Thursday, February 13, 2014

Book Review #23

Modernist Cuisine at Home todo
Nathan Myhrvold et al

If you have ever seen the book Modernist Cuisine in the book store, then you know that the package isn't shaped like a book, but more like a big block of wood. And just as heavy. If the $450 purchase price does not scare you, you will find that it is the best, most comprehensive cooking book anywhere in the world. However, the problem is that the equipment list is so long, that most people would have no use for it. This version of the book (for at Home), I bought at 50% off during a new year sale.

And it is wonderful. The equipment list is also long, and the fact is, there are recipes in there that I will never ever cook. But that's not the aim of the book. The purpose of the book is to understand how the food cooks, and that's why there are illustrations on how the food cooking process happen inside the pot. By the way, these illustrations aren't handdrawn. They're photos. That's right. You can actually see how the food cooks inside the pot because they cut the pot in half! That's no mean feat when they're illustrating on cooking sous vide!

A lot of the cooking process can be summarized as cook low and slow. This holds true, especially for sous vide (under vacuum). However, the result is worth it. Unfortunately, precision is essential, so be prepared to invest in more hardware that is used only in cooking. It's not until after reading this book, that I'm persuaded to buy kitchen timer and thermometer, for example. Also, some of the hardware is industrial looking. Do you know they use a special sprayer for omellete? Sigh.

Anyway, the title may be "for home", and in most part, that's true. However, it's still too much for me. Is the book worth the purchase price? Production quality is top-notch, easily the best I've seen. Considering that I got it for 50% off, the answer is "Absolutely!". If you have to pay full price, then I can understand your reluctance. The best thing you can do is read it. Even if you're not a cooking afficiando, this book may just turn you into one. It did for me. :)

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