Cookwise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Cooking by Shirley O. Corriher
If you are a fan of FoodTV's program "Good Eats", then you will recognize Shirley O. Corriher as the food scientist who graced many of the early episodes. Her book Cookwise explains, in easily understood terms, the decisions and processes that make good recipes and great food.
For example, there is a section explaining the role of fat in cooking and baking, and the differences in performance between various kinds of fats. Each new piece of knowledge is accompanied by practical recipes that bring together what you have just learned. "Three Different Cookies from the Same Recipe" shows the effect of varying the type of fat and the type of flour in baking cookies.
The recipes, of which there are more than 230, are each accompanied by a section, "What this Recipe Shows", which helps to highlight the new learning being demonstrated.
The slip cover says "No More Failed Recipes." While I can only wish it were true, what I do know is that after reading Cookwise you will quickly be able to understand what went wrong and how to avoid making the same error again.
Cookwise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Cooking by Shirley O. Corriher is the recipient of the James Beard Award for Excellence.