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"Modernist Cuisine" by Myhrvold, Young & Bilet (Part 2)


nathanm
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I'm glad to read that I won't need to run out to get an ultrasonic bath anytime soon, I'm not particularly fond of tater tots to begin with. Phew, saved a bundle there!

(though I'm sure that this book will cost me dearly over the years....)

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

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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For example, the index is currently contained in only one volume.

Really? That would very much disappoint me. There's no index in the other books? A good index makes a good book IMO, if I have to pull out a book I'm not even reading right now to look something up, I'd be a bit miffed. Doesn't sound practical. At the very least I'd expect the full index in each book, better even an index where items form other books are color coded and only items in the book I currently hold are in black.

I know it's available online (but do others know this?) and I guess I'll print one and stick it in between the books then, but at that price I'd really expect it to be in every volume. Seems an odd decision.

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

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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For example, the index is currently contained in only one volume.

Really? That would very much disappoint me. There's no index in the other books?

Really. The index is in volume five: it's long. I would guess that its size is the reason it's not in all the volumes. They probably figured that there is so much cross-referencing already that one more thing that requires another volume was no big deal.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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My wife is the most beautiful woman in the world. That's what I say if people ask. She never looks fat in her jeans. But I'm not judging her for Next Top Model.

There's an izakaya here in Portland where the food really exceeds the bar. In fact, the food exceeds most of the Japanese food in town. The owner has gotten cranky on occasion that her place has been listed in cheap eats guides (despite the food being very reasonably priced) and even in top restaurant guides. The reason, she insists, is because it's a bar. It has a bar atmosphere. It's small, a little divey, no kids are allowed, the music is Japanese punk, there's nudity and gore on the TV on occasion, and there's no sushi. (What? I know! A Japanese restaurant without sushi? That's like a Thai restaurant without pad thai. Must not be authentic.)

I think the owner of this izakaya has realized what Dr. M hasn't: that it's often less important that a review is "good" or "bad" than it allows people to know if they'll like the thing being reviewed or not. I think the NYT review clearly did that. I can't imagine any food geek like myself being turned off by that review. It was like: fuck yeah, about time, gimme that head-splitting shit!

My dad will not be purchasing. Nor should he. And neither should the average home cook, the aspiring Rachel Rays, or the men who verse their food, or 90% of professional cooks out there. It's a very definite niche. Dr. M should get over his being worried that someone thought he looked fat in his favorite jeans, and recognize that sometimes the things that seem mean are good for him in the long run.

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I think the review is very self-serving. The author is almost self-justifying his criticism by constantly referring to the fact that he has ONCE visited the establishments of each chef, and further crediting this claim to criticism by exactly stating what he was served, again repeating the ingredients of the dishes frequently. It is almost as if he is using the entire second half on the review/article to settle some form of personal feud regarding a who-said-what. Talking about airing your dirty laundry in public.

I am getting quite sick of people's intent focus upon the extreme cases of modernist cuisine implenting expensive machinery. Yes, those are far and beyond the reach of the home cook. But this book wouldn't be concise without their inclusion. As said previously, this book is like an encyclopedia, and what kind of a reference would it be if it only included those recipes which could be made in a family kitchen?

Personally I salute the extreme lengths the authors and team have gone to to share as much information regarding the science of cooking as possible.

I am in sincere and severe anticipation of the arrival of this book upon my doorstep. I am a final year undergraduate, and honestly cannot wait until the end of my exams whereby I can bury my head deep into this book, and learn as much and far more than I had ever hoped to have learnt about the nature of cooking.

Nathan, congratulations. It may not be 100% of the cooking world's cup of tea, but what you have done is incredible, it is beyond worthy of praise. Regardless of any negative reviews, you cannot hope to please an entire population, but had these reviewers read the entire 5 volumes, I am sure their opinions would change. Well done.

I seriously cannot wait for what else you decide to publish in the future. :)

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As a chef, I wish there were more books that were far beyond the reaches of the home cook. We get precious few, and the media seems to hate on this collection for being advanced. Well good, don't buy it.

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Found a copy elsewhere, since it looked like I was going to be pushed into the second printing.

Still have a week or two to wait for shipping, but that's better than the months I was set to wait.

Why do you assume that you will be pushed to the second printing? I thought that Amazon was still shipping from the first 500 that were air-shipped and the rest of the first printing will be arriving by ship very soon. Am I missing anything?

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

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

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Michael Ruhlman was interviewed about Modernist Cuisine on a local NPR show today. He clarifies his statements in the NY Times a bit. It seems to me that he has immense respect for MC. I'm sure some here will find something to quibble with. :laugh:

Link to a podcast of today's show:

"All chefs will need to have this"

The Ruhlman segment starts at about 21 minutes in.

This link worked better for me. The one edsel linked would not open.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

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

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Found a copy elsewhere, since it looked like I was going to be pushed into the second printing.

Why do you assume that you will be pushed to the second printing?

Just a guess based on pessimism, mostly, and my order time months after most of those discussing their delay notices before me in the forum. Then I happened upon a listing of a copy elsewhere, and needed to justify the extra cost to myself.

Edited by Wholemeal Crank (log)
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NY1 has some coverage of the event at JG including some video of the dishes. Unfortunately you need to sit through 30 seconds of the Zagat's bloviating mid way through.

NY1 Video

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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The secondary market has started. There are 5 copies on ebay at $770 a piece. I think the secondary market for this work is going to be very interesting to watch.

Not sure I would characterize this as a 'secondary market'. This is just some idiot in the UK who doesn't have the books yet and thinks he can charge $150 more than Amazon.uk with the same delivery date.

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I agree that this is not a serious secondary market, but I am guessing one will develop. I am fairly certain that the first print run of 5,000 copies will lead to an actual collectibles market (as in rare book market) in the first edition first printing. We shall see. :wink:

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I am deeply impressed with the design of MC, especially in tables, graphs, illustrations and recipes. They have done a great job in laying out complex information in a very clean, understandable way. Much of the design reminds me of Edward Tufte's approach in Visual Display of Quantitative Information, with an emphasis on having a high "data-ink" ratio in graphics. The table-style recipes in particular represent a new benchmark for clarity and compactness -- I hope to see more cookbooks use this approach. Congratulations to Mark Clemens and the rest of the design team!

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NY1 has some coverage of the event at JG including some video of the dishes. Unfortunately you need to sit through 30 seconds of the Zagat's bloviating mid way through.

NY1 Video

Thanks for the link and double-thanks for giving me my newest go-to word.. I bloviate, you bloviate, we bloviate, they bloviate..

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Those in the San Francisco area lacking the volume might want to give the folks at Omnivore Books on Food a call at 415.282.4712 for this little shindig.

Monday April 18 6-7 p.m.

Nathan Myhrvold • Modernist Cuisine

$500

Yes, you read correctly, $500. Obviously, this includes the awesome (literally) 6-volume set of Myhrvold's magnus opus. In Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking, Nathan Myhrvold, Chris Young, and Maxime Bilet—scientists, inven­tors, and accom plished cooks in their own right—have cre ated a six-volume 2,400-page set that reveals science-inspired tech niques for prepar ing food that ranges from the oth er worldly to the sub lime. The authors—and their 20-person team at The Cooking Lab—have achieved astound ing new fla vors and tex tures by using tools such as water baths, homog e niz ers, cen trifuges, and ingredients such as hydro col loids, emul si fiers, and enzymes. It is a work des tined to rein vent cooking. If you haven't heard of Modernist Cuisine, Newsweek Magazine's article last month will tell you all about it. Call to reserve a seat: 415-282-4712.

Just to reiterate: this item, currently at $461 but out of stock on Amazon, is available for $500 -- and I'm pretty sure someone will have a pen that Nathan can use to sign your book.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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