Many good ideas start with a simple, “why?”. Harold McGee’s On Food and Cooking, first published in 1984, comes from wondering about questions such as: Why do eggs solidify when we cook them? Why do we use brown sugars in certain cookies? While the first edition emphasizes the relevance of cells and molecules to cooking, the second edition (2004) has been expanded to cover a greater range of ingredients and their preparation methods. McGee’s work, unmatched in accuracy, is a kitchen classic.