Monday, June 27, 2016

Staff Pick: The Food Lab by J. Kenji López-Alt

When I got the hold notification that The Food Lab: better home cooking through science finally came in for me, I did a little dance. And then I did a big dance. I could not contain my excitement. I have been waiting for months for this hold to come in, and for what seems like years for this book to be published. is one of my all-time favorite websites and J. Kenji López-Alt, the managing culinary director and author of this book, is easily my favorite food blogger. To say I was excited would be a massive understatement.

J. Kenji López-Alt, known across the world wide web as “Kenji” is a household name at my home. Whenever we cook something new, we check how Kenji did it first. Kenji changed the way we sear steak, braise asparagus and fry bacon. If you want crispier chicken skin, he’s your go-to guy. You want a better recipe for Bolognese sauce? He’s got it. Want to know what to do with the weird cut of meat that was on sale? Kenji will have your answer. 

So, you can see why I was elated to finally get my hands on The Food Lab, Kenji’s cookbook/culinary reference guide/food bible. Just as he does online at SeriousEats, in The Food Lab Kenji offers recipes that are simple and delicious every time. The thing I like even better than the recipes, though, is the endless supply of 'how-to’s'. Kenji offers advice on how to pick the best eggplant, how to poach the perfect egg and how to properly sharpen your knives. It’s all there. He builds better cooks by teaching technique before providing the recipes. He uses ingredients that an ordinary person would have in their kitchen and just about anyone can improve their culinary skills by referencing this book. The Food Lab is also filled with nerdy food puns, anecdotes about his culinary career and (bonus!) photographs of Kenji’s official taste testers: his dogs Hambone, Dumpling and Yuba. It is 958 pages of everything I wanted and more.

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