March 24, 2005
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McGee

My copy of McGee arrived today, so I spent lunch browsing.

The Morrison and Boyd of food, McGee has buckets of fascinating information. Why anise and fennel and star anise (and stale coriander) have the same odor. Why ground beef is inherently dangerous, and how to make it safer without turning it into cardboard. How much coffee winds up in your cup.

And it's systematically organized. It's not just anecdotes. The chapter on fruit discusses all kinds of fruit, what it is and how it got that way. The chapter on spices discusses just about everything you'd want to know about, both historically (cumin used to be common in European cooking but went out of fashion for reasons nobody can remember) and analytically.

What a break! For heaven's sake, how long has this been going on?