New book from McGee: Keys to Good Cooking

Harold McGee, author of the seminal On food and cooking: The science and lore of the kitchen (which is one of my favorite non-recipe books for the kitchen) has done it again! The book Keys to Good Cooking: A Guide to Making the Best of Foods and Recipes is to appear in October, but is already available for pre-order as I write. The book is one step closer to the kitchen and the actual cooking than On food and cooking. In a mini Q&A with NY Times in 2008 Harold McGee said the following:

“I’ve heard from many cooks that while they value the scope and depth of “On Food & Cooking,” when they need practical help with a specific technique or ingredient it’s often hard for them to locate the information. So my next book will be nothing but practical information and directions, concise and brief.”

I think it’s fair to say that Harold McGee, more than any other person I know of, has been very successful at distilling scientific work into a very readable and accessible form. He did this back in 1984 with the first edition of On food and cooking, and then again in 2004 with a more or less rewritten edition in 2004. A complete book with practical information rooted in science can easily become the single most useful book in your kitchen!


  1. got it delivered last week. disappointing – On Food and Cooking has it all. This is more of a handbook for people who have a slight interest in what’s going on, yet don’t necessarily understand (or want to understand) the science behind it.

  2. This new book by Mcgee is really disappointing indeed. If “On food and cooking” was the Holy Bible, this one is a guide for dummies. A mere list of tips and tricks already well known by food adepts. Sure, this book can be useful to whom is approaching cooking, but for the avid readers of “OFaC” is great delusion.

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