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


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I ordered mine in December so I hope it includes mine too!

And Nathan, I just commented on the Modernist Cuisine blog, but would you be able to let us know which talks you are giving in London? As I would really love to attend!

We talking London, Ont or London across the pond?

London, England... I am hoping!

Darn - a drive to London, Ont is doable - the other a bit more of a challenge.

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From a couple of days ago, the Toronto Globe and Mail interviews Nathan. Here's a good bit:

What do you normally cook at home?

For the last three years, I’ve done very little cooking per se. I’ve done lots of experiments. On the other hand, our scrambled eggs recipe has changed my life. There are two aspects to the scrambled eggs. Throw one egg white away, so if you’re making a three-egg omelette or scrambled eggs, two whole eggs and one yolk. Oh my God, just that alone makes the texture so much better. The second idea is that we like to cook it at an exact temperature.

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I just did a search for the book on Google shopping and learned you can buy it at WalMart. Somebody tell Alice Waters.

Seriously though, my birthdays in a week if you guys all want to pitch in and buy it for me.

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Article today in the NY Times T magazine about the coffee chapter on the book.

Article here.

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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Article today in the NY Times T magazine about the coffee chapter on the book. Article here.

I think Mark Prince's comment may actually say more about the chapter than the article itself. Interesting perspective.

There's a link in the blog post to a review by Mark Prince on the Coffee Geek site. I like his discussion of the expected audience for the book, and why it's a good thing that coffee gets some love in MC.

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I suppose it is a testamony to the high regard that people have for the book that there is surprise that we didn't utterly reinvent coffee making. The goal of our coffee chapter is to document state-of-the-art coffee making techniques to an audience of chefs and food people.

There are one set of people who obsess over making the best possible food. There is another set that obsess over maknig the best possible coffee. I have been surprised to the degree that these are really two different and distinct sets of people.

Obviously not totally distinct, but the fact is that there are many restaurants that will go to extreme effort to have the absolute best ingredients, the best techniques, the most highly refined food. But then they treat coffee as an afterthought. I wanted to make them aware of the best techniques in coffee.

MC is primarily aimed at food people (there are 50 pages about coffee and 2388 pages about food topics), but I thought that having a great coffee chapter could make a real difference in how coffee is served by food people.

The true coffee cogniscenti don't need MC to tell them about great coffee - they already know.

This is the essence of the Mark Prince comment, and his review, so he clearly gets what we were trying to do.

He mentions a see-through portafilter. We thought about this, but the challenge there is that the pressure in a portafilter is about 9 bar (nine times normal atmospheric pressure or about 132 lbs per square inch. That is a lot of pressure to handle. There are ways to fake it, but we never considered that very seriously.

I also didn't want to cut my Synesso machine in half.

Edited by nathanm (log)

Nathan

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...

MC is primarily aimed at food people (there are 50 pages about coffee and 2388 pages about food topics), but I thought that having a great coffee chapter could make a real difference in how coffee is served by food people.

The true coffee cogniscenti don't need MC to tell them about great coffee - they already know.

This is the essence of the Mark Prince comment, and his review, so he clearly gets what we were trying to do.

...

Yes, it was clear that Mark Prince appreciates who the chapter was written for. Very insiteful review.

I also didn't want to cut my Synesso machine in half.

:laugh:

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I have been very fortunate to spend some time with the Modernist Cuisine team at their Bellevue kitchen. Some of the stories they've told me about the creation of the book were very suprising. I've compiled some of my favorite facts about the book's creation:

1.The working title of the book was How to Boil Distilled Water At Sea Level Using A Conductive Heat Source and a Wet Bulb Thermometer. It was later changed to Modernist Cuisine to conserve ink.

2.A month before the book went to print, the team decided to cut a 6th volume that described the physiology of the human body’s digestive process.

3.As lifelong fan of hidden clues and puzzle-solving, Nathan has placed a secret clue inside the printed pages of book 5. If you cut off the book in half vertically down the exact center and view each half from the side, the interior edge of the stacked pages reveals the recipe for Three-Course Dinner Chewing Gum.

4.The book originally included a recipe for Coca Cola, which the Modernist Cuisine team reverse-engineered using a mass spectrograph. However, efforts to recreate an edible aluminum can were problematic, and the recipe was ultimately discarded.

5.The iconic “cutaway” photos in the book were actually created using a prototype device that resembles a light saber. Intellectual Ventures has several working “light sabers” which it uses for testing defenses against (according to a research assistant) “pests significantly larger than a mosquito”.

6.During the book’s production, photographer Ryan Matthew Smith was asked to leave a Seattle restaurant after connecting a fiber optic strobe flash to his cell phone camera and tossing his meal in the air. Ultimately, the restaurant owner apologized and asked to purchase the photo.

7.One of the more famous recipes in the book is the Modernist Hamburger, which requires over 30 total hours and a bowl of liquid nitrogen to create. Unfortunately, the team decided to exclude their recipe for “2 AM Mini Hamburgers”, which was inspired during the teams extensive experiments with methods of smoking herbs.

8.The recipes in the book have clearly undergone rigorous testing. However, the extent of the tests is often greater than we realize. For example, one member of the culinary team spent four days measuring the number of licks it takes to get to the tootsie roll center of a Tootsie Pop. He concluded, applying the central limit theorem, that the number is three.

9.Although it is true that the genesis of the book was Nathan’s desire to understand sous vide cooking (and the corresponding thread on eGullet), it is not widely known that Nathan turned to sous vide because his microwave had broken and he needed a reliable way to reheat frozen taquitos.

10.If you were to sum the cooking time for all of the recipes (not including parametric variations) included in the books, the result would be 8 years, 2 months, 15 days and 9 hours. However, the book was completed in fewer than seven years, leading some to conclude that Nathan Myhrvold has secretly developed a time machine.

I hope these facts have given you an inside look at the creation of Modernist Cuisine. And, as always, happy April fool’s day.

SCOTT HEIMENDINGER
Co-Founder, CMO

Sansaire

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Anyone get any updates on their Amazon.ca order? I was listed as April 15th shipment this morning and I decided to see how much it would cost for overnight shipping. The second I changed my shipping method from free to overnight my shipment estimate changed from April 15 to Jul-Aug 2011. Ordered on Nov 22 2010.

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Glad I wasn't tempted to change my order from free shipping - I was tempted to try for faster shipping but didn't try thank goodness. I ordered Dec 9th, 2010 and so far, at least my ship date remains at April 14th. Don't want to jinx anything at this point. If changing your shipping method dumps you to the bottom of the list that isn't very good service.

Although if, according to Nathan, there were only 250 copies of the book on the slow train from Vancouver to wherever Amazon.ca ships from it could get dicey. It would be good to know how many copies were ordered from amazon.ca.

Llyn

Llyn Strelau

Calgary, Alberta

Canada

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Anyone get any updates on their Amazon.ca order? I was listed as April 15th shipment this morning and I decided to see how much it would cost for overnight shipping. The second I changed my shipping method from free to overnight my shipment estimate changed from April 15 to Jul-Aug 2011. Ordered on Nov 22 2010.

I remember someone further upthread having a similar experience, but then I think they got their book (from Amazon.com) near their original EDA.

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I remember someone further upthread having a similar experience, but then I think they got their book (from Amazon.com) near their original EDA.

Yeah, I think I remember reading that too. Lets hope so. I emailed amazon.ca asking if changing my shipping effects my place in line on the preorder and they replied with a somewhat generic response confirming the shipping date of Jul-Aug but didn't actually answer my question.

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Hopefully posts like these are allowed...?

For anyone who was on the fence at the current Amazon price, you can get it for 50% off at B&N in-store if you don't mind waiting an extra month or two...

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/email/nav.asp?r=1&PID=37767

Goto the service center and ask them to ship to your home (or work or some other address). Downside is, you have to pay upfront instead of waiting until shipment. Had a $20 giftcard so total came to $230 after california tax :) Expires at close of business this Sunday.

Edited by rykomatsu (log)
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Hopefully posts like these are allowed...?

For anyone who was on the fence at the current Amazon price, you can get it for 50% off at B&N in-store if you don't mind waiting an extra month or two...

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/email/nav.asp?r=1&PID=37767

Goto the service center and ask them to ship to your home (or work or some other address). Downside is, you have to pay upfront instead of waiting until shipment. Had a $20 giftcard so total came to $230 after california tax :) Expires at close of business this Sunday.

I saw the Barnes and Noble coupon - put the book in my basket (mostly to see when it was shipping) - but it said the coupon wasn't valid on preorders. Interesting that you were able to get the discount instore.

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I saw the Barnes and Noble coupon - put the book in my basket (mostly to see when it was shipping) - but it said the coupon wasn't valid on preorders. Interesting that you were able to get the discount instore.

Pre-order vs backorder I think. I just noticed it said pre-order on the website, however...

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Got totally sucked in.

Ordered it.

Maybe I'll get it by Christmas. It will give me time to figure out how to fully explain the price tag.

"You paid WHAT? For a COOKBOOK?"

"Well, you can't really call it just a cookbook......."

Can you eat that?

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A question that's been going around my mind for a few days. One of the main characteristics of modernist cuisine, from Adriá to Blumenthal, is the use of pastry techniques in the savory realm, and generally speaking, the blurring of well defined borders separating the world of desserts and the savory courses. I haven't received --YET!!!-- my copy, so I can't determine for myself how much this may have caused a negative impact on the perspective offered of modernist cuisine practitioners.

Also curious about whether the History chapter, specifically its section on "The modernist revolution", portraits this movement as genuinely European.

PS: Nathan, no PR events in Spain, the craddle of Modernist Cuisine? Shame on you! :-P

PedroEspinosa (aka pedro)

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