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Everything posted by nathanm

  1. I keep saying this, but you really should not pay much attention to Amazon shipping predictions. It's not like they know something special or secret. Typically they will set expectations low until the point when suddenly it ships - that pattern has occurred many times in this thread.
  2. Suet is [from] the fat around the kidneys, and renders harder and whiter than tallow, which comes from... elsewhere on the cow. Fact is that we used rendered kidney fat for the recipe, and that is what we recommend. Fat from other cuts will also work, but kidney fat is usually a bit stronger flavor.
  3. Sorry about the PDF index not being printable. Frankly, I did not realize that was the case - I can't be on top of everything. I will get this changed. We made a decision about not repeating the index in each volume, because it just too much paper - it would have made the book even bigger, heavier and more expensive than it is. I will point out that the table of contents IS repeated in each volume. That seemed to make more more sense to us. Obviously, not everybody will agree with this decision. We are in the process of making an index for the Kitchen Manual, which we will post online and yes it will be printable.
  4. It is great that the copies are finally being shipped. In the next several weeks about 5400 copies of the book should be delivered - which will complete the first printing. The second printing is being made right now and should ship in June. I continue to be pleasantly surprised by the reaction the book is getting. Here is one example, the Time Magazine most influential poll has me in it, due to the book. I am in Paris at the moment, meeting with journalists and chefs to start the ball rolling on the French edition of the book, which we hope to have out by the end of the year.
  5. Most of our layouts were sized so that langugages that need a bit more space than English will fit. The translated editions of the book will be just that - translated. The content will be indentical. Fast food is a worldwide phenomenon, but businesses like Kentucy Fried Chicken did start in the US, but many started elsewhere. We already profile the French/Greek/Spanish founder of Danon yoghurt, for example.
  6. I have big news - we have signed a deal with the international publishing company Taschen to publish Modernist Cuisine in multiple languages. The first three are French, German and Spanish and we expect that these will be released by the end of 2011. Here is the press release that Taschen put out. Other languages are planned for the future. I'm not sure what we will decide but we are thinking of perhaps six or more languages over time. I have really enjoyed publishing the book myself in English. Among other things, it's been a way for me to learn a lot about the book busines. I will remain the publisher in English. However, the task of getting the book translated into multiple languages, and then distributed into book stores around the world can be better handled by a firm like Taschen. They publish so many large beautiful books that MC won't seem that unusual in their line up, except for one thing. It is their first cookbook. It is very exciting to have the book be accessible to people who don't read English. Cuisine is an international phenomenon, and we needed to have the book translated in order to make it accessible to people.
  7. I would not say that the blurring the lines of sweet and savory is one of the "main characteristics" of modernist cuisine. Yes, that trend did occur. Very specifically it was a phase that Ferran experimented with during a specific time period. Heston also has some savory ice creams. However, these are just a few examples of MANY things that occured in the cuisine, so I would not call it a "main characteristic". We discuss that a bit. However, our book is not a pastry book, so we don't cover modernist pastry. I also disagree that use of pastry techinques is a "main characteristic". I think that it is more accurate to say that pastry has a mindset of careful measurement and strong reliance on technique. Modernist cuisine shares that philosophy. However, modernist cuisine did not simply appropriate traditional pastry technique for savory food. The modernist revolution section traces the many threads that are woven into what we call modernist cuisine. In terms of chefs the earliest instigator of modernist cuisine was Ferran Adria, and yes he is from Europe - more specifically Spanish, and more specifcally than that Catlan. Ferran was a young Catlan chef, cooking under a French chef at a French restaurant owned by a German doctor in Northern Spain (Catlunya). He initally sought to learn French Nouvelle Cusine. When the chef left Ferran started innovating on his own. I suppose that makes his cooking European, but then what do you say to the many Asian influences that he has used over the years? Is soy sauce, or Kobe beef or kombu seaweed "genuinely European"? He uses them.... Mostly his cuisine is deeply original. It draws from European culinary traditions, but not exclusively so. Due to Ferran and others, many of the early modernist techinques were developed in Europe. However there were some developments that were done first in the US. Harold McGee championed science in the kitchen with his book in 1984. Sous vide started in a Swedish hospital system, but the first sous vide food served to a restaurant guest was in the US. More generally I don't know what "genuinely European" means. It is a strangely nationalistic way to look at this. I actually am going to be in Spain the end of this coming week. However, we won't have PR events until we have a Spanish edition. We are working on a deal to make that happen but I don't have a date yet.
  8. I suppose it is a testamony to the high regard that people have for the book that there is surprise that we didn't utterly reinvent coffee making. The goal of our coffee chapter is to document state-of-the-art coffee making techniques to an audience of chefs and food people. There are one set of people who obsess over making the best possible food. There is another set that obsess over maknig the best possible coffee. I have been surprised to the degree that these are really two different and distinct sets of people. Obviously not totally distinct, but the fact is that there are many restaurants that will go to extreme effort to have the absolute best ingredients, the best techniques, the most highly refined food. But then they treat coffee as an afterthought. I wanted to make them aware of the best techniques in coffee. MC is primarily aimed at food people (there are 50 pages about coffee and 2388 pages about food topics), but I thought that having a great coffee chapter could make a real difference in how coffee is served by food people. The true coffee cogniscenti don't need MC to tell them about great coffee - they already know. This is the essence of the Mark Prince comment, and his review, so he clearly gets what we were trying to do. He mentions a see-through portafilter. We thought about this, but the challenge there is that the pressure in a portafilter is about 9 bar (nine times normal atmospheric pressure or about 132 lbs per square inch. That is a lot of pressure to handle. There are ways to fake it, but we never considered that very seriously. I also didn't want to cut my Synesso machine in half.
  9. London, England. Alas, I am not doing any public speaking, but will be doing some press visits.
  10. Here is the latest news on the shipments! Canadians rejoyce, your books are actually in Canada (but on a train for a couple more days). Also, here is long blog post with my behind-the-scenes comments about our whirlwind PR tour in New York City.
  11. This is a great idea - we are working on an online index of kitchen manual! We are busy reviewing proofs for 2nd printing but will get to this as soon as we can.
  12. Sodium citrate is a sequestrant. You would need that in direct spherification if the food you are mixing to spherify has a lot of calcium ions in it. In revers spherification, you add calcium ions to the food. The sequestrant is used to make the gel bath stay pristine from calicum in the water. With distilled or deionized water this less a concern.
  13. We ordered the second printing, and decided on 25,000. Tomorrow AM I fly to New York City for a whirlwind of events all week. Ryan and othres on the team will be posting pictures to the Modernist Cuisine blog. I probably will be too busy to post much, but will try to pop in on occasion...
  14. Put the fan on half speed and your yolks won't get blown away...
  15. The first batch of orders from Canada should ship in late March/early April. One of the three containers heading out from China is headed there.
  16. We usually leave the short ribs on the bone, but you can also do if you remove the bone.
  17. Libaries traditionally order order books through specialized channels, not thorough normal bookstores. The system frankly seems a bit anachronistic in the Internet age, but that is mostly still how it is done. This is discussed here and here. I don't think that we have had a lot of orders we can trace to libraries yet. I expect it will take a while for librarians to learn about the book and order through their channels. The web sites above say that a lot depends on whether the librarians see demand, so asking the book at your library would probably help. I hope that we will get library orders, so people who can't afford the book will get access to it.
  18. We make the pastrami out of many different cuts. Short ribs is probably our favorite.
  19. Your assumptions are correct. The incremental price break gets smaller and smaller, so it is not really a factor. Another factor is how soon we can actually get the copies - we are working on that too. It turns out that the whole second printing thing has been complicated by the Japanese earthquake/Tsunami disaster. The paper for the book is Japanese, and it looks like we might not be able to get it, so we we may need to switch papers. This is not a big deal, but it shows how interconnected the world is these days.
  20. Amazingly, MC is currently #39 on the Amazon sales list among all books. #40 is the Steig Larsson novel The Girl Who Played with Fire. We are really moving into the big time if we can overtake that book. It is #3 in cookbooks, the only books above it are Hungry Girl 300 and Blood, Bones and Butter. I think that the reason is that an interview with me ran on National Public Radio today, or anyway that is the only event that I can think of that would make it spike up like this. This still leaves me with the dilemma of deciding how many books to print for the second printing. Is the sales spike today a harbinger of things to come, or a temporary uptick?
  21. AaronM makes a good point. People love to identify new trends, or claim that trends are over. Being late to recognize a trend isn't very special, so people tend to jump the gun. In MC chapter 1 I discuss an article by Gael Greene from New York Magazine in 1981. In it she says that Nouvelle Cusine is "over, finee, mort, dead". It is the sort of broad prouncement that journalists love to make, especially those who position themselves as jaded sophisticates. Instead of being dead, Nouvelle went to in inspire a generation of American chefs.
  22. You don't need to change temperatures for eggs. I like hard boiled eggs at 175F to 180F (79C to 82C). The lower temperature is better texture but harder to peel. A lot of people like eggs at 149F 65C. In either case you could put them in at that temp and leave them all night and they would be fine. The texture may change a bit due to the long cooking (I have not tried cooking eggs for 8-12 hours, I will try tonight.... However, whole eggs cooked sous vide take 25 minutes so it is not the end of the world to start them first thing in the AM. Scramled eggs put into a sous vide bag take much shorter time period - 10 minutes or so. So there is not that much reason to start it ahead of time. In principle you could use a programmable heating & chilling water bath that would keep eggs, or other food at say 2C, then switch over to cook at some specified time so that you're ready in the AM. This is a common feature in dough proofers used in bakeries or restaurants. They are called retarder-proofers. You set them to be a refriderator, and then at a set time they switch over to proofing temperature. I have one of these. The last raising period for croissants is typically 3 hours, so you can make the proofer switch over at 4AM, then at 7Am you pop them in the oven.
  23. You can program the most advanced types of water baths - most or all of teh major scientific manufacturers have programmable baths. You can also program combi ovens. I agree that the proposed program of 60C then 50C is not really helpful. A better example of programmability is to take tough beef, and hold it for 4 hours at low temp (45C), then move it to 55C. This is, in effect, artifical aging. A programmable bath would make it a set-and-forget operation - an an example you could do this then let it stay at 55C all night so it can run unattended. If you did this repeatedly (say, for a dish served daily at a restaurant) then having a programmable bath would make sense and save labor. Combi ovens have even more elaborate programs that let you sear a roast then cook it and hold it - much like a water bath. The programs work very well. Combi ovens are just starting to trickle into However in most cases you don't really need this.
  24. I have two long posts on the Modernist Cuisine website. The first is about the current and near future shipping issues with the book. The second is about how many copies should we print for the second edition. I have until Monday to figure out how many copies for the 2nd printing - and I am soliciting advice if anybody has a good rationale. The post describes all of the factors we are thinking about.
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