Modernist Cuisine, A Cookbook For Kitchen Scientists

Sous vide, the technique of using vacuum-sealed plastic bags to cook food  at precisely controlled temperatures (to maintain the integrity of ingredients) is relatively new to most kitchen dabblers.  It’s especially unheard of in my household where cooking involves either pouring oil in the pan or lighting up charcoal in the grill.   So far, there have been little documented work in its processes.  That’s about to change with an upcoming book called Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking.

Yes, it’s a cookbook.  More than that, however, it’s a technological manual, detailing the application of scientific processes for creating sublime-tasting meals.  Created by former Microsoft CTO Nathan Myhrvold, Chris Young and Maxime Bilet, the lavish guide details how pioneering chefs have applied science and technology to advance modern culinary arts.

Modernist Cuisine is a six-volume book, totaling a hefty 2,200 pages.  It claims to be the “most comprehensive guide” to cooking sous vide, detailing every information a novice can ask for, from cooking strategies to options for water baths to the best choices in packaging materials.

Extensive coverage of unique cooking methods (e.g. how to use modern thickeners and gels) and unusual ingredients  (e.g. hydrocolloids and enzymes) are also included, along with hundreds of recipes (130 pages on meat and seafood, 130 pages on fruits and vegetables and 200 pages of plated restaurant dishes ).  They also offer insights on the science behind common cooking methods (e.g. stir-frying and smoking), just so you’ll know exactly what you’re doing the next time you’re making a ruckus in the kitchen.  It’s heavily illustrated, with plenty of pictures too, so you can just imagine yourself whipping up a gourmet dish, in case you’re too lazy to do anything except dial pizza delivery.

If you’ve ever avoided cooking because it’s such a mindless task, Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking might be the book to change your mind.  Amazon has it on pre-order for around $421, with a December release date.
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