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Molecular Gastronomy: Exploring the Science of Flavor (Arts and Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History) Paperback – August 18, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Originally published in France, This's book documents the sensory phenomena of eating and uses basic physics to put to bed many culinary myths. In each short chapter This presents a piece of debatable conventional wisdom-such as whether it is better to make a stock by placing meat in already boiling water, or water before it is boiled-and gives its history, often quoting famous French chefs, before making scientific pronouncements. In the chapter on al dente pasta, for instance, This discusses pasta-making experiments, the science behind cooking it and whether it is better to use oil or butter to prevent it from sticking. Most of the discussions revolve around common practices and phenomenon-chilling wine, why spices are spicy, how to best cool a hot drink-but more than a few are either irrelevant or Franco-specific (such as the chapters on quenelles and preparing fondue). This's experimentation, however, is not for the mildly curious, but readers unafraid to, say, microwave mayonnaise will find many ideas here.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Scientific American
A well-known chemist, a popular French television personality, a best-selling cookbook author, the first person to hold a doctorate in molecular gastronomy, and, coincidentally, a former editor at Pour la Science, the French edition of Scientific American. All these appellation come together in Hervé This, a scholar-gastronome who now has his first book available in English. One of the founders of molecular gastronomy, which brings the instruments and experimental techniques of the lab into the kitchen, the author blends practical tips and provocative suggestions with serious discussionsabout how the brain perceives tastes, for example, and how chewing affects food.
Editors of Scientific American --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
This book was interesting, though not necessarily engaging. I would recommend this to anyone who really likes Molecular Gastronomy and wants to have some fun trying things out in the kitchen.
For those just getting into it, or those who are more 'dabbling' try Harold McGee's "On Food and Cooking."
The other important duty of such a book is clarity. Molecular Gastronomy isn't so much translated from the French as it transcribed by machine. Very often it's impossible to figure out through the haze of translation what the author is actually recommending.
On a lesser level, one could ask for a bit of originality and this book does have a bit. The level of ambition is also lamentably low: does anyone really think that putting a spoon in a champagne bottle delays the decarbonation? Are blowing and stirring the only methods of cooling over-hot coffee? How concerned are you that the yolk of your hard-boiled egg be centered in the white?
For most readers, Harold McGee's splendid On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen is vastly superior.