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"Modernist Cuisine" by Myhrvold, Young & Bilet (Part 1)

543 posts in this topic

Since we can finally get a peek at what NathanM and his team have been working on thanks to Docsconz and the NYT:

NYT:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/17/science/17prof.html

Docsconz blog

http://docsconz.typepad.com/docsconz_the_blog/2009/11/starchefs-2009-day-one-chris-young-nathan-myhrvold-culinary-engineers.html

The least we could do is have a thread here about it ;)

So enough with the hints about it being published "next year" every year in the Sous Vide thread.

Let's just talk about how this is going to be "kind of a big deal"

A few of my questions: Will it be a single volume or perhaps serialized? Will it change the way we and the US government look at food safety? What percentage of the book will make it to the pro kitchen/home kitchen, and what percentage will just be too pie in the sky for either? Will it change the way we cook? Any chance we can see an early TOC for the book? How about a review copy ;) I'm sure it will take me some time to digest it all...and I'm perfectly willing to weigh in upon its eventual publication. Barring that, NathanM, mind sharing a few more sneak peeks?

Thanks!

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They made it pretty plain at the Starchefs Congress that this was going to be a big mother of a book. Nathan even said, that should it fall on one's foot, one will likely need to "go to the hospital." They are shooting to be pretty comprehensive within 1500 pages. The impression that I had is that the content of the book is largely set, though they may be honing it some more. One of the more important chapters is likely to be the one on food safety. Hopefully, it will give good, practical advice rather than CYA advice. I suspect that it will be backed by excellent science. This is a book to watch for!


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Agreed Doc, I'm counting on it being a game changer...and hope that it does not just become "neat tricks to wow and impress your guests."

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I was lucky enough to attend a talk nathanm gave at the University of Washington on his new cookbook and, by all appearances, it's going to be amazing. We got to sample his pistachio ice cream afterwards (made by emulsifying pistachio oil into a cream so there's no dairy in the ice cream) and was wowed by the technique but kind of underwhelmed with the result. Oh well.


PS: I am a guy.

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Lots of techniques here that are new to me.

What is a water vapor oven, as mentioned in this diagram? Google didn't turn up anything except for a patent application.

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Lots of techniques here that are new to me.

What is a water vapor oven, as mentioned in this diagram? Google didn't turn up anything except for a patent application.

It's a tool for accurate sous vide cooking. It's also known as a convection steam oven.


PS: I am a guy.

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I was lucky enough to attend a talk nathanm gave at the University of Washington on his new cookbook and, by all appearances, it's going to be amazing. We got to sample his pistachio ice cream afterwards (made by emulsifying pistachio oil into a cream so there's no dairy in the ice cream) and was wowed by the technique but kind of underwhelmed with the result. Oh well.

Slightly off topic, but egullet member Nathan Kurz (Scream Sorbet) makes amazing nut sorbets (pistachio included). If you have tasted his as well, I'd be interested to see how it compares to the oil "cream" version.

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Rereading some notes from the Starchefs talk, expect the price to be around the same as what the elBulli or The Fat Duck books cost. They are expecting it to be out around or before Christmas 2010.


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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That's a lot of book for a little price.

NathanM & Ideas in Food both publishing, 2010 is already shaping up. :rolleyes:


“Do you not find that bacon, sausage, egg, chips, black pudding, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, fried bread and a cup of tea; is a meal in itself really?” Hovis Presley.

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@nathanm was very kind to share with me some of his thoughts on sous vide cooking, modernist cuisine, and the upcoming book (now 2200+ pages in 4 volumes; expected release date December 2010). If you're interested, you can read the interview here.


SCOTT HEIMENDINGER
Co-Founder, CMO

Sansaire

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Amazon is listing NathanM's book at $625 for preorder. is this going to be the price now? this is definitely top of my list on books to buy, but i dont know if i can budget this much for it. given the extensive nature of the book i thought the number that was discussed in this thread of $300 or so was high but doable. $625 knocks it out of the range of most of the home market i would think.

NathanM i hope this is just the marker price that amazon have put in, but can you give us some feedback on what to expect?

thanks

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Amazon is listing NathanM's book at $625 for preorder. is this going to be the price now? this is definitely top of my list on books to buy, but i dont know if i can budget this much for it. given the extensive nature of the book i thought the number that was discussed in this thread of $300 or so was high but doable. $625 knocks it out of the range of most of the home market i would think.

NathanM i hope this is just the marker price that amazon have put in, but can you give us some feedback on what to expect?

thanks

The list price of the book will be $625, because the total project has grown to about 2300 pages in 5 volumes. The list price is not the same as the street price, because there usually is some discounting. My guess is that street price will be about $500, but that is just a guess - the discounted price depends on the retailers (Amazon and others) and it is not up to me.

Pre-orders on Amazon will get the benefit of the discounted price charged at the time of release. We are working for a release date in late 2010.

The book will be expensive, no doubt about it. People have an expectation that books should be cheap, and most cookbooks are very cheap. As a result, most cookbooks make lots of compromises to hit a price point. We made fewer compromises - for this many pages, with tons of color photos, and huge page size, and nice weight paper .... well, it is hard to make it really cheap.

So it a bit like dinner at a top restaurant - Per Se, or L'Arpege or similar restaurants have a top quality product, with a price to match. The book will cost less than dinner for two at Per Se (before wine, tax, tip).

Eventually we will look at doing a cost reduced version, but the focus right now is getting the full edition finished.


Nathan

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Amazon is listing NathanM's book at $625 for preorder. is this going to be the price now? this is definitely top of my list on books to buy, but i dont know if i can budget this much for it. given the extensive nature of the book i thought the number that was discussed in this thread of $300 or so was high but doable. $625 knocks it out of the range of most of the home market i would think.

NathanM i hope this is just the marker price that amazon have put in, but can you give us some feedback on what to expect?

thanks

The list price of the book will be $625, because the total project has grown to about 2300 pages in 5 volumes. The list price is not the same as the street price, because there usually is some discounting. My guess is that street price will be about $500, but that is just a guess - the discounted price depends on the retailers (Amazon and others) and it is not up to me.

Pre-orders on Amazon will get the benefit of the discounted price charged at the time of release. We are working for a release date in late 2010.

The book will be expensive, no doubt about it. People have an expectation that books should be cheap, and most cookbooks are very cheap. As a result, most cookbooks make lots of compromises to hit a price point. We made fewer compromises - for this many pages, with tons of color photos, and huge page size, and nice weight paper .... well, it is hard to make it really cheap.

So it a bit like dinner at a top restaurant - Per Se, or L'Arpege or similar restaurants have a top quality product, with a price to match. The book will cost less than dinner for two at Per Se (before wine, tax, tip).

Eventually we will look at doing a cost reduced version, but the focus right now is getting the full edition finished.

With five heavy volumes, the postage to Australia will add significantly to the price of the books.

Are you thinking of an e-book version?


Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four.
Unless there are three other people." Orson Welles
My eG Foodblog

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I'd buy it at $250 as an iBooks epub for sure. I might buy it at $500, but not sure I can afford it (it isn't an matter of value). Note I wouldn't buy it as a Kindle book, simply because the Kindle app on iPad (and the Kindle device I think) doesn't have text search, which would be very valuable in a book of this size, even with a good index.

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With five heavy volumes, the postage to Australia will add significantly to the price of the books.

Are you thinking of an e-book version?

We will try to get distribution in Australia so that the books go by boat, then are only shipped within the country by post. This is not arranged yet.

Eventually we will have e-book but right now getting it to exist at all is the challenge!


Nathan

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Also, e-book platforms are evolving quickly. Kindle does not allow pictures. iPad does but it only just came out, and the software platform issues are evolving quickly (i.e. controversy about use of Adobe Flash). So realistically it will take a while to get an e-book format.

Although I love the digital world, the best way to deliver this amount of content, with large high quality photos, is paper...


Edited by nathanm (log)

Nathan

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Nathan,

I am definitely in the market for the book, is there a website with previews anywhere

or is there going to be?

I've seen some video of your lair/kitchen what's the most exotic piece of equipment used?


“Do you not find that bacon, sausage, egg, chips, black pudding, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, fried bread and a cup of tea; is a meal in itself really?” Hovis Presley.

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Nathan,

I am definitely in the market for the book, is there a website with previews anywhere

or is there going to be?

I've seen some video of your lair/kitchen what's the most exotic piece of equipment used?

There is no website yet, but there will be one up by autumn. We have a lot of exotic equipment - freeze dryers, spray dryers, autoclaves....


Nathan

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I just discovered this thread, or otherwise I would have responded sooner.

The book is marching along, and we expect to ship it in late 2010. The size has grown to about 2300 pages in 5 volumes.

Consequently the price has increased also. The list price has been set at $625. The actual street price will depend on discounting and will evolve once the book comes on the market. If the discount is similar to other books in this price range then it likely will be available from somebody for about $500.

The name is "Modernist Cusiine, The Art and Science of Cooking".


Nathan

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I have pre-ordered "Modernist Cuisine" from amazon.com as its not on the amazon.co.uk site? I really hope that they deliver to Ireland. Would be a great Christmas present to myself!! What is the expected release date, or have details been finalized yet?


Edited by umami5 (log)

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Why use paper at all? You could earn as much or more for your intellectual property if you published it an an eBook, the price would be $325, and we could read it on the crapper without stopping the circulation in our knees.

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I will assume this is directed at me, and my book - apologies if it isn't.

eBooks are great for some things (I love my Kindle), but at this stage of development the best way to communicate a mixture of pictures and text is still a book. Kindle has no photos, and cookbookos that I have bought on Kindle are not very successful in terms of random access and reference.

iPad is obviously much better for display aspects, but iPad is brand new - we had to commit to our launch platform like a year ago and we decided then that a physical book was the best way to go. We plan in the future to address tablets (whether iPad or other) but doing this right takes a lot of work. Like probably a year's worth of work if we want to use the slick features, add some videos and animations etc., do some testing. It's basically like software development. I am sure that we will do this at some point, but not in the short term.

I think it would be unrealistic to think we could have a big impact with the audience of food lovers and chefs that we want to reach if we went eBook only. So we need both versions, and it is pretty easy to come to the conclusion that physical books are higher priority and should be done first.

Also, I will note that Amazon has discounted the book rather substantially to $421.87, which frankly is cheaper than I thought they would go. I don't know if that they will hold that indefinitely, or not.


Nathan

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Off topic but Amazon normally discounts 34% often even briefly hitting 40% before release. I don't know how they do it but I found other online places that consistently beat Amazons prices on books.

Frankly I doubt I will ever see this, maybe if I make it up to specialty stores like Kitchen Arts and Letters.

JK

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