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A review and a warning:
I was once doubtful that celebrity chefs could be of any use to me, but Alton Brown is one of the strongest proofs that that’s not necessarily true. He’s a science geek who has a couple shows on the Food Network and a few books out on food and kitchen gear (highly recommend that one: Alton Brown’s Gear For Your Kitchen). His forte is explaining the hows and whys of the techniques and ingredients used in making good food—not necessarily gourmet, either, which I appreciate, being on a budget and not very comfortable with epicureanism. But I’ve come to believe that if you’re going to expend the time, energy, and resources to cook and bake, you ought to try and do it well.

I checked out the book named in the title from the library. It’s meant as a follow-up to his book I’m Just Here for the Food, which is about cooking; this book is a primer on baking. I have really enjoyed reading (most of) the technical but also practical explanations of all the major ingredients and techniques used in baking. You can read a summary on Amazon or something; I just wanted to warn anyone interested that when I went on Amazon to check prices, I found out from reviewers that there is a big problem with typos in the book’s many recipes. There is a second edition, but there seem to be major problems in that one as well. That’s a real shame, as it violates the “as long as you’re going to bake, bake well” philosophy big time. Check out the book from your library and don’t waste money on the dubious recipes.

However, I just made his recipe for banana bread (and discovered the typo problem on Amazon while it was baking!), and it turned out just fine. Pleasantly spongy yet moist, and the right amount of sweetness. I can post the recipe if anyone’s interested. But I certainly do not want to take a gamble on any of the other possibly flawed recipes, so I’ll be returning this book to the library once I finish taking notes on the non-recipe portions.

June 2017
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