Everything posted by AaronM
Thanks? edit: That was not meant at Mr Myhrvold. It was originally the entirety of the post. It was meant as a response to jsmeeker. It's fair that the NYT writes to a somewhat higher brow than other publications, but they're still writing for a majority, and as you said, the book is more of a niche product. The book has been fortunate enough to garner quite a bit of a media profile as of late, so they chose to write a review of it. That said, my interpretation of the review was that it was such a massive and exhaustive treatise on the subject, that the layman may not be spending their money wisely by purchasing it. As a professional chef, I couldn't be more excited by the review. Again, I have not had the chance to read the book yet, but anything I've said about it seems to be the consensus by the people I've seen on here talk about it. As a musician, I can sympathize with someone criticizing your "baby." Sometimes the criticism is unfair, and sometimes it's spot on. This is the danger of releasing any creative work into the world. Thanks so much for taking on this project BTW. We chefs have very little in the way of "professional books," and by all accounts this is a huge addition to that small library.
As a chef it's my job to make decisions for you. Not in a snotty entitled way, but decisions none-the-less. Do I make this pasta sauce with basil? Thyme? Both? I'm trying to make you the best food I can according to my vision of food. That's why you came to my restaurant. To try my version of food. So when you start taking apart a dish it can be insulting. A simple, "Can you do that without the onion?" request is no big deal if it's within reason to accommodate the request. "Chef, why don't you offer a vegetarian option on your menu? Don't you want my money?" Not really. Cooking vegetarian is not something I do. I can make a vegetable dish, but will it be as good as the things I'm truly interested in cooking? No. Not every place has to cater to every possible dietary option. That's how we end up with mediocre food. Trying to appeal to too broad of a swathe of the people results in lack of focus. "Thanks for calling xxxx restaurant - how can I help you?" "Do you offer a gluten free menu?" "No, maam, I'm sorry - the chef chooses to focus on bringing you the best food he can and stays focused on certain things. Thank you for your interest in xxxx restaurant though." It's as simple as that.
First post: I have not had the chance to read the book. Should be here soon from Amazon. However, grant that I have the ability to make some basic assumptions on it. I found the review by Ruhlman to be positive. The comment about not being able to SV a pie crust was clearly meant as a little joke. He's always had a bit of punk rock to him and the review reflects that. He was obviously shell-shocked by the scope of the set and maintained that something that exhaustive (with a scientific bent no less!) is inherently impenetrable to a degree. I agree with this. The book is not for everyone. Will the average home cook use most of the book? Probably not. Is there information in there that would prove useful to them? Surely. But their money might be better spent on something like The Joy of Cooking, as their interest doesn't extend to the breadth of this tome. Asking nearly anyone to read a 2000+ page book is borderline lunacy in the society we live in. Let alone spending $430 on something they won't use a large portion of. The same criticism extends to Mr Myhrvold: You can't have it both ways. Is the book meant for everyone, or is it meant for people truly devoted to the topic at hand? The NYT writes a review for the lowest common denominator, and by doing just that, the criticisms of the book are very fair.