We are going off script here today with something a little different. While this might be considered a book review, I look at it as a tribute to modern printing and publishing. This is what can happen when money, imagination and curiosity collide. With a release date of March 7th, Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking might be the most highly anticipated book of this millennium.
Modernist Cuisine is a six-volume, 47-pound epic collection (list price $625) that could easily pass for a graduate level science text, dispelling many of the myths that exist in the food world. Its release has been delayed for months because the one of a kind Plexiglas case that houses the volumes was cracking and breaking under the astonishing weight. The ink used to print the text and pictures weighs in at over 4 pounds; that’s more than the average book weighs, paper and all.
“Every one of the traditional publishers balked at the scope of this project,” says Dr. Nathan Myhrvold, the multi-millionaire author and inventor, “which is why I had to found my own publishing company to get it done.” Fortunately, he was the former Chief Technology Officer of Microsoft and the current CEO of Intellectual Ventures, a 5 billion dollar patent portfolio development company. Myhrvold had the resources to bankroll his own publishing company, which he named The Cooking Lab.
A comprehensive, well-researched book is one thing, but what's the appeal for the everyday home cook? Simply, this is the most useful cookbook you'll probably never cook from. Oddly enough, that does not make the books inaccessible. There might not be a recipe you will make in every chapter, but there is something to inspire and learn from on every single page.
With its sizeable price tag, the book may not be for most, but Myhrvold insists there is something for everyone. “Chefs will certainly be interested," he said. "The book contains a lot of techniques that it would be really difficult to learn any other way. You would have to work at a dozen different restaurants around the world." It's also appealing to those with an "intellectual curiosity," claims Myhrvold. "People who love books say this is really an extraordinary object."
This release is going to be a turning point as to how people think about food and technology. If Myhrvold would have added a chapter or two about football, that would cover just about everything that interests me. I’ve already started printing excerpts I’ve found online, but I’ve used up my black inkjet cartridge. I’m not going to find all 2,438 pages online, nor would I want that many loose pages in my kitchen, so I’m going to have to stop soon. The good thing is that I know that I can save up to 86% by buying remanufactured inks from Clickinks.com. So now you know what to get me for my birthday, it’s in June if you were wondering. It’s your pick, inkjet cartridges from Clickinks or Modernist Cuisine, I’ll take either one.