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"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)

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

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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.


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 :-)

Co-Founder, CMO


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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:

"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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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.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations

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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:

"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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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?

Llyn Strelau

Calgary, Alberta


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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.

"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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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,


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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.

Wayt Gibbs

Editor in chief, Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking and Modernist Cuisine at Home

The Cooking Lab, LLC

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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).

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

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

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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.

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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