2009
An internationally renowned French chemist, popular television personality, and bestselling author, Hervé This heads the first laboratory devoted to molecular gastronomy—the scientific exploration of cooking and eating. Considering the preparation of six bistro favorites: hard-boiled egg with mayonnaise, simple consommé, leg of lamb with green beans, steak with French fries, lemon meringue pie, and chocolate mousse, he isolates the exact chemical properties that tickle our senses and stimulate our appetites.
This, Hervé
Kitchen Mysteries: Revealing the Science of Cooking
(Secrets de la Casserole)
TX651.T3713 2007
An international celebrity and founder of molecular gastronomy, or the scientific investigation of culinary practice, Hervé This is known for his ground-breaking research into the chemistry and physics behind everyday cooking. His first book was Molecular gastronomy: Exploring the Science of Flavor.
Wolke, Robert L.
What Einstein Told his Cook 2: the Sequel: Further Adventures in Kitchen Science
TX652.W6432 2005x
This is the sequel to What Einstein Told his Cook: Kitchen Science Explained. Wolke is an emeritus professor of chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh, food columnist for the Washington Post, and the husband of Pittsburgh Post-Gazette food columnist, Marlene Parrish. Read an interview with Wolke in the Post-Gazette.

Browse the Catalog

For additional books on food reference and preserving food, you may search the catalog under the subjects below. Unfortunately many reference cookbooks are simply catalogued under the subject heading Cooking (formerly "Cookery").


Web Sites

  • Food Reference Website
    A website that contains Food Articles, Facts and Trivia, Kitchen Tips, Food Quotes, Who’s Who, Historic Events, Recipes, Poems & Humor, Crossword Puzzles, Food Art & Posters, Book Reviews, Kitchen Store, Cooking Schools, Food & Wine Tours, and Daily Food News.