This post is a little bit of a tease.

the keys to good cooking

A few weeks ago, I was asked to be a host on the virtual book tour for Harold McGee’s new book, Keys to Good Cooking: A Guide to Making the Best Foods and Recipes. And of course I said yes!

I love books. I love cooking. And I knew I would love to have the chance to preview and read this book.

This first post is just a brief glimpse into the book, but I can already tell that I’m going to enjoy it – and I think you will, too.

harold mcgee


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 Appétit magazine and to the Time 100, an annual list of the world’s most influential people. He lives in San Francisco. (from the book tour website)


All of the book tour participants received a few snippets of the book to preview, and I love how it’s laid out.

The table of contents shows that the book is divided into certain food types, from fruits, nuts, eggs, bread – even chocolate and coffee!

Based on McGee’s introduction, this isn’t meant to be a cookbook – rather, it is meant to help readers with their comfort and methods in the kitchen. He writes that there’s an "abundance" of recipes online and elsewhere . . . and that it’s "all too easy to get lost along the way."

I know I’m not the only one that feels that way when searching for recipes! There are hundreds upon hundreds and learning the basic steps of certain recipes will help you in case something is missing in the steps or an ingredient was left out that you know should be there.

In the section of the book that I was offered to review (because I will be reviewing the book in full later this fall), there’s a chapter on "Vegetables and Fresh Herbs” where McGee offers several tips for how to pick the best, freshest produce:

  • Fresh vegetables and herbs are alive and breathing and should look like it. The best-quality fresh vegetables are the most recently harvested and most carefully handled.
  • Precut vegetables are convenient but more vulnerable to spoilage than intact vegetables and are often wilted. Refresh them in ice-cold water before using.
  • Frozen vegetables can equal or better the quality of fresh, especially vegetables that lose flavor and tenderness rapidly after harvest. These include green peas, lima beans, and sweet corn.

There’s also a sneak peak at his “Meats” section, with some great information:

  • Searing meat does not seal in its juices, and moist cooking
    methods do not make meats moist.
    Juiciness depends almost
    entirely on how hot you cook the meat.
  • Meat overcooks quickly. Low heat slows cooking and gives
    you the greatest control over meat doneness.
  • Recipes cannot predict correct cooking times. There’s no
    substitute for checking meat doneness early and often.

This book is full of helpful information and the basic things everyone should know – these types of tips and hints will keep you on top of your game in the kitchen, no matter what gets thrown your way.

You can check out the other stops on the tour here – there are already some great reviews.

Based on, the book is set to release October 28th. Don’t forget to check back with me on November 9th for my full review!

tlc tour host

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  1. That sounds like a very cool thing to be a part of. I love his books and it’s interesting how he debunks some of the myths.

  2. I’m a very poor cook but this is exactly the kind of book I think would help me – I need to learn the basics of cooking first! I’m so looking forward to your complete review – I think this is going to be a hugely helpful book for so many people (like me!).

  3. Pingback: Harold McGee, author of The Keys to Good Cooking, on tour August and October/November 2010 | TLC Book Tours

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