View unanswered posts | View active topics It is currently Sat Oct 21, 2017 2:42 am



Reply to topic  [ 23 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next
The Art of Modernist Cooking 
Author Message
Heinlein Nexus
User avatar

Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2008 8:10 am
Posts: 2228
Location: Pacific NorthWest
Post The Art of Modernist Cooking
I have just started volume 2 of this 6-volume juggernaut of culinary publishing, but I can't restrain myself any longer. This is an absolute tour-de-force of cookery. By the way, if your eyes bug out when you see the price of the set, it's not surprising; each volume is enormous. I'm borrowing them through interlibrary loan.

These books are Kindle killers. When you flip the pages of one of these behemoths, the very notion of an e-book edition will make you double over in laughter. They sport huge lush color photographs covered in delicate annotations, totally illegible on any computing display smaller than a wall. These books lay bare the physics and chemistry of cooking in the most practical and comprehensible terms. Hardly surprising given that the main author is none other than - wait for it - Nathan Myhrvold, chief technologist for Microsoft and also trained master chef (there really may be nothing that guy cannot do). Therefore it starts from basics, i.e., the invention of fire. The first volume barely makes it past the topic of food-borne pathogens.

I was already a fan of O'Reilly's Cooking for Geeks, but this series is the ne plus ultra of the genre. It is already lighting a fire under my expertise in the kitchen. If you cook, take a look. If you love someone who cooks and your budget can withstand the strain, this would make a helluva Christmas gift.


Mon Oct 29, 2012 6:30 pm
Profile WWW

Joined: Thu Aug 21, 2008 12:40 pm
Posts: 537
Post Re: The Art of Modernist Cooking
About 10 years ago, at a Gathering for [Martin] Gardner, I got to see Myhrvold speak. Among other topics, he went over the idea that dinosaurs could crack their tails like whips, creating a sonic boom. Fascinating stuff.


Tue Oct 30, 2012 8:07 am
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jul 16, 2009 12:55 pm
Posts: 70
Location: San Francisco
Post Re: The Art of Modernist Cooking
So, being a fan of cooking, I went to look this up. I'm assuming it's Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking, since the author matches?

Hefty price indeed.

_________________
Bruce


Tue Oct 30, 2012 8:44 am
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Mon May 02, 2011 2:10 pm
Posts: 445
Location: Juneau, AK
Post Re: The Art of Modernist Cooking
Sounds marvelous! The only thing I recall reading about these books before was an article on "The Perfect Hamburger." IIRC the ingredients cost about $100. :o

_________________
"There comes a time in the life of every human when he or she must decide to risk 'his life, his fortune, and his sacred honor' on an outcome dubious. Those who fail the challenge are merely overgrown children, can never be anything else."


Wed Oct 31, 2012 4:16 pm
Profile
Heinlein Nexus
User avatar

Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2008 8:10 am
Posts: 2228
Location: Pacific NorthWest
Post Re: The Art of Modernist Cooking
I am more and more excited as I read on. I just learned the physics of baking and how humidity is the dominant factor and why preheating is important. It's devoted separate chapters to boiling, sautéing, broiling, roasting, pot roasting, frying, ... I mean, the level of detail is astounding. Cutaway photographs of pots with annotations showing the different heating zones and what's going on. Mere recipe books are faint shadows in comparison with this painstaking treatise of the science. This makes it far easier to create and modify recipes of our own instead of depending on ones written by other people.


Thu Nov 01, 2012 6:46 am
Profile WWW
User avatar

Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2008 8:22 am
Posts: 603
Location: Reno, NV
Post Re: The Art of Modernist Cooking
*Damn*. I looked at the price -- over $800! But this sounds like a *wonderful* series of books that I'd love. (I enjoy cooking, am pretty good at it.) I might just start saving mad money and get it after I've funded the Heinlein Collection. <G>

_________________
Catherine Jefferson <ctiydspmrz@ergosphere.net>
Home Page: http://www.ergosphere.net


Thu Nov 01, 2012 9:53 am
Profile WWW
PITA Bred
User avatar

Joined: Wed Apr 09, 2008 12:17 pm
Posts: 2401
Location: The Quiet Earth
Post Re: The Art of Modernist Cooking
ATK/Cook's has been doing this for years, if a bit less systematically. All of their main recipe articles include sidebars on the science and technology of why one technique works and another doesn't. A subscription to Cook's online might be a cheap alternative to putting this behemoth on your shelf.


Thu Nov 01, 2012 10:05 am
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2008 8:22 am
Posts: 603
Location: Reno, NV
Post Re: The Art of Modernist Cooking
I think that both might be worth having. <G> Thanks for the pointer to Cooks online -- I'll check it out.

I rather like behemoths, though, when the behemoth in question is *books*. So I think I'll put this book set on my "mad money" wish list as well, and see if I can accumulate that much mad money. ;)

_________________
Catherine Jefferson <ctiydspmrz@ergosphere.net>
Home Page: http://www.ergosphere.net


Thu Nov 01, 2012 10:14 am
Profile WWW
Heinlein Nexus
User avatar

Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2008 8:10 am
Posts: 2228
Location: Pacific NorthWest
Post Re: The Art of Modernist Cooking
sakeneko wrote:
*Damn*. I looked at the price -- over $800! But this sounds like a *wonderful* series of books that I'd love. (I enjoy cooking, am pretty good at it.) I might just start saving mad money and get it after I've funded the Heinlein Collection. <G>


Tangent: I do notice this bias in the USA towards buying books rather than using the library. I'd never spend that kind of dough on cookbooks. I'm getting these volumes on interlibrary loan; I don't need them in my house forever. But in the USA I just never hear anyone consider the library as an option for getting a book. Are they that bad there? Mine rivals Amazon: I go online, find a book or DVD I want, put a hold on it, if it's not wildly popular it's tagged with my name on the shelf at my local branch the next day. Getting a book via interlibrary loan is equally easy online, takes about a week to get a book from anywhere in North America, on rare occasions costs money, like $5. Or I can submit a suggestion for purchase, as I did a few days ago for the 2012 book "Unfair Trade," which caught my eye on a bookstand. Got email today that they are going to buy it and it'll be in shortly.

My bookshelves are already full: I don't have room for anything I don't want to read multiple times or require for reference. Fewer than five books a year qualify under those criteria for me.


Thu Nov 01, 2012 5:25 pm
Profile WWW
Centennial Attendee
User avatar

Joined: Mon Apr 14, 2008 4:09 pm
Posts: 183
Post Re: The Art of Modernist Cooking
PeterScott wrote:
But in the USA I just never hear anyone consider the library as an option for getting a book. Are they that bad there?


I use my library for 90% of the reading I do. Our inter-library loan program is quite good and I've been using it more since our County library has had a significant decrease in funding and doesn't have the budget to buy like they used to.

I don't read much non-fiction, frankly. Generally just news magazines and the paper.


Fri Nov 02, 2012 6:04 am
Profile WWW
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Reply to topic   [ 23 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group.
Designed by STSoftware for PTF