Food for Thought: The Food Lab

Feeling a little J. Kenji Lopez-Alt-deprived with Serious Eats’ new eye candy format? The Food Lab is your medicine. It collects and organizes his best posts through the years, in a volume heavy enough to pound a cutlet.

There are several ways you can use this book. First, you can burrow into tidbits of food science. Lopez-Alt is less methodical than Christopher Kimball, less pedantic than Harold McGee, with a result that’s eminently readable. (Foolproof Soft-Boiled Eggs on page 101 is as good a place to start as any.) Second, to suss out the best way to prepare any particular foodstuff. (You can do no better than the sautéed spinach/pan-roasted mushroom spread on ages 440-441, though I will point out that you can retain moisture inside your mushroom caps by frying the bottoms first, then turning over to cook the tops.)

Third, it’s a recipe book, which is clearly what the publisher intended in order to reach the widest possible audience. The number of recipes is not large relative to the size of the book, but what’s here is reliably good and has a high probability of success thanks to the accompanying advice on technique. Pasta with Sausage and Red-Sauce Braised Broccoli Rabe (page 696) looks promising… maybe I’ll make this one for dinner tonight. Check it out.

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2 Responses to Food for Thought: The Food Lab

  1. JB says:

    Serious Eats was my homepage five years ago. It billed itself as a community and it was. They got rid of Talk, the Adam Kuban components, and all the great contributors and ultimately sold out. It’s click bait now. Kenji is full of himself and an unashamed shill for Anova. He’s got some okay recipes if you cut the salt to 1/3 of what he calls for.

  2. Burnt My Fingers says:

    Re site redesigns, these folks all come up with the same solution–great big pictures with little links in the middle. (Have you visited Yelp lately?) As a result they all look the same. I like a picture as much as anybody, especially to demonstrate proper plating, but then let’s get to the preparation instructions. If nobody reads, then we’re all going to be ordering from Blue Apron from now on.

    LOL about Kenji.

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