Something fun for a Saturday night? How about a cookbook recommendation from Bill Gates.
The book, compiled after nearly four years of obsessive research, clocks in at 2,400 pages (that's 47-pounds), is really a six-volume collection that costs $460 and requires four pounds of ink to print. The result is a large-scale investigation into the math, science and physics behind cooking tasks from making juicy and crisp beer-can chicken to coating a foie-gras bonbon in sour cherry gel. The man behind the tome is a former chief technology officer for Microsoft and an inventor of hundreds of patents.
Here's the recipe for the most astonishing cookbook of our time: Take one multimillionaire computer genius, a team of 36 researchers, chefs and editors and a laboratory specially built for cooking experiments. After nearly four years of obsessive research, assemble 2,400 pages of results into a 47-pound, six-volume collection that costs $625 and requires four pounds of ink to print.
Among the book's revelations: Expensive pots and pans are a waste of money. Organic food is no healthier than non-organic. Black coffee cools off faster than coffee with cream.
We pored over the book and selected some of our favorite counterintuitive nuggets of wisdom. You'll never think about frying, boiling or making pizza the same way again.
PROBLEM #1: Your pan-fried food comes out soggy and greasy.
SOLUTION: Use more oil.
Before shallow-frying, pour oil into a pan that is equivalent to nearly half the depth of your food. Heat it well and fry the food. When done, drain on a rack and blot excess oil with paper towels. The food will be crisp and less greasy than if you had skimped on the oil.
WHAT'S GOING ON: When food heats, water escaping from the food creates a tiny layer of steam that lifts the food off the bottom of the pan. If there's not enough oil in the pan, the food will not make contact with the oil. That means that instead of frying, it steams, and then merely absorbs the oil, sponge-like, upon contact. With a thick enough layer of oil the food will have full surface-contact with the oil and will fry—and properly fried food does not actually absorb much oil.
Buy the Book. If I was a billionaire, I'd buy a copy too.
Shop at Amazon.com and support Farnam Street