Microsoft CTO Turns Cooking Expert
Nathan Myhrvold, Microsoft’s
former first chief technology officer, is making headlines with his new venture,
a six-volume cookbook containing some 2,400 pages and weighing nearly 50 pounds. Modernist
Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking,
examines cuisine "through the lenses of science and innovation" according
to cnet.com. Eric Mack of CNET goes on to say the book "attempts
to fuse the worlds of the geek and the gastronome."
Mesure in The Independent claims Mr. Myhrvold left Microsoft "because
he felt working there impinged on his cooking time." Advised by "72
of the world’s best chefs" who contributed some of the 1,500 recipes,
plus a team working in what is described as a "multimillion-dollar Seattle
food lab," the book "investigates the physics — and maths — behind
a plethora of cooking techniques from making the ultimate cheeseburger to how
to make Neapolitan-style pizza without investing in a brick oven, offering
cooks inventive new ways of cooking old favorites."
Forewords have been
written by two celebrated proponents of molecular gastronomy, Heston Blumenthal
of The Fat Duck in England and Ferran Adria of El Bulli in Spain. Like their
methods, however, not all of those in the book are likely to be tackled by
home cooks. Amongst equipment used for recipe testing were homogenizers, centrifuges
and ingredients such as hydrocolloids and enzymes.
To illustrate, cnet.com’s Mr.
Mack quotes instructions for the ultimate cheeseburger: "We infuse smoke
flavor into the lettuce; we make a special cheese slice. When the cheese melts,
it doesn’t separate out and get greasy. We grind the meat in a particular way
so that we align all the grains of meat; we cook it in a very specific way
using liquid nitrogen …" Photos of
those microscopic meat fibers are included.
More down to earth advice includes
adding more oil if fried food is soggy and not wasting money on expensive pans
or organic food.
Defending the cover price of $625 (or $461.62 on discount on
Amazon.com), Mr. Myhrvold apparently observes that an equivalent weight of
other cookbooks would come in at an equivalent price.
- Ex-Microsoft CTO’s cookbook mixes science, food – cnet.com
- The £400 cookbook that blends technology with food – The
Discussion Questions: How will a scientific approach to cooking change the ways Americans prepare dishes? How influential are cookbooks and celebrity chefs when it comes to shopping and cooking at home?