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Harold McGee

Harold McGee

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Harold McGee is an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 author who writes about the chemistry
Chemistry is the science of matter, especially its chemical reactions, but also its composition, structure and properties. Chemistry is concerned with atoms and their interactions with other atoms, and particularly with the properties of chemical bonds....

, technique and history of food and cooking and has written two seminal books on kitchen science. His first book, On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen
On Food and Cooking
On Food And Cooking: The Science And Lore Of The Kitchen is a book by Harold McGee, published by Scribner in the United States in 1984 and revised extensively for a 2004 second edition...

was initially published in 1984. A greatly revised second edition was published in 2004. McGee has also written for Nature
Nature (journal)
Nature, first published on 4 November 1869, is ranked the world's most cited interdisciplinary scientific journal by the Science Edition of the 2010 Journal Citation Reports...

, Health
Health (magazine)
Health is an American magazine focused on women's health. It was purchased by Time Inc. in 1991. The company now operates as a part of Time's Southern Progress Corporation. The magazine's topics range from diet and recipes to fashion tips and dealing with life issues such as stress...

, The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

, the World Book Encyclopedia
World Book Encyclopedia
The World Book Encyclopedia is an encyclopedia published in the United States. It is self-described as "the number-one selling print encyclopedia in the world." The encyclopedia is designed to cover major areas of knowledge uniformly, but it shows particular strength in scientific, technical, and...

, The Art of Eating, Food & Wine
Food & Wine
Food & Wine is a monthly magazine published by American Express Publishing. It was founded in 1978 by Ariane and Michael Batterberry. It features recipes, cooking tips, travel information, restaurant reviews, chefs, wine pairings and seasonal/holiday content and has been credited by The New York...

, Fine Cooking, and Physics Today
Physics Today
Physics Today, created in 1948, is the membership journal of the American Institute of Physics. It is provided to 130,000 members of twelve physics societies, including the American Physical Society...

and lectured on kitchen chemistry at cooking schools, universities, The Oxford Symposia on Food, the Denver Natural History Museum
Denver Museum of Nature and Science
The Denver Museum of Nature & Science is a municipal natural history and science museum in Denver, Colorado. It is a resource for informal science education in the Rocky Mountain region. A variety of exhibitions, programs, and activities help museum visitors learn about the natural history of...

 and the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. McGee also consults for restaurants and manufacturers. Currently, he writes a regular column for the New York Times, The Curious Cook, which examines, and often debunks, conventional kitchen wisdom. Along with Dave Arnold
Dave Arnold
Dave Arnold is an American chef from New York City. He is a leader in molecular gastronomy.-Personal history:Arnold grew up in the New York area and began tinkering with restaurant equipment after earning his MFA from Columbia University School of the Arts...

 and Nils Norén
Nils Norén
Nils Norén, born circa 1967, is a chef and culinary educator based out of New York City where he holds the position of Vice President of Culinary and Pastry Arts at The French Culinary Institute. He also writes for the blog Cooking Issues, and he is a Contributing Authority for Food Arts magazine...

, he also teaches a three-day class at The French Culinary Institute
French Culinary Institute
The French Culinary Institute , also known as The International Culinary Center has locations in SoHo, New York City and in the San Francisco Bay Area of California....

 in New York City entitled the Harold McGee Lecture Series.


Prior to becoming a food science writer McGee was a literature and writing instructor at Yale. He attended the California Institute of Technology
California Institute of Technology
The California Institute of Technology is a private research university located in Pasadena, California, United States. Caltech has six academic divisions with strong emphases on science and engineering...

, originally intending to study Astronomy
Astronomy is a natural science that deals with the study of celestial objects and phenomena that originate outside the atmosphere of Earth...

 and Physics
Physics is a natural science that involves the study of matter and its motion through spacetime, along with related concepts such as energy and force. More broadly, it is the general analysis of nature, conducted in order to understand how the universe behaves.Physics is one of the oldest academic...

, but graduated with a B.S in Literature
Literature is the art of written works, and is not bound to published sources...

 (1973), and later went on to receive a Ph.D from Yale University
Yale University
Yale University is a private, Ivy League university located in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. Founded in 1701 in the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States...



McGee's science-based approach to cooking has been embraced and popularized by chefs and authors such as Heston Blumenthal
Heston Blumenthal
Heston Marc Blumenthal OBE is an English chef and owner of The Fat Duck, a three-Michelin-starred restaurant in Bray, Berkshire voted Best Restaurant in the UK by The Good Food Guide 2007 and 2009, and voted best restaurant in the world by Restaurant magazine in 2005...

, Alton Brown
Alton Brown
Alton Crawford Brown is an American television personality, author, actor, and cinematographer. He is the creator and host of the Food Network television show Good Eats and the mini-series Feasting on Asphalt and Feasting on Waves, and he is the host and main commentator on Iron Chef America...

, Shirley Corriher
Shirley Corriher
Shirley O. Corriher is a biochemist and author of CookWise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Cooking, winner of a James Beard Foundation award, and BakeWise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Baking. CookWise shows how scientific insights can be applied to traditional cooking, while BakeWise applies...

, Lynne Rossetto Kasper
Lynne Rossetto Kasper
Lynne Rossetto Kasper is an award-winning American food writer and radio journalist. She is the host of the American Public Media program The Splendid Table, whose targeted audience is "people who love to eat." The weekly program features a series of interviews with chefs, restaurateurs, and wine...

 and Russ Parsons
Russ Parsons
Russ Parsons is the food editor and columnist of the Los Angeles Times. He has been writing about food for 25 years, including almost 20 years at The Times, where he has also been managing editor, and deputy editor...



  • On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen
    On Food and Cooking
    On Food And Cooking: The Science And Lore Of The Kitchen is a book by Harold McGee, published by Scribner in the United States in 1984 and revised extensively for a 2004 second edition...

    (ISBN 0-684-80001-2, 2004)
  • The Curious Cook: More Kitchen Science and Lore (ISBN 0-02-009801-4, 1990)
  • Keys to Good Cooking: A Guide to Making the Best of Foods and Recipes (ISBN 0-34-096320-4, 2010), a compendium of practical information on food and cooking.

External links