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Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 2438 pages
  • Publisher: The Cooking Lab; Spi Har/Pa edition (March 7, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0982761007
  • ISBN-13: 978-0982761007
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 7.1 x 5.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 51.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (115 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,839 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Reviews

"This book will change the way we understand the kitchen." --Ferran Adrià

"A fascinating overview of the techniques of modern gastronomy." --Heston Blumenthal

"Modernist Cuisine is a landmark contribution to the craft of cooking and our understanding of its underlying principles. Its scale, detail, and eye-opening graphics are unmatched by any other book on the subject. It will be an invaluable resource for anyone with a serious interest in cooking techniques, whether the professional innovations of the last few decades or the long traditions on which they build." --Harold McGee

"A breathtaking new benchmark in understanding cooking, Modernist Cuisine is destined to be as important a work for the 21st century as Escoffier’s Ma Cuisine was for the 20th century." --David Kinch

“The most important book in the culinary arts since Escoffier.” --Tim Zagat

“The cookbook to end all cookbooks.” --David Chang

"Amazing! Unparalleled in its breadth and depth." --Wylie Dufresne



A Look Inside Modernist Cuisine
(Click on Images to Enlarge)


Irradiating Food to Perfection

The Lost Art of Pot-Roasting

Taming the Breath of the Wok




The Chemistry of Color Changes in Cooking

Parametric Recipe: Pasta

About the Author

DR. NATHAN MYHRVOLD is chief executive officer and a founder of Intellectual Ventures. Before founding his invention company, Myhrvold was the first chief technology officer at Microsoft. He left Microsoft in 1999 to pursue several interests, including a lifelong interest in cooking and food science. Myhrvold competed on a team that won first place in several categories at the 1991 World Championship of Barbecue, including first prize in the special pasta category for a recipe that Myhrvold developed on the day of the contest.

After working for two years as a stagier at Seattle's top French restaurant, Rover's, Myhrvold completed culinary training with renowned chef Anne Willan at the Ecole De La Varenne. In addition, he has worked as Chief Gastronomic Officer for Zagat Survey, publisher of the popular Zagat restaurant guidebooks. Through his many visits to the world's top restaurants, Myhrvold has become personally acquainted with many of the leading modernist chefs and the science-inspired cooking techniques they have pioneered.

Myhrvold's formal education includes degrees in mathematics, geophysics, and space physics from UCLA, and Ph.D.s in mathematical economics and theoretical physics from Princeton University. In his postdoctoral work at Cambridge University, Myhrvold worked on quantum theories of gravity with the renowned cosmologist Stephen Hawking.

CHRIS YOUNG opened the experimental kitchen at The Fat Duck and worked under world-famous chef Heston Blumenthal to oversee development of his most innovative dishes. With degrees in mathematics and biochemistry from the University of Washington, Young oversees original experiments and recipe development for The Cooking Lab.

MAXIME BILET was educated in the humanities at Skidmore College and graduated with highest honors from the Institute of Culinary Education in New York. Before joining the culinary team at The Cooking Lab, Bilet completed stages at Jack's Luxury Oyster Bar, The Fat Duck, and Auberge de l'Ile in London.


More About the Author

DR. NATHAN MYHRVOLD is chief executive officer and a founder of Intellectual Ventures. Before founding his invention company, Myhrvold was the first chief technology officer at Microsoft. He left Microsoft in 1999 to pursue several interests, including a lifelong interest in cooking and food science.

Myhrvold competed on a team that won first place in several categories at the 1991 World Championship of Barbecue, including first prize in the special pasta category for a recipe that Myhrvold developed on the day of the contest.

After working for two years as a stagier at Seattle's top French restaurant, Rover's, Myhrvold completed culinary training with renowned chef Anne Willan at the Ecole De La Varenne. In addition, he has worked as Chief Gastronomic Officer for Zagat Survey, publisher of the popular Zagat restaurant guidebooks. Through his many visits to the world's top restaurants, Myhrvold has become personally acquainted with many of the leading modernist chefs and the science-inspired cooking techniques they have pioneered.

Myhrvold's formal education includes degrees in mathematics, geophysics, and space physics from UCLA, and Ph.D.s in mathematical economics and theoretical physics from Princeton University. In his postdoctoral work at Cambridge University, Myhrvold worked on quantum theories of gravity with the renowned cosmologist Stephen Hawking. www.modernistcuisine.com

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Customer Reviews

Buy the McGee's book and then only if you like it actually buy the current book.
Jackal
The individual books are very large and just on the edge of usability in terms of size and weight when you curl up with one to read through it.
Gavin Scott
Here you'll find the history, science, and techniques of traditional methods to make you a better cook.
E. Rogozienski

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

428 of 442 people found the following review helpful By Chris Hennes on March 8, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In the interest of full disclosure, I had access to a free electronic review copy from the publisher prior to receiving my (unfortunately NOT free) copy from Amazon.com, and I work for an organization mentioned a few times in the book (eGullet).
---

It's hard to review this book without it coming across as hyperbolic: after all, it's a 50-pound, 2400-page beast that will cost you an entire year's cookbook budget and must have cost unfathomable sums to produce; you're either going to love it or hate it. However, I can say with confidence that if you liked McGee's On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen, you are going to love Modernist Cuisine.

While the press coverage of the book so far has focused on the more esoteric aspects of the book--centrifuges, rotovaps and chemicals, oh my!--the book actually simply treats those items on equal footing with woks, sauté pans, and water. It covers them because you can cook interesting, tasty food with them. Of course, the weird stuff gets all the attention, because, well... it's weird. But this is a book that devotes an entire chapter to *water*. And the things it teaches you *will* make you a better cook. The authors are never satisfied with "it just works, don't ask why." It seems like every paragraph, on every detail, is tightly focused on the question of not just "what happens?" or "how do you do it?" but also "WHY does it work?" and "HOW does it work?" This book is particularly excellent if you are science-minded, but it is written with such clarity that I believe anyone can learn these things from it. Who knew that blowing on a spoonful of soup to cool it was so complicated, and so interesting?
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125 of 129 people found the following review helpful By Jackal on March 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Books like Noma: Time and Place in Nordic Cuisine, Alinea, and El Bulli 2003-2004 showcase modernist cuisine (or the by many hated label 'molecular gastronomy') from the perspective of a creative chef. If you bought some of these books and found the recipes fascinating but the rest of the books a bit too much written by a PR agency, you might like the current book. Much more emphasis has been put on making the text informative. Whereas chefs tend to go for very emotional language, these authors go for a scientific language. However, you don't need to be a scientist to understand the content, but that is the heart of the book. (If you hated chemistry/physics in school, this book is not for you). So in my view, the objective is to understand cooking innovation from a traditional scientific (some would say geeky) perspective, rather than from the perspective of a creative chef. So don't expect to hear anything of how to merge locally foraged ingredients (a la Noma) or combine senses like hay smell with autumn vegetables (a la Alinea) or sheer creative genius (a la ElBulli). The focus is cooking innovation, but there is also a lot of material that is interesting even without using any new machinery in the kitchen. Whenever they talk about traditional cooking the focus is on saying something novel and useful. The authors are not just interested in repeating old knowledge.

If you liked McGee's
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131 of 140 people found the following review helpful By Gavin Scott on April 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
So, here you are, reading this review. That alone is enough for me to tell you that if you're intrigued and thinking maybe you want to own Modernist Cuisine, then I can answer all of your concerns and questions right now by saying YES! YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED! Just click the button and order it, and settle back and read the rest of this review while you wait for delivery :)

Does MC live up to its hype? Yes it does. Is it relatively expensive as cookbooks go? Well, on a pound-for-pound basis, no, not really. Sure, in absolute terms something like $450-$625 for a "Cookbook" will seem crazy to many, but their error will be in pigeonholing MC as "Just a Cookbook", which is like categorizing a Ferrari as "just another car".

Are the authors of MC the ultimate Gods of Cooking? Well, no, not necessarily. They have their own viewpoint which becomes pretty clear after reading through any amount of the text, but still their contribution to the science and practice of cooking is huge, and their resulting construction (this set of books) is worthy of ownership for ANYONE interested in food OR cooking.

Reading MC is like reading McGee's On Food and Cooking, but with actual practical advice, actual recipes, and incredible illustrations.

So, misconceptions: "This book is only for the Molecular Gastronomy crowd". Really not true. There's surprisingly little Xtreme Cooking in the first three volumes. This set has a HUGE amount of general information that will be relevant and interesting to any cook, and indeed any lover of food. Even if you find the plated dish recipes in volume five to be inaccessible to you, you (yes YOU) will get an amazing amount of useful and fascinating information out of the first four volumes (at least).
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