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Food and Wellness

Harold McGee: Keys to Good Cooking

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Date and time
Monday, December 06, 2010

Harold McGee, food scientist and "Curious Cook" at _The New York Times_ talks about how to cook well, even when the recipe you're following isn't perfect. McGee is joined in conversation by Rialto's award-winning chef/owner Jody Adams. *Keys to Good Cooking* directly addresses the cook at work in the kitchen and in need of quick and reliable guidance. Cookbooks past and present frequently contradict one another about the best ways to prepare foods, and many contain erroneous information and advice. *Keys to Good Cooking* distills the modern scientific understanding of cooking and translates it into immediately useful information. Looking at ingredients from the mundane to the exotic, McGee takes you from market to table, teaching, for example, how to spot the most delectable asparagus (choose thick spears); how to best prepare the vegetable (peel, dont snap, the fibrous ends; broiling is one effective cooking method for asparagus and other flat-lying vegetables); and how to present it (coat with butter or oil after cooking to avoid a wrinkled surface). This book will be a requisite countertop resource for all home chefs, as McGee's insights on kitchen safety in particular--reboil refrigerated meat or fish stocks every few days; (they're so perishable that they can spoil even in the refrigerator); don't put ice cubes or frozen gel packs on a burn; (extreme cold can cause additional skin damage)--will save even the most knowledgeable home chefs from culinary disaster. A companion volume to recipe books, a touchstone that helps cooks spot flawed recipes and make the best of them, *Keys to Good Cooking* will be of use to cooks of all kinds: to beginners who want to learn the basics, to weekend cooks who want a quick refresher in the basics, and to accomplished cooks who want to rethink a dish from the bottom up.

Harold McGee writes about the science of food and cooking. He's the author of the award-winning classic *On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen*, and writes a monthly column, "The Curious Cook," for *The New York Times*. He has been named food writer of the year by Bon Appetit magazine and to the Time 100, an annual list of the world's most influential people.
After earning a degree from Brown University, Chef Jody Adams began her culinary career as a line cook at Seasons restaurant in the Bostonian Hotel in 1983. In 1990, she became the executive chef at Michela’s in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Adams opened Rialto in September 1994 and four months later, *The Boston Globe* awarded her four stars (the newspaper’s highest rating). In 1997, Jody received The Perrier-Jouet Best Chef Award: Northeast, from the James Beard Foundation. Two years ago, Adams launched an internal educational program, Guerilla Grilling, designed to connect her staff to the farmers and artisan producers that supply the restaurant. Adams owns Rialto located in Harvard Square and has been praised for her creativity and support of local farmers by *The Boston Globe*, *Boston Business Journal*, *Gourmet, Food & Wine*, *The New York Times*, and other publications. In addition to running her restaurant, Adams and husband, Ken Rivard, are co-authors of, *In the Hands of a Chef: Cooking with Jody Adams of Rialto Restaurant*.