Think you’ve tried every new twist on Thanksgiving turkey? How about a boneless turkey wing, cured in salt and sugar, cooked for 12 hours sous vide (in an airtight bag in heated water), dusted in corn starch, pan fried, and finished with diced cranberry and picked sage? That’s the approach Nathan Myhrvold *83 and his colleagues take in Modernist Cuisine, a six-volume, 2,400-page cookbook with a scientific bent that’s due out in March 2011.
Myhrvold, better known as the former chief technology officer of Microsoft and founder of Intellectual Ventures, has a passion for food and a Ph.D. in applied mathematics from Princeton. His “cooking lab” in Bellevue, Wash., contains hundreds of gadgets, from centrifuges to hydraulic presses, and according to Business Week’s Karl Taro Greenfeld, it’s “pushing food science to an extreme only an eccentric billionaire could achieve,” exploring the chemistry, biology, and physics of how we prepare food.
Other than the page-count, the most commonly cited statistic for Modernist Cuisine is its price – $625 – which has been fodder for bloggers. Myhrvold admits that an in-depth study of gastronomy is not for everyone, but he is providing a taste of what’s inside, sharing recipes and findings on the Modernist Cuisine blog. Recent posts include a step-by-step look at the team’s production of watermelon chips and an explanation of why popcorn pops that was accompanied by the video below, shot with a camera that captures 6,200 frames per second.
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