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Modernist Cuisine at Home Hardcover – Large Print, October 8, 2012

4.7 out of 5 stars 696 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Modernist Cuisine at Home is destined to change the way we cook—and the way we use recipes. For all of us who cook regularly, this book opens up a whole new world of possibilities. It is full of insights that encourage us to try something new, and that teach us something on every single page. --Martha Stewart

Modernist Cuisine at Home offers useful techniques and solutions that expand our abilities, and it provides us with a practiced and thorough understanding of why things happen the way they do. Most importantly, it ignites a curiosity within and compels us to ask ourselves not "What should we make for dinner?"; but rather, "What can we make for dinner?" --Thomas Keller

...Nathan Myhrvold and his team, responsible last year for the food-publishing triumph of the decade, the six-volume Modernist Cuisine, have now scaled down and domesticated many of the advanced techniques... Of these, sous vide cooking is the most likely to find a place in the home kitchen, as it has in mine, and Modernist Cuisine at Home treats the subject in glorious detail. --Jeffrey Steingarten, Vogue

About the Author

Nathan Myhrvold is founder of The Cooking Lab and lead author of Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking, Modernist Cuisine at Home, The Photography of Modernist Cuisine, Modernist Bread, and the forthcoming book Modernist Pizza. He routinely pushes the boundaries of culinary science as a chef, scientist, photographer, and writer. He has had a passion for food and photography since he was a boy. At a young age he consumed cooking books and invested in new cameras and lenses—even while doing postdoctoral cosmology work with Stephen Hawking. While working as the chief technology officer of Microsoft, he took a leave of absence to earn his culinary diploma from École de Cuisine La Varenne in France. Nathan retired from Microsoft in 1999 to found Intellectual Ventures and pursue several interests, including his lifelong passion for photography, cooking, and food science. Inspired by the void in literature about culinary science and the cutting-edge techniques used in the world’s best restaurants, Myhrvold assembled the Modernist Cuisine team to share the art and science of cooking with others. Myhrvold opened Modernist Cuisine Gallery in 2017 after receiving continued requests to buy the photography found in his books. With locations in Las Vegas, New Orleans, Seattle, and La Jolla, the gallery features large-scale, limited-edition prints of Myhrvold’s art and is the first gallery in the world to focus solely on food photography by a single artist.

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ The Cooking Lab; Pck Slp Sp edition (October 8, 2012)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 456 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0982761015
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0982761014
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 10.38 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 16.5 x 11.5 x 2.9 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 696 ratings

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Nathan Myhrvold is founder of Modernist Cuisine and lead author of Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking, Modernist Cuisine at Home, The Photography of Modernist Cuisine, Modernist Bread and the forthcoming Modernist Pizza. He has had a passion for science, cooking, and photography since he was a boy. Unlike many childhood hobbies, Nathan’s fascinations did not fade—they intensified. He consumed cookbooks and invested in new cameras and equipment even after enrolling in college at the age of 14.

He went on to earn a doctorate in theoretical and mathematical physics, as well as a master’s degree in economics from Princeton University. He holds an additional master’s degree in geophysics and space physics and a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of California, Los Angeles. He did postdoctoral work with Stephen Hawking at Cambridge University researching cosmology, quantum field theory in curved space-time, and quantum theories of gravitation before starting a software company that would be acquired by Microsoft.

As his career developed, he still found time to explore the culinary world and photography. While working directly for Bill Gates as the chief technology officer at Microsoft, Nathan was part of the team that won the Memphis World Championship Barbecue contest. He later worked as a stagier at chef Thierry Rautureau’s Seattle restaurant Rover’s, and then he took a leave of absence to earn his culinary diploma from &Eacute;cole de Cuisine La Varenne in France.

Nathan retired from Microsoft in 1999 to found Intellectual Ventures and pursue several lifelong interests in photography, cooking, and food science. During this time, some of his photographs were published in America 24/7 (DK Publishing, Inc., 2003) and Washington 24/7 (DK Publishing, Inc., 2004). Unable to find practical information about sous vide cooking, he decided to write the book he had hoped already existed—one that provided a scientific explanation of the cooking process, the history of cooking, and the techniques, equipment, and recipes involved in Modernist cuisine. Inspired by this void in cooking literature, he decided to share the science of cooking and wonders of Modernist cuisine with others, hoping to pass on his own curiosity and passion for the movement.

In 2011 Nathan founded Modernist Cuisine, hired an interdisciplinary team that included scientists, research chefs, and writers, and published the much acclaimed five-volume 2,438-page Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking. That was followed by Modernist Cuisine at Home in 2012, which applies the insights of the original book in a format designed for home cooks. In 2013, he wrote The Photography of Modernist Cuisine and created an art exhibit that traveled to the country’s leading science and culinary museums.

In 2017Modernist Bread was released. Unlike any bread book ever published, the five-volume book, co-authored by Modernist Cuisine head chef Francisco Migoya, provides a comprehensive look at the history, techniques, ingredients, and equipment used to create yeast-leavened bread around the world. The same year, Myhrvold opened Modernist Cuisine Gallery after receiving continued requests to buy the photography found in his books. With locations in Las Vegas, New Orleans, Seattle, and La Jolla, the gallery features large-scale, limited-edition prints of Myhrvold’s art and is the first gallery in the world to focus solely on food photography by a single artist.

Nathan Myhrvold, Francisco Migoya, and the rest of the Modernist Cuisine team are currently researching and writing their forthcoming cookbook Modernist Pizza.

Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
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Reviewed in the United States on October 8, 2012
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Holy Grail of the Foodie-at-Home-Chef
By Seth A. Ratner on October 8, 2012
For those of you that don't want to read the silly-long review I wrote, scroll down to "BOTTOM LINE" for the important stuff.

I'll start with a disclaimer: Do not buy this book until you are familiar with the original "Modernist Cuisine." By that I do not mean you need to own that set first (quite the opposite, this is the stepping stone to the full set), but you should understand that it encompasses a style of cooking that can be crudely summarized as "cooking for scientists" or "how to make dinner in a laboratory." Once you know what you're getting into, decide if it's worth around $140 of your hard-earned cash.

Now, on to the good stuff. For those of you who salivated for a year, wishing you could justify buying "Modernist Cuisine" but knowing you wouldn't be able to use it to it's full potential (like me), your prayers have been answered! "Modernist Cuisine" made headlines (in the Food and Travel section) for:
1. Deconstructing the science of cooking rather than just listing recipes
2. Focusing on modern methods of preparing foods using tools such as combi ovens, sous vide setups, emulsifiers, etc
3. Including some rather stunning photography of the equipment and ingredients within

I am happy to say that all three are present in the "at Home" version. First, "Modernist Cuisine at Home" (MCAH hereafter) introduces a consolidated set of kitchen tools and gadgets that the home chef can reasonably afford. Don't have the funds for the laboratory-grade centrifuge featured in "Modernist Cuisine?" No problem. Not only does MCAH omit the prohibitively expensive tools from its recipes, but many of them are the same recipes found in the original, redone for the home cook. MCAH even goes as far as offering several options at varying price ranges for the equipment used within.

The same goes for the ingredients. MCAH mostly does away with the laundry list of exotic spices and chemicals featured in many "modernist" cookbooks and instead relies on ingredients you can find either at the local grocery store, or in reasonable quantities online. For the ingredients you are probably less familiar with (malic acid? agar agar?) there is a two-page spread detailing what each does, where it comes from, and what it costs. In many cases, the recipes will list alternatives if you choose not to add their recommendations to your shopping list.

Much like Modernist Cuisine, MCAH explains some of the science behind the various cooking techniques, but at a beginner's level. Each recipe includes a blurb about what's going on inside the pot (so to speak), and almost all of them include multiple variations at the end, allowing for a wide variety of options. This is especially useful for people new to the idea of sous vide cooking, as MCAH does a great job explaining exactly how it works, and how to make it work for you.

How has it taken me this long to get to the photography? Stunning, just as in "Modernist Cuisine". I don't know how they did it, but every picture is suitable for framing. Equipment has been dissected to yield amazing looking cross-sections used in explaining how the various tools function. And get this: included in the back are four prints from MCAH you can frame. I had no idea until they fell out while I was reading, but they are every bit as beautiful as the photos inside, and I dare say will look better on the walls of a kitchen than the usual crap paintings of grapes or farms or cows that people seem obligated to put up these days.

If it seem like I'm gushing, it's because I am. Any home cook who has jumped into sous vide cooking has probably experienced the frustration I have with cookbooks dedicated to the style. You have Douglas Baldwin's "Sous Vide for the Home Chef," which, while great for it's temperature charts (and the fact it came out before anything else was available) is too simple for anyone looking to expand their horizons into restaurant-quality preparations (French Laundry, anyone?). And on the other end of the spectrum is Thomas Keller's "Under Pressure," which, while exquisite in creativity and detail, is geared completely towards the restaurant chef (which he warns in the forward), both in scale and complexity. Even the original "Modernist Cuisine", while featuring more accessible recipes than "Under Pressure", still excluded the home cook from about half of it's contents due to equipment or ingredient limitations. MCAH is the first book that features sous vide in a way that the home cook can learn and excel at, while also creating dishes that will blow the guests away. Seriously, the stuff you can make from this book looks like it belongs on the set of Iron Chef.

BOTTOM LINE:

This is a "modern" (or Modernist) cookbook, so the recipes inside are going to be closer to what you'd find in a restaurant that uses an obscure adjective for it's title rather than what you'd see in your grandmother's kitchen. If the idea of cooking a beautiful cut of salmon in a Ziploc bag seems blasphemous, or using a digital scale instead of an elephant-shaped measuring cup is akin to high treason, you may not be ready to make the jump. But if you want to learn how modern cooking styles can produce amazing taste and presentation in your kitchen (while removing much of the uncertainty and variation that traditional high-heat methods entail), this is the book for you.

PROS:

- Currently the best book available for home sous vide setups
- Delicious recipes using accessible ingredients for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. Meat, Poultry, Fish and Veggies. Even has a few vegan options inside.
- Teaches the "why" of cooking, not just the "how"
- Stunning photography, and great step-by-step images for most of the recipes
- Comes with a separate water-resistant "kitchen manual" with every recipe inside so you can keep the gorgeous main-book away from the messiness of the kitchen.
- Comes with 4 prints you can frame in your home. Or not.
- Even though the recipes are designed using ingredient weights, approximate volume measurements are included
- Well constructed. You could easily beat an intruder to death with this book if you caught him stealing your sous vide setup
- Even has the bookmark ribbon you see in bibles, which fits, since this has become my new kitchen bible.

CONS:

- Though it says "at Home" in the title, your average kitchen will most likely lack some of the basic tools used in many of the recipes. At a minimum, you will need a digital scale, Sous Vide setup, a pressure cooker, and a whipped cream siphon. MCAH will help you in your quest to acquire those tools, but you should commit to expanding your kitchen arsenal if you plan to use this book to it's full potential.
- There are no calorie counts on these recipes, and in some cases if there were, it would take scientific notation to fit on the page. This is not a diet book, this is a book dedicated purely to creating the most delicious food possible at home. When you get to the page about deep-frying a hamburger, you'll understand what I mean.
- $140 (or whatever they charge now) isn't chump change, and for most people the new equipment will add to the cost.
- The sandwich on the cover does not actually levitate when you make it at home.
- Does not mow the lawn while you aren't using it.

Feel free to ask any questions in the comments. I am in no way affiliated with the producers of this book, though I would consider trading my first-born for a chance to work in their kitchen. Your Mileage May Vary.

EDIT - 6 Oct 2015: Three years later and I still love this book. I not own the full-fledged [[ASIN:0982761007 Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking]], but I'm always going back to this one. Take the leap!
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Reviewed in the United States on February 15, 2017
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3.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous!
By hokietrax on February 15, 2017
Love this book. Great photos, accessible equipment, awesome techniques and recipes.

However, avoid Momox as the shipper. Also Amazon did absolutely ZERO to help me get resolution. The 1st pic is what it's supposed to look like, with a neat box to hold the main book. The shipper tossed the book/box into a shipping box, with a single thin layer of bubble wrap. All but useless.

Now I get to see if a local bookbinder can help with a fix, because the binding and glue were damaged in shipping. Caveat Emptor!
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Reviewed in the United States on April 23, 2017
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3.0 out of 5 stars Great content; disappointing craftsmanship
By Miguel on April 23, 2017
Love the book content; great photography, good recipes, etc. But the build of the book al has much to be desired. We've only paged through it, carefully (almost with white gloves) a couple of times and the pages are already coming detached and falling out. For the price of this book, I expect a lot better craftsmanship!
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Miguel
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 29, 2020
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Mcox
5.0 out of 5 stars This is probably the best cook book I've bought
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5.0 out of 5 stars When you can't cost justify the full Modernist Cuisine or ...
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Diogo Conceição
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing cooking book, very detailed and with beautiful mind-blowing photos.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Worth the price
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