The background of a book

Discussion in 'Open Forum With Harold McGee' started by chrose, Dec 10, 2005.

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  1. chrose

    chrose

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    Thank you Jim and Nicko for this amazing opportunity to converse with one of the most important figures in food. Mr. McGee over the years I have had countless questions that you answered for me, there were however a couple times when it would have been much easier if I could have talked with you!
    So now those particular questions are in the past so I am racking my brain to try and remember some of those issues. The dog eared pages are giving me some indications, but I'll just start fresh.

    Your books contain an absolutely amazing depth and breadth of information. How long did it take you to prepare and or learn the information here? You have a BS from CIT and a Doctorate in English Literature. I can see where the writing part would come in, but what did you get your BS in? It seems an interesting combination that I wouldn't have bet would produce these tomes.

    Thank you again for your time.
     
  2. harold mcgee

    harold mcgee

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    Thanks for your kind words! Strangely enough I have a Bachelor of Science degree in literature! Caltech is essentially a science and engineering school, so they’re only accredited to give BS degrees. I certainly didn’t expect to end up writing about the science of cooking, but boy am I glad I did! It’s a great job.

    It took me three years to write the first edition of On Food and Cooking, which came out in 1984. In 1994 I signed a contract to do the revision—and it was published just last year! I really had to rethink the whole book as well as revise it, and it took that long.

    Harold
     
  3. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    With such a heavy background in literature it's no wonder your book is so well written, but what was the catalyst for doing a book on food and science? It seems light years away from Chaucer and Shakespeare. Were you indulging in a deep dark fantasy to become a mad scientist or was it something much more mundane?
     
  4. harold mcgee

    harold mcgee

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    Mundane . . . I started writing about the science of food because I couldn't manage to land a good teaching job. I had always loved science, and wanted to write about the science of everyday life--and the more I thought and read about food and cooking, the more I thought they would make a great subject.

    Harold
     
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