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


Renn
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Wow. All I can say is... wow. I can hardly read one recipe or entry without rushing off to the index to cross-reference to something else.

Nathan, these books are jaw dropping. I'm so grateful to be fortunate enough to have a set. I can tell already that Modernist Cuisine is going to impact my cooking forever. Holding my infant daughter (who is significantly smaller than the book!), I realized that not just my life, but hers as well, will change because of today's 47lb. Amazon delivery.

Thank you.

Edited by RDaneel (log)
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My copy just arrived. The packaging is insane, and "big" just doesn't do the set justice....

I love the pictures showing the slow unwrapping... it's like Christmas morning. I can't wait till mine arrives on Monday.

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Coming out of lurking mode just to say how amazing this book is and to personally say "thanks" to Nathan and Co for putting this together.

You would think there would be filler in a 2400 page book, but no -- just about everything is valuable and/or entertaining its its own right. Its a joy to read. Incredibly vast and expansive in scope yet somehow equally concise. I found myself picking up a volume, hoping to get right into the recipes and techniques, but got derailed from the beginning delving into the "History" section for an hour. History of the plated dish - who knew? Same with the other volumes - I've never thought 15 pages breaking down grilling vs broiling would be so entertaining and informative. And when I finally got to recipes, the parametric format captures so much useful information on just a page or two.

I can really appreciate/see the thought, care and effort taken to first track down such a vast amount of information and then distill it down into such a concise user friendly format. Forget cookbooks - I don't think I have ever seen a book on anything take so much information from so many disparate sources and then present it so clearly and effectively. I have a hard time seeing this book distributed as a pdf and agree that a digital version would have to be pretty close to state-of-the-art in presentation to match the effectiveness of the printed version. I also have to say its worth the price - what you might expect to get out of spending your whole $600 budget on a single "book".

So I am really grateful that someone took the effort to do this, especially someone with the talent and drive to do it so well.

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I came here to post one grainy picture of the packaging that I took with my phone. Now that I see there are proper pictures here, I can sign off for the weekend and start reading!

If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe. - Carl Sagan

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I must say, the electronic review copy, gorgeous as it was, really did not do this stunning photography justice. While of course the authors deserve incredible credit for their work, let me take this opportunity to applaud Ryan Matthew Smith's and Nathan's superb photography, and the team's decision to print the book using the advanced printing process. I wonder if we'll find any art collectors buying the book on the basis of its stunning visuals and never even looking at the text!

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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I'm back. I opened the kitchen manual to a random page and I already love this book. The recipe is for Sauerkraut. What I appreciate is knowing that you store it until the pH is below 4.0. And that you add a 1% brine if the cabbage doesn't get submerged in its juices by the third day.

My undergrad is engineering. My job is building business applications. This book was written for geeks like me. And you.

If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe. - Carl Sagan

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These books are so much more than I dreamed they would be and I've only looked at a few pages.

We grow oysters. There are instructions for Beet Juice-Fed Oysters.

We catch fish. There are instructions for killing fish with the Ike Jime method.

There are no compromises in these books. To say I am in awe would not do justice to how I feel.

If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe. - Carl Sagan

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I just checked amazon and my order went from March 8 to April 15! Killing me

John Deragon

foodblog 1 / 2

--

I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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Since i am killing time waiting for delivery of my book :sad: I have taken to reading reviews of the book. I came across an interview with Alton Brown who had this to say

Our 20-minute-limit phone call was going by quickly, but I asked Alton about the six-volume, 2,438-page Modernist Cuisine book by wealthy entrepreneur Nathan Myhrvold, which will be ready for your home library on March 14 at a cost of about $600.

“I can’t afford it. I haven’t read it,” he says. “It uses tools you can’t get, the practical applications are nil. … It’s the difference between what a billionaire would cook and a thousandaire—what I am—cooks.” (There’s that sense of humor again.) But he adds that he appreciates anything that furthers the knowledge of food.

Over at Baltimore magazine

While I have enjoyed Alton's view on cooking in the past, I find this blanket statement about a book he hasn't read yet to be very dissapointing and wrong. While I have only seen bits and piece of the book, I know that while some parts of the book are out of the reach of people to recreate at home,, the science and practices in the book are applicable to everyone.

While he did have the saving line at the end that he appreciates anything the furthers the knowledge of food, there is definitely a contradiction with the previous sentences.

John Deragon

foodblog 1 / 2

--

I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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Since i am killing time waiting for delivery of my book :sad: I have taken to reading reviews of the book. I came across an interview with Alton Brown who had this to say

Our 20-minute-limit phone call was going by quickly, but I asked Alton about the six-volume, 2,438-page Modernist Cuisine book by wealthy entrepreneur Nathan Myhrvold, which will be ready for your home library on March 14 at a cost of about $600.

“I can’t afford it. I haven’t read it,” he says. “It uses tools you can’t get, the practical applications are nil. … It’s the difference between what a billionaire would cook and a thousandaire—what I am—cooks.” (There’s that sense of humor again.) But he adds that he appreciates anything that furthers the knowledge of food.

Over at Baltimore magazine

While I have enjoyed Alton's view on cooking in the past, I find this blanket statement about a book he hasn't read yet to be very dissapointing and wrong. While I have only seen bits and piece of the book, I know that while some parts of the book are out of the reach of people to recreate at home,, the science and practices in the book are applicable to everyone.

While he did have the saving line at the end that he appreciates anything the furthers the knowledge of food, there is definitely a contradiction with the previous sentences.

I think there is a broad misconception about Modernist Cuisine in much of the media right now. I'm sure his opinion will change once he speaks to people who actually know something about the book or sees it for himself. His comments are pretty disappointing though and I have always been a big fan of his.

rg

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Wait - he has two planes but can't afford the book? Please.

Not really relevant. I own many things that cost more than the book but I can't really sneak the book into the budget right now either. I could force it into the budget but I don't generally do my purchasing that way. Of course, I'm not tossing around negative comments about something I haven't seen either. He should know better than that.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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I think part of the problem is simply the name of the book itself: "Modernist cuisine" certainly gave me the impression that it would be all about spherification and other techniques of molecular gastronomy that take food farther away from what it was when it grew from the ground or was walking/swimming/flying as part of an animal. While that might be fun to eat, it is not something I'm going to do in my kitchen, at least not regularly, and so I ignored the threads and reports about the book for a long time. I'm not likely to be asked about the book in an interview, but if I were, a month ago I would have been equally dismissive (and equally wrong).

Then I actually read the Q&A thread, and realized that there was going to be a lot more than that in the book, lots of things perfectly applicable to my cooking and everybody's cooking, and immediately ordered a copy.

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Wait - he has two planes but can't afford the book? Please.

Not really relevant. I own many things that cost more than the book but I can't really sneak the book into the budget right now either. I could force it into the budget but I don't generally do my purchasing that way. Of course, I'm not tossing around negative comments about something I haven't seen either. He should know better than that.

I think if you own two airplanes it's a bit disingenous to suggest that you couldn't afford a $475 book. I appreciate that the book is expensive.

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lol, maybe true. Nevertheless, dismissing the book sight unseen was crazy, and I'll bet you that Brown gets himself a copy of this book within the next few months regardless. It's really an obvious purchase for someone interested in seeking the truth behind all the food myths out there: volume one should be required reading for anyone with a serious interest in food and cooking.

ETA: My wife and I were discussing what sort of libraries would be acquiring this tome, and my bet is that Universities with food science programs are going to be your best bet. I think it's unlikely that any but the most well-funded public libraries will have a copy anytime soon, unfortunately.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Since i am killing time waiting for delivery of my book :sad: I have taken to reading reviews of the book. I came across an interview with Alton Brown who had this to say

Our 20-minute-limit phone call was going by quickly, but I asked Alton about the six-volume, 2,438-page Modernist Cuisine book by wealthy entrepreneur Nathan Myhrvold, which will be ready for your home library on March 14 at a cost of about $600.

“I can’t afford it. I haven’t read it,” he says. “It uses tools you can’t get, the practical applications are nil. … It’s the difference between what a billionaire would cook and a thousandaire—what I am—cooks.” (There’s that sense of humor again.) But he adds that he appreciates anything that furthers the knowledge of food.

Over at Baltimore magazine

While I have enjoyed Alton's view on cooking in the past, I find this blanket statement about a book he hasn't read yet to be very dissapointing and wrong. While I have only seen bits and piece of the book, I know that while some parts of the book are out of the reach of people to recreate at home,, the science and practices in the book are applicable to everyone.

While he did have the saving line at the end that he appreciates anything the furthers the knowledge of food, there is definitely a contradiction with the previous sentences.

I think there is a broad misconception about Modernist Cuisine in much of the media right now. I'm sure his opinion will change once he speaks to people who actually know something about the book or sees it for himself. His comments are pretty disappointing though and I have always been a big fan of his.

rg

I love Alton and his shows as well. I learned a lot from him and still do. His comments about the book which he had not seen are pretty stupid though. I think what he was trying to do is go for the "funny" comment in a spontaneous interview. Unfortunately he, in person, is not that funny. He is a bit awkward actually and has a much more of a shy persona. Very nice guy, but he is no Bourdain in person. He should know better in any case, just like Alice waters should've.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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Perchance Mr. Brown's stardom has become such that publishers, promoters and publicists offer him gratis books and equipment so that he doesn't have to part with his dear dollars himself? Maybe he was even trying to indicate that he should be sent a complimentary copy. The statements of Mr. Brown do not seem to be what I would hope from someone who is a chef and author trying to sell books. Should not the diplomat in Alton Brown have said there is a market for everything and those who choose to buy Modernist Cuisine hopefully will enjoy their copies and those who buy his books should enjoy their purchases. I cannot imagine someone foregoing one of Mr. Brown's books because they were saving for Nathan's, so I would presume he is not being deprived of customers. Then again, Mr. Brown may fear losing his doyen status, the perks, the quotations in interviews and the invitations to host multiple programs on his network if someone else surpasses him.

Edited by JBailey (log)

"A cloud o' dust! Could be most anything. Even a whirling dervish.

That, gentlemen, is the whirlingest dervish of them all." - The Professionals by Richard Brooks

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Is it possible that Mr. Brown is concerned that what he sells as the "science" of cooking is about to be blown out of the water or at least relegated to the back burner of cooking wisdom?

Regarding the price of Modernist Cuisine, list price for I'm Only Here For the Food was $32.50 US. That's for 287 pages with cute drawings, some of which are in 2 colors. But he does have a recipe for Homemade Microwave popcorn. Beat that, Modernist Cuisine!

[Edit] Added a space

Edited by LoftyNotions (log)

Larry Lofthouse

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Is it possible that Mr. Brown is concerned that what he sells as the "science" of cooking is about to be blown out of the water or at least relegated to the back burner of cooking wisdom?

Regarding the price of Modernist Cuisine, list price for I'm Only Here For the Food was $32.50 US. That's for 287 pages with cute drawings, some of which are in 2 colors. But he does have a recipe for Homemade Microwave popcorn. Beat that, Modernist Cuisine!

I believe you may have hit the nail on the head.

Pooh-poohing another's scientific research without even investigating the research involved seems rather self-serving. It's not something, ahem, Alton Brown should/would approve of.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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I'd guess a lot of people got interested in the science of food through Alton Brown's TV show, and though it's easy to dismiss it as "basic" or "elementary" remember that to make a TV show you need a broader audience than "fifty guys who talk about the temperature specific proteins denature at".

It's disappointing to hear he's not a fan of this book, I'm betting a lot of Alton fans are looking forward to Mr. Myhrvold's tome.

Edited by jorach (log)
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