Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Renn

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

Recommended Posts

We don't have any idea what Brown's motives are, but if all he knows about the book is what he's seen in the mainstream media, he's got a good basis for thinking the book is just about "culinary wizardry" and isn't that important. You can't read a single review of the book without the author contemplating "all the recipes that require a centrifuge" etc. But the fact is, the book simply treats all of these various cooking methods as relative equals in terms of the depth of coverage. Yes, it covers centrifuges. And sauté pans. And woks. And rotor-stator homogenizers. And broilers. It doesn't omit centrifuges just because they are expensive, or woks just because they are cheap. It is the most comprehensive, scientifically-grounded look at cooking that anyone has ever published. OK, many of the recipes highlight the newer tools and ingredients, but the recipes are only a fraction of the book, and in most cases reasonable substitutes abound and are discussed in the chapters.


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So let me see if I got this straight. Alton Brown for reasons NONE of us know, has decided not to join the EG lovefest for this book. And because he has not he gets totally ripped here by the accolades of modernist cuisine. Of all the fucking nerve of the guy. Just who does he think he is?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lancastermike, he's getting ripped because he's criticizing a book he hasn't read. Further, almost everyone here has admitted some admiration for Alton Brown, so the "ripping" is mild at that. If Alton wants to critique it after he reviews a copy than that's certainly fair enough.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First off I didn't want to hijack this thread with that Alton Brown post. Secondly, Lancaster mike I did so to point out the fact that he is panning a book that he hasn't read and apparently has little desire to learn what it is about other than it is expensive and contians recipes and information which lay peope can't use. As I mentioned, I found this disappointing because he has always been one who was big in the sharing of the science of cooking and I liked him for that.


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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ehhh. AB's not a book reviewer. He's not obligated to read the book to have an opinion on it based on what he's heard.

That's what has gone on on this thread for most of us. What % of us have a copy? I don't. Yet I have an opinion about MC, as does everyone else on this thread.

Cut Alton a break. He's allowed to disagree.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is anyone else stuck with me? I ordered the middle of August on Amazon.com. It sounds like people who ordered just before me (4 days) were getting emails saying they've shipped (and books already arriving), and those who ordered a bit after saying it's been delayed.

Even now mine says it's due on March 9th (2 day prime shipping). But, I feel like if they did have one to ship they would of already shipped mine with the others. Not knowing is driving me crazy!


Edited by Phaz (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was a bit disappointed that Alton passed judgment without having seen the book at all, but he's certainly entitled to his opinion. Having seen Mr. Brown talk at a recent book tour event, I'm not surprised on his comments. When I suggested that he do a sous vide episode, his response was that it was "too dangerous" a technique to include in the show. I'm all for food safety, and as an attorney (understand that Food Network has to be careful) but it was still disappointing. My overall impression from hearing him talk about cooking in general and Good Eats in particular is that, for all the science he includes in the show, Alton isn't a fan of modernist cooking. Ok, no problem. To each their own. I've learned a lot from Alton, and will learn even more from MC (I'm ogling Volume 2 right now).

Having had more of a chance to review my set of MC, I'm even more struck by how approachable the book is. I don't normally "read" cookbooks, but this book has a wonderful narrative as well as great recipes. The print quality is living up to the promises. The color photos on pages with pitch-black backgrounds are especially amazing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So let me see if I got this straight. Alton Brown for reasons NONE of us know, has decided not to join the EG lovefest for this book. And because he has not he gets totally ripped here by the accolades of modernist cuisine. Of all the fucking nerve of the guy. Just who does he think he is?

He thinks he's a know-it-all who missed the bus on this one.

It's OK to not join the lovefest, but what he HAS done, for his legion of fans, is to say that the book basically isn't worth their time or money.

I was a bit disappointed that Alton passed judgment without having seen the book at all, but he's certainly entitled to his opinion.

He's absolutely entitled to his opinion. Of course, his opinion on this books sounds like the opinion of someone reviewing a restaurant without ever having eaten there.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I too was disappointed and surprised by his remarks. Good Eats is what sparked my initial interest in cooking, particularly because of science aspect of it. I also feel though that the new Alton Brown who puts out a lot less Good Eats a year and focuses mostly on hosting Iron Chef-related shows isn't the same as the geek that taught me all those techniques and dishes years ago :sad:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So let me see if I got this straight. Alton Brown for reasons NONE of us know, has decided not to join the EG lovefest for this book. And because he has not he gets totally ripped here by the accolades of modernist cuisine. Of all the fucking nerve of the guy. Just who does he think he is?

Here is commentary on this book from today's Washington Post. The review is clearly a positive one with some reservations. I hope it can be read without being ripped by the true believers.

Andreas Viestad review

Not sure if I'm a true believer or an accolade (sic, do you mean acolyte?) but having had access to a review copy (yes, actually seeing it and cooking from it) all I can say is it is one of the most informative and well presented books I have ever seen. The information covers the scientific and historical basis of cooking and provides a solid foundation for anyone doing any form of cooking, not just modernist.

If a populist chooses to deride the book sight unseen I really think he's fair game for those who have seen it or even to those who do not accept baseless opinions because an "authority" makes them.

Reading through this whole thread, it seems that most of the acolytes or true believers are concentrated amongst those who think because the book has to be bad because it has the word "modernist" in the title and/or is more expensive than what they are used to. As is the case for Alton Brown, I haven't seen evidence any of them having read the book.

With the high level of expectation around this book it would be likely, and understandable, that people who paid a large amount of money for the book would get stuck into the authors if it didn't live up to the hype. Has anyone done so yet ... anyone who has read the books? < ... queue cricket noise ...>


Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Alton Brown has been living at the Food Network too long. He is truly one of my favorites, that being said the bar has fallen mightly at the home of Sandra Lee, Guy Fieri, Any contestant or even winner of The Next Food Network Star, Racheal Ray..........remember when they used to make fun of Emeril. He would be a god in the current line up. Anyone who brings science and enlightenment to the culinary arts is to be respected. Harold Magee, Shirley Corriher (a frequent guest on Good Eats) and especially now Nathanm and his crew are to be respected. Any serious culinarian should always be curious as to the why of cooking. Applying scientific rigor to cooking can only be a good thing. You can argue a lot of things about this book but the scholarship is undeniable.


Even Samantha Brown would have hard time summoning a "wow" for this. Anthony Bourdain

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've got it and I must admit I was disappointed I was was expecting to see more unusual combinations such as "caviar and white chocolate" which is in there.

I was expecting a bit more e.g. "WHY does X work with Y" but it's more a book that says "X work with Y" and a lot in there is already common knowledge "Apple and cinnamon" as such it is useful, but more to probably a serious chef, but still interesting. As a home cook I can see me using it rarely, but would consult if I had a "what would go with that" issue.

If you can get it for around £10 ok but not worth paying more for.


Edited by ermintrude (log)

Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll depart this topic with good wishes to those lucky enough to be able to buy this book. I hope you enjoy it and it helps you make some good tasting stuff. For those who would like to buy it but can't, my regrets. I would hope that those like Mr. Brown and Ms. Waters who may not be exited about it can still be held in regard for their body of work in the culinary world.

Using a centrifuge and liquid nitrogen or some burning wood and a 85 year old pot all that matters is that good tasting food that people enjoy be the result


Edited by lancastermike (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

he's certainly entitled to his opinion.

He's absolutely entitled to his opinion.

I've spent almost a decade putting up quite a few posts in our forums and being taught by all of you, time and again, that "I'm entitled to my opinion" is only an applicable statement in the context of an opinion that meets the minimum criteria for reasonableness. Alton Brown's comments regarding Modernist Cuisine are so completely indefensible and nonsensical that I'm comfortable saying that, in this instance, he does not have an opinion deserving of any deference just by virtue of it being his opinion. In addition, as a public figure, he has to meet a higher standard than a random person. He's making statements that will be published by mass media, and he himself has a platform that reaches quite a few people. In that situation, when you're asked about something and you don't know anything about it, you should just say no comment. I expect that, at some point, Alton Brown will have an encounter with either the Modernist Cuisine book or with Nathan Myhrvold, at which point he will get his opinion straightened out.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd just like to add that the quote attributed to me above, which makes it appear as if I agree with AB on this subject, was cut off. My entire statement was actually...

He's absolutely entitled to his opinion. Of course, his opinion on this books sounds like the opinion of someone reviewing a restaurant without ever having eaten there
.

So I agree with Fat Guy. Who evidently agrees with me.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Wah! The same thing just happened to me. I ordered August 15 and the expected delivery was March 9....until the morning of March 8:

"We're writing about the order you placed on August 15 2010 (Order# xxx). Unfortunately, the release date for the item(s) listed below has changed, and we need to provide you with a new delivery estimate based on the new release date:

Nathan Myhrvold, et al "Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking"

Estimated arrival date: April 18 2011

We apologize for the inconvenience caused by this delay."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm going waaayy out on a limb here, but I suspect returns.

My guess is that a chain of errors in the Amazon.ca warehouse occurred. If you've ever seen one of those "How do they do it?"-type shows, the warehouse is pretty neat. Robots bring items to the packers, they drop them into boxes as the computer instructs, and off they go. But I can imagine a scenario where when the robot shows up with a big box, and the packer is expecting a book, they just dive into the box and grab a book off the top of what they presume to be a stack of identical books. Later on, when the shipping weight gets checked and flagged, someone overrides the computer because hey, how could one book weigh 50 pounds?! Innocent mistake, but wow, big oops!

[Moderator note: This topic continues here, "Modernist Cuisine" by Myhrvold, Young & Bilet (Part 2)]


Edited by Mjx Moderator note added. (log)

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

  • Similar Content

    • By Bollo
      I need a book on the application of rotavapor machine. I've searched something on web but i can't find something strictly professional for the kitchen please help me. To improve the research. 
    • By Darienne
      This is not encouraging for American consumers.  On the other hand, it's not surprising either.  From my current Consumer Reports e-download.   https://www.consumerreports.org/food-labels/seals-and-claims?EXTKEY=EE993PMAC&utm_source=acxiom&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20190926_cromc_engagewkly
       
      I'd like to know what the current labeling standards are in Canada.  Next research project.  After dealing with the bumper crop of apples...
       
    • By Okanagancook
      I was reminded the other day of the egg-in-plastic-wrap-poach method.
       
    • By Smokeydoke
      After a delightful brunch at Koslow's Sqirl restaurant in Los Angeles, I've decided to attempt to cook through her cookbook. I'll post my results here.
       
      Please follow along and join in, if you're so inclined. Her food is wonderful, but I will surmise that her true deliciousness comes from using the best and freshest ingredients. I'll do my best to recreate the magic I felt at Sqirl.
       
      Here's the link to her book at Eat Your Books.
    • By MSRadell
      GE is entering the SV field in an innovative way. They are doing a crowdfunding approach through one of their Innovation technology centers. The device itself is also innovative in that it uses a Inductive cooktop for the heating element with a wireless temperature sensor. It's also unique in that it does not include any type of water circulation.
       
      Here's a link to the crowdfunding site: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/paragon-induction-cooktop/
       
      What does everybody think about this entry into the field? If nothing else it certainly shows that SV has gotten the attention of major appliance makers. A few weeks ago GE also announced that one of their new lines of stoves will have the same type of temperature control as this device uses so you can do SV on your stovetop.
       
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...