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Best Cookbooks of All-Time

The Science Textbook for Chefs

Courtesy of Scribner

Getting a chef to pick a favorite cookbook is like asking a parent to choose her most-loved child. But F&W pressed great cooks around the country to reveal their all-time top picks.

The Chef: Mourad Lahlou

The Book: On Food and Cooking, by Harold McGee, 2004

“Since I never went to culinary school or worked under any chefs before running my own restaurant, I’ve learned the most from Harold McGee’s On Food and Cooking,” Lahlou says. “It helped me understand what’s going on when I cook—what happens to the fibers and molecules when I boil leaves or poach an egg. He lives in San Francisco, and we’ve since become close friends. Right now we’re working on finding a way to prevent meat reductions from becoming too sticky. Without him I would not have been able to understand food as well as I do.”

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