Hardcover: 392 pages
Publisher: Columbia University Press (December 9, 2005)
Molecular Gastronomy is somewhat of a fad among certain chefs, especially Heston Blumenthal. It involves taking a scientific approach to the physics and chemistry of food, with a view to working out what could be done better, and what hasn't been done before that might be worth trying. It's an interesting movement, and this is one of its source books. So it should be quite rewarding.
Well, yes and no. Back two years ago, I reviewed McGee on Food and Cooking, which takes a wide view on food and cooking, but manages to be entertaining as well as informative. This book, on the other hand, is extremely dry. The author seems never happier than when he's talking about the differences between two protein complexes. Happily, he never goes on for very long - this is broken into 101 short articles, arranged in four sections, with the last being possibly the most interesting. In it, he speculates on such subjects as just how much meringue can be made from a single egg white (he reckons cubic metres, given enough care!), and speculating on possible future ways of cooking. But I wouldn't suggest it for anyone who isn't interested in the particular molecules that cause the exact high note in the aroma of a Camembert. If you think it might be useful to you, then I'd suggest borrowing a copy first.
Most people will find McGee on Food and Cooking much more rewarding.