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


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...our own ketchup recipe. We used mushrooms as the base ... you might think that mushroom ketchup is something new...

It's a peripheral point (in what does sound like a good hamburger!) but I had to chuckle. So much have things changed in a few decades that someone might indeed think mushroom ketchup was "new," unconscious of any irony. :smile: Apropos recent discussion in the EatYourBooks thread, if someone thought that, it'd imply they haven't read many cookbooks from before recent years. (I'm sure NathanM knows that traditionally, ketchups in the US were made in several flavors.) Even fairly late in 20th century I encountered recipes calling for mushroom ketchup. The Hesses in their late-20th-c. critique The Taste of America (with something of a Michael Pollan role, at a time when far fewer people wrote about these issues) took the dominance and insidious sweetening of tomato ketchup as symbolic of mass mediocrity in 20th-century US cooking. From that book (not from online), emphasis added:

"... the great majority of ketchups that characterized early American cooking was gradually replaced by the ubiquitous tomato ketchup. [Eliza] Leslie, in 1837, published recipes for eight kinds: anchovy (two), lobster, oyster, walnut, mushroom, lemon -- and tomato. (Be it noted again, there was no sugar in any of them.) Anyone familiar with Chinese cooking will recognize the original source of ketchups, but they came to us from England. (The Oxford English Dictionary says the word apparently derives from the Amoy Chinese kétsiap, meaning brine of pickled fish. The Malay k­echap [bar over the e], often given as the source, may be from the Chinese as well.) Until about 1850, when an American recipe called for ketchup, it most likely meant mushroom, walnut, or oyster. These interesting condiments did continue for some decades, because [Leslie’s classic 19th-c. US cookbooks] continued to be best sellers."

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On YouTube there's a video called "Cooking in Silico: Heat Transfer in the Modern Kitchen" which features Nathan Myhrvold and Chris Young showcasing some images and ideas from the book, their recipe for the ultimate duck breast, among several other things. (I haven't noticed a link to this either in this thread or on the Modernist Cuisine website, but it is well worth viewing.)

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On YouTube there's a video called "Cooking in Silico: Heat Transfer in the Modern Kitchen" which features Nathan Myhrvold and Chris Young showcasing some images and ideas from the book, their recipe for the ultimate duck breast, among several other things. (I haven't noticed a link to this either in this thread or on the Modernist Cuisine website, but it is well worth viewing.)

Now watching this video was absolutely the right way to start my day. Thanks so much for sharing.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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In that burger above, it seems like most of it is possible with normal home equipment (e.g. a FoodSaver and a Sous Vide Supreme, or something along those line). I assume the compressed tomato requires a chamber machine though, right? I'm really curious about the grinding technique, too: does it need special toys, or can it be done with normal consumer-level stuff?

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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After watching that awesome video, I pre-ordered the book. I only wish I could have ordered it for my iPad so I can take it with me on the train when I commute!

Everything looks so fascinating to me, from the photography, to the subject matter, to the recipes.

Mike

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The burger certainly is feasible for any home kitchen. You need a meat grinder to grind the meat of course, but there is nothing exotic in the equipment. You don't even need sous vide for the burger if you are OK cooking it in a pan.

Sous vide tends to make burgers a bit too dense. You can cook them in a bag that is unsealed, or with low vacuum.

Nathan

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What an amazing video. I am in a constant battle not to buy more cookbooks & and modern kitchen gadgets. (a battle i just lost when i purchased a polyscience sous vide professional).

Looks like its time to start saving up for the book....

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People who ordered already have locked in a very low price. Ordering now will get you the benefit of the $500 price, and perhaps lower if it dips down.

The book is also available from Barnes and Noble, also at $500 price point.

I don't pretend to understand the dynamic pricing algorithms that Amazon, B&N and others use, so I don't know if the price is going to stay at $500, or go up or down...

Nathan

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I often pre-order with them, these fluctuations happen all the time. In a week or 2 it will be back at 400 something.

The 34% off is their standard discount that they apply pretty regular among cook books. If you search online, there are smaller stores that even beat that.

What is also happening often after the actual launch, they decrease prices further, sometimes temporary, sometimes for longer periods.

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The burger certainly is feasible for any home kitchen. You need a meat grinder to grind the meat of course, but there is nothing exotic in the equipment. You don't even need sous vide for the burger if you are OK cooking it in a pan.

Sous vide tends to make burgers a bit too dense. You can cook them in a bag that is unsealed, or with low vacuum.

But you would need a chamber vacuum in order to compress the tomato, correct?

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Darn it. It has to drop down to below $500. I'm kicking myself for not adding it to my cart earlier. A 20% off discount is not typical with Amazon. 30 - 35 is more usual.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

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

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Expensive books have different discount structure, so assuming that Amazon will discount it by 30% is a bad assumption. I was actually surprised that it went as low as it did. It is unclear whether the low price will come back.

Nathan

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