If you're going to geek out on something, I feel like the kitchen will produce the best returns. Example: Geeking out on cosplay and crafting the most badass Jabba the Hutt costume ever for San Diego Comic-Con probably won't get you laid by the neighbor's Swiss au pair, and following the rejection you won't have mac 'n' 3-cheese casserole and devil's food bomb cake in which to drown your sorrows. Geeking out on Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks, and Good Food though will at the very least guarantee you a night of carbo-loading on pasta and chocolate. And from what I've heard, the Swiss really dig cheese and chocolate, so....
Though a cookbook at heart, Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks, and Good Food gives its readers far more than printed recipes and 3-line blurbs about the food it recommends. The culinarily curious will learn to experiment with ingredients and flavor, plus get a glimpse into the science behind why we cook how we cook, why food does what it does, and why we like what we like. For example:
- Why is medium-rare steak so popular?
- Why do we bake some things at 350 F/175 C and others at 375 F/190 C?
- How quickly does a pizza cook if we overclock an oven to 1,000 F/540 C?
- What are protein denaturation, Maillard reactions, and caramelization, and how do they impact the foods we cook?
- Experiment cooking with hydrocolloids and sous vide
As for the specific types and tone of information author Jeff Potter dishes up in Cooking for Geeks, check out his explanation of cake in a Pumpkin Cake recipe:
There are two broad types of cake batters: high-ratio cakes--those that have more sugar and water than flour (or by some definitions, just a lot of sugar)--and low-ratio cakes--which tend to have coarser crumbs. For high-ratio cakes, there should be more sugar than flour (by weight) and more eggs than fats (again, by weight), and the liquid mass (eggs, milk, water) should be heavier than the sugar.