Curiosity Never Gave Me Food Poisoning
A new book satisfies the cravings of curious cooks
Brilliant Food Tips and Cooking Tips
As a cookbook editor, David Joachim must spend an awful lot of time checking food-related facts and figures, attempting to explain difficult techniques in simple ways and trying to figure out if broccolini is related to broccoli or not. His new book, Brilliant Food Tips and Cooking Tips (Rodale, hardcover, $29.95) is a 600-page compendium of the sort of juicy little nuggets that have become so popular in food magazines like Cook's Illustrated. This is the sort of book that people like me normally recommend as bathroom reading; the entries are short enough that you could glean some useful information in no more than a minute's time. But this book is distractingly diverse in its collection of tips (toast rice grains to make your rice taste nuttier), techniques (a two-page illustrated spread showing how to cut boneless, skinless breasts from a whole chicken), definitions (do you know mirepoix from mise-en-place?) and “Fascinating Facts” (tomatillos are more closely related to gooseberries than tomatoes). It is approachable enough to work well as a useful reference for cooks new to the kitchen but detailed enough to still provide interest, entertainment and help to old hands. One complaint: The layout is made needlessly messy by icons highlighting problem solvers, flavor tips, healthy hints, time savers and the like but there are simply too many of them. The result is an annoying complication of something that was perfectly simple to begin with.