Cooking with IEEE Spectrum: Harold McGee

An IEEE Spectrum Radio Special

IEEE Spectrum Radio
15 minutes, 7mb, recorded 2008-08-01
Harold McGee

With a hint of prophesy, Harold McGee’s PhD dissertation was titled “Keats and the Progress of Taste”. He was not referring to the eating taste, but this professor of literature went on to combine a love for science with a love for cooking to become a cooking geek connected with the molecular gastronomy field of experimental cooking. 

McGee shares his background from his early days of studying astronomy and the path that brought him to where he is today. In 1992 he helped organize the first molecular gastronomy conference in Italy. Cooking experiments are a way of life for him yet he has a reason for not having a fancy kitchen. He continues to research what he believes is our most complicate sensory experience, and two new book projects are on the way from McGee.

Harold McGee writes about the chemistry, techniques and history of food and cooking and is the author of two books that explain kitchen science in an approachable manner. His first book, On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen was initially published in 1984. A greatly revised second edition was published in 2004. McGee has also written for Nature, Health, The New York Times, The World Book Encyclopedia, The Art of Eating, Food & Wine, Fine Cooking, and Physics Today. He has lectured on kitchen chemistry at cooking schools, universities, The Oxford Symposia on Food, the Denver Natural History Museum and the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. He is also a consultant to restaurants and manufacturers.  McGee's science-based approached to cooking has been embraced and popularized by a number of chefs and authors. Prior to becoming a food science writer McGee was a literature and writing instructor at Yale University.


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