Baking a cake? Do you know why....?

When baking a cake, do you know why room temperature ingredients are essential? The science is that "adding cold ingredients will cause the batter to "seize," or shrink and deflate, which will compromise the cake's texture, making it dense instead of light."

This is just one of the many explanations in The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters. She is famous for using locally grown, seasonal vegetables at her Chez Panisse restaurant. This latest book is filled with her ideas about using the freshest ingredients, cooking simply and making the meal one of delightful togetherness. And, she recommends tasting as you cook. What's not to like?

Nearly every chapter explains something about why we do this or that in the kitchen. Do you know any other books that explain the science of cooking or baking?