A selection of our most used and/or beloved resources to learn more about food and science. If you have any suggestions for further additions, please do reach out!
Food Science Books
A lot of hard core food science books aren’t really suitable for some recreational reading. Instead, they’re real study books. This list focuses on those books that are slightly less in-depth and generally more accessible but can still teach you plenty.
1. On Food and Cooking – Harold McGee
There’s no doubt about it, this has to be the first book on the list. This book discussed the basics of food and cooking on just about everything in 15 chapters. It’s a good resource for both those with a limited science background and those with a more thorough understanding. He covers so many topics, you’ll most probably always learn something new.
2. Molecular Gastronomy Exploring the science of flavor – Hervé This
Whereas On Food and Cooking is an encyclopedia of food, this book is more of a ‘Nice to Read’. In just a few pages per topic complex food phenomena are discussed and explained (about 100 different topics!). Each chapter covers one research question (such as: expansion of quiches, adding water to whipped egg whites or the effect of salt). Sometimes the chapters are a little too short and a little complicated to understand, but it’s a nice read in general. Hervé This was one of the first to practice and promote molecular gastronomy.
3. The Food Lab – Kenji. Lopez-Alt
If you’re interested in finding the best (scientific) recipe of something you’re trying to make, this is your book. Written by the food science chef of Serious Eats a ton of recipes are discussed with an exact explanation on how they have to be made but also why that’s the case. If you’re hoping for bread or sweet recipes this is not the book for you, so take a lot at the index before deciding to buy and see whether they’re the type of dishes you’d like to make.
On our reading list:
The Science of Cooking: Every Question Answered to Perfect Your Cooking, Sep 19, 2017, by Dr. Stuart Farrimond
The Science of Good Cooking: Master 50 Simple Concepts to Enjoy a Lifetime of Success in the Kitchen, Oct 1, 2012, by The Editors of America’s Test Kitchen and Guy Crosby Ph.D
Culinary Reactions: The Everyday Chemistry of Cooking, Nov 1, 2011by Simon Quellen Field
You don’t learn food science well without cooking and baking yourself and experimenting with new ideas. There are so many good cookbooks out there nowadays, it’s impossible to mention them all, but here are a few highlights. The books are numbers, but in random order of liking.
1. Brilliant bread, James Morton
If you’d like to start baking, start with this book. The recipes work, they aren’t too complicated, but there’s a good variety of level. There’s some theory on baking bread as well. If you’re looking to develop that one recipe that you always return to it’s a good book. If you’re more of an advanced bread baker it might be less interesting. After a while you might start noticing a lot of breads are actually very similar with similar ratios of moisture and flour.
2. The Curry Guy, Dan Toombs
If you’re not Indian, so haven’t learned cooking it at home, but want to learn it, this is the book to go to. All recipes just seem to work out with plenty of flavour. Expect to stock your pantry full of spices, but delicious meals.
3. Greek, George Calombaris
If you’re a fan of Masterchef Australia (who isn’t…? 😉 you know George Calombaris. This book has various great Greek recipes. The photos might sometimes be a bit too stylish and there tend to be some ingredients which are a little harder to get a hold of. Nevertheless, most recipes are great, for instance this pita bread.
4. The Silver Spoon, Alberto Capatti
Looking to improve your Italian cooking? Look no further. This huge cookbook covers so many different recipes, great pizzas and pastas, but also plenty of desserts, main courses, side dishes, soups, etc.
Blogs & websites
There are so many food blogs nowadays, it’s amazing. Again, far too many to mention all of them, but again, a selection:
- Sally’s Baking addiction: mostly sweet baked goods and a lot of passion for baking (plenty of recipes on this blog have used one of her recipes as a start)
- Laura’s Bakery: a Dutch blog with simple but flavourful recipes
- Handle the Heat: more baking of sweets!
- Pinch of Yum: a unique writing style with simple and refreshing recipes
- Cookie and Kate: for great vegetarian recipes, best if you’re looking for a salad
- The Ktchen: both recipes as well as explanations and deep dives
- Serious Eats: just like the Food Lab, the science posts dive deep deep into a topic
There are a lot of great food podcasts nowadays, in a separate post dedicated to podcasts we look at our favorites.