The New York Times’ Michael Ruhlman reviewed the just released Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking, the 6 volume encyclopedia of molecular gastronomy self-published by Nathan Myhrvold. It was a labor of love costing somewhere between a reported $1 to $10 million and taking 5 years to assemble.
I hope to get a look at it, though I doubt I would be able to replicate any of the 1500 recipes involving the laboratory style cooking techniques and industrial tools.
Michael Ruhlman describes Modernist Cuisine as a manifesto of the revolution that is the molecular gastronomy movement:
Ultimately, it is a manifesto declaring that the new form of laboratory-inspired cooking — led by Grant Achatz in the United States; Heston Blumenthal in England; and Ferran Adrià, the father of this cuisine, in Spain — is a cultural and artistic movement every bit as definitive as Impressionism in 19th-century France or Bauhaus in early 20th-century Germany. It proclaims a revolution “in techniques, aesthetics and intellectual underpinnings of gastronomy.”
You don’t have to be a kitchen wizard to appreciate the fantastical and beautiful photographs of food featured in the book set, shown below and excerpted in this excellent slide show in The New York TImes.
There are beets and carrots that look like they belong in Alice in Wonderland; cross-sectioned tomatoes that look like skeletal x-rays, an orange peel snowing pectin dust, and a lobster that looks like it's steaming another lobster. A true feast for the eyes and fodder for the imagination.
images source: modernistcuisine.com press kit