Happy 4th, everybody!

It being the 4th, a lot of us are celebrating a different sort of independence--independence from the stove. We're going to cookouts and picnics and barbecues.  We're getting buckets of fried chicken from wherever we can.  Of course, for some of us--including, I'm sure, many Eat Your Books readers--the Fourth means extra-big cooking projects, because we are the engine and the life force behind the cookout, barbecue or what have you.  But even if you are the pitmaster or the pie baker or the skillet chief, I hope you have a moment to put up your feet.

lobstersWhen you do, there's a great book for you--a book to read, not to cook from.  You might know Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough, authors of umpteen cookbooks (including the popular Ultimate cookbook series) .  Their latest, though, is a festive, demystifying romp.  It's called Lobsters Scream When You Boil Them...and 100 Other Myths about Food and Cooking.

Like most fans of Harold McGee, Alton Brown, and/or Shirley Corriher, I thought I knew my food myths.  I know that searing doesn't "seal the juices in".  I know pork can be cooked pink.  But try some of these:

1. Bananas CAN go in the refrigerator.

2. Spicy foods DON'T cool you down.

3. You DON'T have to soak dried beans for you cook them.

And, although I point blank refuse to believe it:

4. Turkey DOES NOT make you sleepy.

That's just for starters.  Each comes with a rationale, a qualification, an exegesis. It's a fine thing to bring along with a six-pack while you're waiting for the fireworks to start--regardless of whether you've been a slave to your stove all day or footloose for the 4th.

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