O hive mind, I am an idiot.
I was recently visiting friends in Europe, and an expat friend-of-a-friend had a cookbook / cooking reference that I desperately want. I do know that it was purchased in the USA and taken to Europe, and it was definitely written in standard American English. I want to get a copy for myself, but stupidly I forgot to write down title/author or even shoot an iphone cap of the cover, and the 8 hour time difference is making it difficult to get in touch (my friend is working 12+ hour days in a grad program whilst simultaneously trying to learn German, rarely uses IM or answers emails anyway, and I can't really just shoot her a text message).
So I'm going to throw it over to the AskMeFi detective crew in hopes that one of y'all will know which one of the millions of cookbooks / references out there it is. Yep, one of THOSE questions.
What I do remember about it, and why I want it, is that it was not actually a recipe-book, but more like an encyclopedia of food, and was chock full of science and chemistry info. It was more like a college textbook for culinary school, but it wasn't this thing
OR this thing
either. It had stuff like all the different kinds of wheat flour and their protein contents, and then how exactly the chemistry of that relates to the texture of your bread/cakes/etc, and how temperature / pressure / chemical reactions between different ingredients affects the outcome of your recipes.
Of course now I'm back stateside and want to throw this thing in my Amazon cart, I can't even recall the author, much less the title. All I remember is that it was roughly 500 pages hardbound, had a bright red jacket, titled in a bright white serif font that was probably in the Century family. It didn't have many pictures (if at all), and most of the illustrations were engravings / line drawings. It was well organized into sections and well cross-referenced. It was not by Alton Brown or anyone I'm familiar with. Maybe the author's surname began with "H"? I fail at teh Googles but "red cooking encyclopedia" only brings up Food.com, websites about Chinese red pork, and a bunch of Wikipedia links.
Thanks for the help, and hope this is useful for someone else!