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Publisher's Summary

Ever wondered how to pan-fry a steak with a charred crust and an interior that's perfectly medium-rare from edge to edge when you cut into it? How to make homemade mac 'n' cheese that is as satisfyingly gooey and velvety-smooth as the blue box stuff, but far tastier? How to roast a succulent, moist turkey (forget about brining!) - and use a foolproof method that works every time?  

As Serious Eats's culinary nerd-in-residence, J. Kenji Lopez-Alt has pondered all these questions and more. In The Food Lab, Kenji focuses on the science behind beloved American dishes, delving into the interactions between heat, energy, and molecules that create great food. Kenji shows that often, conventional methods don't work that well, and home cooks can achieve far better results using new - but simple - techniques. In hundreds of easy-to-make recipes, you will find out how to make foolproof Hollandaise sauce in just two minutes, how to transform one simple tomato sauce into a half dozen dishes, how to make the crispiest, creamiest potato casserole ever conceived, and much more.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2015 J. Kenji Lopez-Alt (P)2019 Tantor

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What listeners say about The Food Lab

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    5 out of 5 stars

Props to the narrator, and amazing book

This book is amazing. I have learned far more than I thought I would by listening to it. I am already a good home cook and spend a lot of time in the kitchen, and its been really good to take my skills up a huge leap by this book. I had this as a hard copy, but gave it away as a gift because I enjoyed it. Having the PDF and audio version is even better I have found.

My other kudos go out to the narrator. He made listening to a cook book interesting and exciting. Not something easy to do.

11 people found this helpful

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Perfect listen for falling asleep

I have read some reviews which seem just silly. In those, it's said they want a hard copy for the recipes. You are given a PDF attachment, so the book is simply taking up space on your cookbook shelf.

This is NOT a cookbook! It is a nice story of the author and narrator recounting his kitchen experiments. For the reason that I find his manner friendly and kind, but while humour is a good thing, he has missed the mark for me, I can personally rate the overall story a 3 out of five.

I have been listening to this to fall asleep at night. It is not that it is boring, it really is entertaining. What it lacks is a cohesive plot from start to finish. You can start at the beginning of any chapter, and you have missed nothing essential to understand the current point. That makes it relaxing.

I have learned a couple things. First, is how to cook eggs. The whites and the yolks cook very differently. Also, bacon cooks so that the fat and meat buckle because they are very different, and a wet cured supermarket bacon can be up to 12% water, and we all know, water will cook food, but no amount of fat in the water will lwt the meat brown. Pasta doesn't require boiling water to cook. The exception is fresh egg pasta, but neither need to be boiled in gallons of water, but the water MUST be salted. That's for flavor, not to speed up the process. Also, al dente pasta, that which is slightly textured at the bite, wasn't known until after WWII. Even as late as 1902, the US Navy required macaroni to be boiled for at a minimum of 30 minutes! (That is true, but not mentioned in the book).

Sauces, meats, greens, bread, it's all in here. Just listen. It's an easy relaxing way to learn, besides the entertainment.

6 people found this helpful

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Very good science, very poor presentation.

Lopez-Alt has conducted thorough testing and research to write this book. His science is interesting and enlightening. The bonus .pdf is also very instructive and contains loads of useful recipes.
Unfortunately, Lopez-Alt's overly egotistical and patriarchal style (constantly references his wife and often in unflattering ways) and mysogynistic language detract from the substance of the book.

2 people found this helpful

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Very useful

I went through this book the first time too quick to really absorb. But now that I own it, I can go back in detail! The things I've tried so far have panned out. For example, "spatchcock" really is the best way to roast a chicken! The organization did make it a bit of effort to see everything I needed to actually cook, but all the information is in there. I get a little put out at foodies who insist you have to do it just this way, or else, so this book is a refreshing reality check. Here's what works, and here's why.

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don't bother

I was hoping for a book about the science behind cooking, not a self aggrandizing borefest

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Repetitive, drawn out

Good narrators make a pause afrer a chapter and a shorter pause after the headline.

The scientific parts and the experiments in this book are very interesting. Sadly, the rest is not. Worst of all is that the same pieces of information are repeated again and again. Did not finish the book.

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Great book!

I liked this book so much I wanted to buy the actual book and realize it was almost $50! But it’s probably worth it. I would like to be able to look up some things easier than I can on audible. Worth the read. Lots of great tips and tricks with a thorough explanation of each.

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Best book I've hear and read for food health!

easy to read, listen to and great information! I will continue listening to this book for good information.

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Essential & Entertaining

Kenji has taken cooking experimentation to an entirely new level and successfully brings you along with him on his journey.
It’s very educational, entertaining and the recipes are truly great.
Cooking is my hobby and this book gives me a depth of understanding I haven’t found before. If gives you the “why” behind certain cooking procedures, problems and successes. It really gives you judgement in the kitchen.
It’s also a very entertaining tie in of cooking and science.
Kenji’s passion for perfection is infectious.
Thank you for an incredible book!

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If you cook (or eat) you need this book!

If you love to cook (or eat), or are just geeky like I am, you have to read this book. He takes everyday foods and subjects them to the scientific method, obsessively finding the best ways to prepare them. Much of it goes against conventional wisdom but it all works, and well!

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  • Lang
  • 02-14-22

I now know how to cook the perfect…

Highly recommended. Informative and amusingly written. I wish the book was even longer. It’s made me into a a Kenji fan, his YouTube channel is great too it turns out. Only downside for me is that I now know how to cook the perfect steak, chicken and burger, while I don’t eat meat. Also, the narrator sounds like Kermit, once you’ve heard it…

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  • chase rooks
  • 10-07-20

Great book

Made me re discover my love of cooling. Only thing that could have made it better is if the author was the one narrating .

1 person found this helpful