Friday, January 30, 2009

Location, location, location

A while ago, I bought a book that I really thought I would like. It's Harold McGee's 'On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen'. I enjoy watching shows like Good Eats and finding out interesting things about the science of cooking. This book sounded like it contained all kinds of great information, so I thought it would be perfect for me.
Well, I got it, and I flipped through it for a bit. And it did in fact contain some great information.

But it was boring.

It felt kind of like reading an encyclopedia. If I was just sitting on the couch and wanted to pick up a book to read, this would not be one of my top choices.

It sat on the bookshelf unread for a long time. Which made me a little sad. Here, I had a great resource that contained a lot of knowledge that I would like to have inside my brain. But I just never felt like picking it up and reading it.

But then, something happened that made this book a bazillion times more useful.

I moved it next to the potty.

This book is a great next-to-the-potty book! If I'm just hanging out around the house, I would never feel like picking up a reference text and looking for an interesting piece of information that I don't know. But if I'm hanging out on the potty for a while, it's a whole different story! I've got nothing else to do...might as well find out why fruit turns brown after you cut it...or how vegetables are pickled around the world...or what the Maillard reaction is all about.

It's perfect because the articles are concise and well written. You think of a subject you want to read about, flip to the page, go about your business...and BOOM! Now you know something new! 
It's a good, thick, comprehensive book, so there's no shortage of topics to look up. I'm guessing that several of the interesting food science facts on Good Eats probably come from this book.

Now, instead of searching (in vain) for something (anything) interesting in an old issue of 'Cottage Living', I can read about what happens when beer is made or recipes for baked goods written hundreds of years ago.

Makes me wonder if any other books that I own could benefit from a change of scenery...

1 comment:

Tara said...

We laughed hysterically at this post. So true! If there is anything I want Chris to read, I put it in the basket in the bathroom and I'm certain it'll get read eventually. :)