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ShaneH

"Modernist Cuisine" by Myhrvold, Young & Bilet (Part 3)

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My copy has finally arrived, in Singapore no less! The shipping from my US PO Box cost a good 200 dollars but who cares, it's hereeee!

It was delivered to my office and I was debating whether to open it during lunch. I finally gave in and after struggling with tearing away at the packaging (in heels, kneeling down), I finally got it out. I have no idea how I'm going to bring it home, it is truly heavy. I'm probably taking two books back at a time.

The layout, formatting, feel of the paper alone -- sure, I haven't read the contents but my goodness, just how beautifully it is compiled makes me weep.

ps..I've just skimmed through the first volume, doesn't look daunting at all, hopefully I get to read this in sequence. Best. Lunch. Hour. EVER!

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And now dispatch notice and tracking number recieved and it is definately the 15th BUT I'm at work tomorrow and the book is heading to my home address so neighbours under instructions so fingers crossed it's v early or they ring the flat next door.

Feel like a kid in a toy store.


Edited by ermintrude (log)

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Well, I finally caught up with DHL today. Pictured below is my copy of Modernist Cuisine, at least according to Amazon.ca. I haven't even bothered to open it, because I already know what's inside. Yes, they charged me full price, and yes, this is the only shipment listed as part of my "closed" order. Question for others who received $400 kitchen manuals -- has Amazon.ca managed to find the missing portions of our orders yet? Trying to understand my options here.

modernistfail.jpg

Yikes! If you're curious to see what the ACTUAL unboxing looks like, I've posted a video. It took me over 5 minutes, admittedly, at an indulgent pace :-)

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"sustainable food" is a neat idea and really good if you can afford it, but IMO it's a pipe dream that this will eventually replace industrial food production. It's simply not possible! The way the population of this planet is exploding, and countries are moving into "modern age" (going from one phone in the village to a cellphone in each hand) and people wanting the same living standard what we just take for granted, it's simply impossible to have food for all these people that grows on that little farm down the road.

That aside, I'm sure there's plenty information in the books that can be used by the locavores out there, I really don't understand the silly hostility by some of these people. What are they afraid of? Alice Waters etc need to come off their freshly picked next door green throne, not everybody can afford to eat at her restaurant either, certainly not on a daily basis.

I'm lucky in that we don't have to use coupons and turn over every penny twice, but many many people don't have that luxury. I shop at the farmers market because I can afford it, but it's a good 2-3x as expensive as shopping at the cheaper supermarket chains, where most people have to shop. Is it silly that strawberries from somewhere in Mexico cost a third of those grown an hour from here? It's just the way it is, and there's really no realistic way to change these things back - just as we cant replace "made in China" with "made in USA" anymore.

Maybe this would be a good topic to discuss elsewhere, but this ignorant and arrogant stance of "I have no interest in this what so ever" is just stupid. They talk as if these books are meant to be the next Joy of Cooking for the masses, which they clearly are not, nor are intended to be.

Alice Water's comment that "it's not a kind of way of eating that we need to really live on this planet together." just makes me laugh out loud. So, modernist cooking is not, but $60-95 per person dinners are? Oh please, get a grip. That's just plain silly. Nobody "needs" Chez Panisse either.

Why people can't just say "not for me, looks nice, but thanks" instead of getting into this hostile attack mode I really don't understand at all.

Personally I actually see these books as art books with interesting information about food, I most likely would have bought them even if the only thing I could cook is water, just for the photography alone.

Anyway, just my 2ct, but ignorant comments like this just make me loose a lot of respect for those that utter them. :wacko:

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Note that Philpott's argument is that the "sustainable food movement" should embrace Modernist Cuisine because MC encourages the idea that food can be art, and not merely sustenance. Of course, this presumes that some kind of monolithic "sustainable food movement" really exists, and that it embraces food as art: the reality is far different, with different sects of the movement promoting different values (as in any human endeavor). I strongly suspect that not everyone in the sustainable food movement embraces the notion that food can be art.

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that takes us into the "what is art" discussion, which has been going on since the first cavemen took a piece of charcoal to the walls of his cave :laugh:

Sustainable Food is a neat idea, unpractical in a global sense, but that doesn't mean that parts of the ideas can, should, and are being implemented in mass production of food.

And if you google Chez Panisse and click over to the images, you'll find lots of pretty pictures of the food they serve there, if they don't think food is (or can be) art, why the artful display on the plate then? :cool:

Alice Waters is a pioneer, and a very important person in American food culture, but her flippant dismissal of an other area of food preparation is just stupid IMO. I'm sure there's all kinds of technology in her kitchen that you don't find in most home kitchens.

Oh, and her Alaskan Wild King Salmon ain't from next door either. Nor can most of us afford to shop every week at the small regional farms that supply her (thus making this kind of "sustainable food" a very tiny niche of the food industry, one that would not exist w/o expensive restaurants, as it would not be sustainable to run such a farm)

To me, any good tasting food is art, be it a great hot dog or some outlandish creation at Alinea. As soon as the cook/chef put more thought than simple assembly into it, it's art, as it contains creativity that goes beyond what would be the basic necessity of cooking the items.

But then, some adore the Mona Lisa, and I'd store it somewhere in the garage :biggrin:

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Had 3 worried days when UPS tracking would not update - my books were scheduled to arrive on the 11th and there was no info when I tried tracking. After speaking to a UPS rep (with no help) I was resigned to calling Amazon.ca this morning and screaming at them to find out where my books were but lo and behold UPS smartened up and my favourite courier brought them this morning to my office. As someone else said, I don't know how I will get them home (didn't bring the car today) so might have to do it piecemeal too.

Fantastic books - only skimmed so far but even after everyone's comments and description over the past month nothing quite prepares one for the actual scale and amazing production values.

Thank you Nathan!

How was Fat Duck by the way?

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Seattle Food Geek, great video. We did about the same moves two days ago...yup, 5 minutes or so. But, again, wow. What a collection. I had two friends visiting from a far yesterday and all we did all day was sit around the dinning room table reading the books and saying to each other "oh, I didn't know that" or "look at this!". Truly amazing. Even my husband was reading it and he only cooks macaroni with baked beans topped by a couple of fried eggs as his "gotodish" when I'm not around to cook.

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Hi everyone,

I just spoke to a high up manager at Barnes and Noble (who is personally handling all the Modernist Cuisine orders). He informed me that to date, they have not received a single copy of Modernist Cuisine at any of there warehouses. This seems very strange to me since the first printing was supposed to be prorated for the different retailers. Unfortunately, this means that even though I placed my order many months ago, I will likely have to wait till at least July for my copy :(.

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For those that can't wait for (or afford) the books, there's a little publicity article accompanied by a couple recipes in the May 11 Food&Wine magazine, page 93ff

The recipes center around using a pressure cooker (funny, I just looked at one at the hardware store today!) and are:

Pressure Cooker Pork Carnitas

Caramelized Carrot Soup

Braised Pine Nuts with Butternut Squash

Something to get you started or for the curious, to show you some of the "normal" recipes in the books.

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Hi everyone,

I just spoke to a high up manager at Barnes and Noble (who is personally handling all the Modernist Cuisine orders). He informed me that to date, they have not received a single copy of Modernist Cuisine at any of there warehouses. This seems very strange to me since the first printing was supposed to be prorated for the different retailers. Unfortunately, this means that even though I placed my order many months ago, I will likely have to wait till at least July for my copy :(.

This is just flat out wrong. B&N has recieved many copies. I don't know about their internal systems, but they have recieved many of them.

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I have to admit. Opening my box o books felt like Christmas. Thanks Nathan for the gift. Even though I paid for them, the gift was in the risk you took to achieve the vision.

My Poly Science science water circulator, and chamber vac arrived the same day as MC. All were ordered months apart too. Can't wait to experiment.

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Hi Nathan,

Thanks for the information. I had the feeling I was getting the run around from Barnes and Noble. I'm not sure what's going on over there or why they are withholding information. Do you know if additional copies are still reaching shipment centers/warehouses throughout the US, or are we done until the second printing arrives around July?

I'm a graduate student in Cornell's Department of Food Science and I was sincerely hoping to use this book as the basis of a research project and a lesson for some of our undergraduate students. Having placed my order in mid February, I was hoping to receive a copy before the summer.

Thanks again for any information you might be able to provide.

Best regards,

Charlie

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Anyone who ordered the book from Barnes and Noble but hasn't received it yet will want to check out my new blog post on that situation. We don't understand why B&N has been sporadically cancelling orders and some B&N reps have been giving out misleading info to customers, but apparently they have. One eGullet member reported that B&N claimed not to have received any copies of MC yet, which is simply false.

This situation frustrates us as much as it does the customers, I assure you. We've been told by the powers that be at B&N that they are reaching out to every customer who has ordered the book (starting with those whose orders were erroneously cancelled) to fix this.

If you ordered from B&N and received an order cancellation notice, and don't hear from them next week about reinstating the order, please email your order confirmation slip to info@modernistcuisine.com, and we'll do what we need to to make this right.

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Wayt,

Thanks so much to you and everyone else at the Modernist Cuisine Team. I really appreciate all the effort you folks are making to figure this out.

All my best,

Charlie

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Reading this thread, all I can say is: Best customer service ever!!!

I received my books about a week ago and I must confess that barely I barely scratched the surface. That being said, I am already very very very impressed. I have the feeling that Nathan was able to build an amazing team; this kind of work requires so much more than good workers... it takes a lot of dedication, teamwork, expertise and intelligence.

Nathan, if you read this, please pass the praises to your team and know how grateful I am (we are) that you have decided to share the product of those years of work with all of us.

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Got it today. Worked from home to wait for the UPS guy and he did not show up till 7:30 PM. I immediately reached for the Animals and Plants volume (V3).

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What is the rough ETA for the printable full index (as noted up-thread), is it weeks or months (I hope for the former but fully understand if it is the latter).

Looking forward to getting my copy next Tuesday (Mar 10th US Amazon order for those that are keeping track)...

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What is the rough ETA for the printable full index (as noted up-thread), is it weeks or months (I hope for the former but fully understand if it is the latter).

Looking forward to getting my copy next Tuesday (Mar 10th US Amazon order for those that are keeping track)...

Check back - I believe it is now fully printable.

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      I can say that not only does the Panasonic KY-MK3500 “work” with copper and aluminum pans, but that it works very well with them. Thermally, thick gauge conductive material pans perform in close emulation of the same pans on gas, even though there are no combustion gasses flowing up and around the pan. I found this startling.
       
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      I initially thought I could handicap such a race simply by using the temperature setting and comparing the times required to achieve a “preheat” in a pans of cold water. Alas, no—the Panasonic’s IR function signified the copper pan was preheated to 350F before the water even reached 70F! Obviously, the entire thermal system of cold food in a cold pan needs to come to equilibrium before the Panasonic’s temperature readout becomes meaningful.

      A. Temperature Settings
       
      Unfortunately, with every pan I tried, the temperature settings were wildly inaccurate for measuring the temperature of the food. I heated 2 liters of peanut oil in a variety of pots, disk-base, enameled cast iron enameled steel, and copper. I thought it might be useful to see how close to 350F and 375F the settings were for deep frying. The oil in a Le Creuset 5.5Q Dutch oven set to 350F never made it past 285F, and it took 40:00 to get there. I kept bumping up the setting until I found that the setting for 420F will hold the oil at 346F. A disk-based pot didn’t hit 365F until the temperature setting was boosted to 400F. The only pan which came remotely close to being true to the settings was a 2mm silvered copper oven, which heated its oil to 327F when the Panasonic was set for 350F, and 380F when set for 410F.
       
      The temperature function was a lot closer to true when simply preheating an empty pan. With a setting of 350F, all the shiny stainless pans heated to just a few degrees higher (about 353-357F) and held there. This is useful for judging the Leidenfrost Point (which is the heat at which you can oil your SS and have it cook relatively nonstick) and potentially for “seasoning” carbon steel, SS and aluminum, but not much else, since it doesn’t translate to actual food temperature. There’s also the issue of the temperature settings *starting* at 285F, so holding a lower temperature for, e.g., tempering chocolate or a sous vide bath, or even a simmer would be by-guess-by-golly just like any other hob—your only resort is lots of experience with lower *power* settings.
       
      With heat-tarnished copper, a 350F setting resulted in a wide swinging between 353F and 365F, which I attribute to the copper shedding heat far faster than the other constructions, once the circuit stops the power at temperature. Then, when the circuit cycles the power back on, the copper is so responsive that it quickly overshoots the setting. Aluminum, on the other hand, *undershot*, the 350F setting, registering a cycle of 332-340F.

      I conclude that the IR sensor is set for some particular emissivity, probably for that of stainless steel. If true, the Panasonic, even though it automatically switches frequencies, does not compensate for the different emissivities of copper and aluminum. And even if Panasonic added dedicated aluminum and copper IR sensors, there is enough difference between dirty and polished that the added cost would be wasted. Bottom line here: the temperature setting mode is of extremely low utility, and should not be trusted.
       
      B. Power Mode – Pan Material Comparisons
       
      Given the differences in power setting granularity and maximum power between the two frequencies, it is difficult to assess what X watts into the pot means in, say, a copper-versus-clad or –disk showdown. What is clear, however, is that Setting X under disk and clad seems “hotter” than the same setting under copper and aluminum.

      I will need to precisely calibrate the Panasonic for wattage anyway for the hyperconductivity project, so I will obtain a higher-powered watt meter to determine the wattage of every power setting for both frequencies. Until then, however, the only way I can fairly handicap a race is to apply a reduction figure to the ferromagnetic setting (2400W being 69% of 3500W). Given that we know the wattage at the maximum settings, we can infer that Setting 14 (actually 13.8) on the 20-step ferromagnetic range iis approximately the same heat output as the maximum setting (18) for copper/aluminum.

      The boil times for 4 liters of 50F water in 10” diameter pots shocked me. The 10” x 3mm tinned copper pot’s water reached 211F in 36:41. Not an especially fast time at 2400 watts. The 10” disk-based pressure cooker bottom? Well, it didn’t make it—it took an hour to get to 208F and then hung there. So that left me wondering if the Panasonic engineers simply decided that 2400 watts was enough for copper and aluminum. I have a theory why the copper pot boiled and the SS one didn’t under the same power, but getting into that’s for another time.

      C. Evenness Comparisons
       
      The wires which generate the induction field are wound in a circular pattern; when energized, they create a torus-shaped magnetic field. The wound coil is constructed with an empty hole at its center. As matters of physics, the magnetic field’s intensity drops off extremely fast as a function of the distance from the coil; a few millimeters above the Ceran, the field is so weak no meaningful heat will be generated. This means that most induction cooktops heat *only* the very bottom of pans, and in a distinct 2-dimensional “doughnut” shape.

      All of the above can result in a pan having a cooler central spot, a hotter ring directly over the coil, and a cooler periphery outside the coil. It is left to the cookware to try to even out these thermal discontinuities when cooking. Some materials and pan constructions are better at this than others: the successful constructions utilize more highly-conductive metals such as aluminum and copper, but unless the material is very thick, there can be a ring-shaped hotspot that can scorch food.
      Until the Panasonic arrived to market, hotspot comparisons between ferromagnetic and aluminum/copper pans depended largely on comparing induction’s flat, more discrete heat ring with gas’s more diffuse, 3-dimensional one. Dodgeball-style debate ensued, with few clear conclusions. But now, for the first time, equally-powered flat heat rings in two different frequencies allow us to directly compare evenness in ferromagnetic and aluminum/copper cookware.

      The simplest and easiest way to assess cookware evenness is the “scorchprint”, which does not require infrared or other advanced thermal imaging equipment. I’ve posted on how to conduct scorchprinting elsewhere, but basically a pan is evenly dusted with flour; heat is applied to the pan bottom. As the flour is toasted, any hotspots visually emerge, giving the viewer a useful general idea of evenness.
       
      I will later post the photos of scorchprints I made of 4 different pans run using the Panasonic KY-MK3500: (1) a Demeyere 28cm Proline 5* clad frypan; (2) a Fissler Original Profi disk-base 28cm frypan; a 6mm aluminum omelet pan; and (4) a 32cm x 3.2mm Dehillerin sauté. To make it a fair race, I heated all the pans at 2400W until they reached 450F, and then backed off the power setting to maintain 450F. I did this in order not to compromise my saute’s tin lining. As you will see, both the clad Demeyere and the disk-based Fissler did print the typical brown doughnut, with a cooler center and periphery. By far the most even was the thick, all-aluminum pan, which actually was even over its entirety—even including the walls. The copper sauté was also quite even, although its larger size and mass really dissipated heat; once 450F was dialed in, no more browning happened, even after 30 minutes.
       
      I conclude that the straightgauge pans were far more effective at shunting heat to their peripheries and walls (and also to some extent into the air) than the clad and disk-based pans. The latter accumulated their heat with most of it staying in the center of the pans. Eventually, even the “doughnut hole” blended into the scorch ring because the walls were not bleeding sufficient heat away from the floor. This was especially pronounced in the Fissler, the high wall and rim areas of which never exceeded 125F. The aluminum pan, in contrast varied less than 30F everywhere on the pan.

      D. Other Considerations

      The Panasonic’s fan noise at the cook’s position was noticeable at 63 dBA, higher than with the VMP’s 57 dBA. These levels are characterized as “normal conversation” and “quiet street”, respectively. Interestingly, I found two other, potentially more important differences. First, the Panasonic’s fan stays on, even after the unit is powered off, whereas the VMP’s fan shuts off immediately when the hob is turned off. Second, the Panasonic’s fan steps down from the louder speed to a much quieter (47 dBA, characterized as “quiet home”) level until the Ceran is cool to sustained touch, at which point it shuts off completely. I think the Panasonic’s ability to continue to vent and cool itself is a great feature, especially since a cook could leave a large, full, hot pan on the glass.

      The glowing circle is useless for gauging heat setting or intensity. And while it works to indicate a hot surface, it remains lit long after you can hold your hand in place dead center.
       
      VI. Summary and Lessons
       
      The Panasonic KY-MK3500 is a solid unit, well-conceived and rugged. It is extremely easy to use. It works well with both the common 24kHz frequency used with ferromagnetic cookware, and the 90kHz frequency chosen here for copper and aluminum. It effectively and automatically switches between the two.

      In my opinion, it points the way to expanding the worldwide induction appliance market to include dual frequencies. It also obviates the need to: (a) junk otherwise excellent cookware merely to have induction; and (b) retrofit designs to bond on ferromagnetic outer layers. In fact, in my opinion, my tests indicate that, in a dual-frequency world, adding ferromagnetic bottoms may well be a drag on pans’ performance.
       
      I also consider the Panasonic Met-All to be ground-breaking in what it can tell us about *pans*, because all metallic pans are now commensurable on induction. Clearly (to me anyway), watt-for-watt, the copper and aluminum pans performed better than did the clad and disk-based pans on this unit. Boil times were faster, there was less propensity to scorch, and the conductive-sidewall pans definitely added more heat to the pans’ contents. We may ultimately find that 90kHz fields save energy compared to 24kHz fields, much as copper and aluminum require less heat on gas and electric coil.
      In terms of heat transfer, the copper and aluminum pans came close to emulating the same pans on gas. And at 2400W/3500W it has the power of a full size appliance in a relatively small tabletop package.
       
      The Panasonic is far from perfect, however. It can’t really be considered portable. There are far too few temperature settings, and what few it has are not accurate or consistent in terms of judging pan contents and attaining the same temperature in different pans (and even the same pan unless clean). The luminous ring could easily have been made a useful indicator of intensity, but wasn’t. And it lacks things that should be obvious, including a through-the-glass “button” contact thermocouple, more power granularity, an analog-style control knob, and capacity to accept an external thermocouple probe for PID control.
       
      Most importantly for me, the Panasonic KY-MK3500 portends more good things to come. Retail price remains $1,700-$2,400, but I jumped on it at $611, and I’ve seen it elsewhere for as low as $1,200.
       
      The manual can be found here: ftp://ftp.panasonic.com/commercialfoo...
       
      Photo Credit:  Panasonic Corporation

    • By artiesel
      THE BOOKS ARE SOLD
       
       
      I have Volumes 1 ,2 and 4 of Jean-Pierre Wybauw's Great Chocolate books are for sale.
       
      The books are in great shape!  There is some tape on the corner of the front of volume 1 that I used to keep it together after a drop.  Volume 1 is also autographed by the author (See pics below).
       
      I'm asking $150 for the lot OBO.
       
      Let me know if interested or if you have questions
       
       
       



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