d o c t o r a n d m a m a

Linda Shiue

Linda Shiue
San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA
December 31
I am a physician and spend my free time with my husband and kids, reading everything in sight, eating, traveling, and cooking meals inspired by my travels. These days I'm spending more time at my food blog, spiceboxtravels.com. Please visit me there and follow me on Twitter @spiceboxtravels. Disclaimer: Health information presented here is not intended nor recommended as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your own physician or other qualified health care professional regarding any medical questions or conditions. © 2010-12 Linda Shiue. All Rights Reserved.

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MARCH 10, 2011 8:35AM

The Encyclopedia of Molecular Gastronomy:“Modernist Cuisine"

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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


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And don't forget OS's own molecular gastronomist, Paul Hinrichs!
Thank you, Linda - although I think of myself as more of a postmodern molecular gastronomist - hehehe. That book looks so interesting, but it's so expensive! Even truffles are cheaper. I hope there is a "digest" version available someday....
Paul- It is a hefty price tag. I hope to see it at a bookstore or library one day. Unlike you, I am not even into this style of cooking, but find it conceptually and visually fascinating.
So far, I have found agar filtration to be very useful and spherification somewhat useful. Both are fairly easy and can make for great presentations. A lot of the stuff is just fun to think about, thought experiments, you don't have to actually make them.
I'm waiting for my library to get a copy of this, personally! Can't wait to take a look...its a nerd cook's dream come true