J. Kenji López-Alt embraces, indeed revels in, being called a food nerd
. He's the kind of guy who will test countless variations of a culinary technique to determine whether any of the alternate methods is worthwhile, and why. A longtime contributor to seriouseats.com, he is a graduate of M.I.T, a one-time restaurant cook, and former editor of Cook's Illustrated
. In other words, his obsessive investigations are backed up by a range of scientific, culinary, and writerly experiences.
The Food Lab
is a compellingly powerful resource for any cook interested in self-improvement of the culinary kind, for fans of Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking
, and for all those who enjoy tinkering with a recipe. López-Alt challenges numerous pieces of received cooking wisdom, demonstrating that the age of an egg makes no difference to whether or not it can be easily peeled once hard-boiled, proving that pasta cooks best when barely covered with boiling water, outlawing ground veal in meatloaves, and showing why burgers should be flipped often as they cook. He also provides instructions for dry-aging your own steaks, creating a sous-vide bath in a camping cooler, and a solution for potatoes that insist on crumbling in potato salad. Fun and insightful, this will easily become one of the most consulted books on your culinary shelves.