On Food and Cooking by Harold Mcgee

Mcgee on Food and Cooking: An Encyclopedia of kitchen science, history and culture
Harold Mcgee
Published by Hodder & Stoughton
Buy now on

The food science and history bible. Sounds nerdy? Well, it kind of is, but if you want to understand the what, why and how behind the food you cook and eat, then this should be your first port of call. Don’t dismiss a bit of research if you’re serious about cooking – intuition and love is vital, but knowledge helps too.

Who should have it?

Chefs. Home economists. Geeks – like me.

Recipes to look out for

Not so much recipes, more key details. Like from what temperature the Maillard Reaction takes place; what temperature eggs cook (or curdle and scramble in your custard tart); and how and when collagen breaks down to unctuous gelatin.

If you’re already a fan

The Food Lab: better home cooking through science by J Kenji Lopez-alt; or The Science of Cooking by Peter Barham.