Some of you culinary fanatics may already know about Modernist Cuisine, the amazing six-volume set of books from Nathan Myhrvold and the Cooking Lab that came out in 2011. And some of you may recall my (archivist/blogger Kira here!) enthusiastic post last year when we finally acquired the set. On Wednesday, as I was writing the post on finding materials in Special Collections, Modernist Cuisine at Home appeared on my desk. And I was like a kid in a proverbial candy store all over again!
Modernist Cuisine at Home is a two-volume set that’s a little more practical for the home cook. It contains lots of new content. From the website, “[t]he authors have collected in this 456-page volume all the essential information that any cook needs to stock a modern kitchen, to master Modernist techniques, and to make hundreds of stunning recipes.” (You can see more photos on the book’s website here.)
Yes, this is a cookbook. Yes, it is a modern cookbook that forces us to think about food in creative and , if you ask me, exciting new ways. But it is also a book that turns food and cooking into a home art. The time and effort that the Cooking Lab put into photographing and capturing kitchen processes will force any home cook to pause. Because, let’s face it, haven’t you wondered what your microwave, blender, pressure cooker, or siphon might look like if you sliced the back of it off and exposed its inner workings? (Or is that just me?)
Oh, and for those of you who are worried about keeping a book this nice in the kitchen, the creators have thought of that, too. Volume two of this set is a waterproof kitchen manual with complete instructions for all the recipes. So feel free to make a mess. I know I will.
If you’re interested and can manage to pry Modernist Cuisine at Home from my hands, I encourage you to come by and see it, as well as the 2011 set. There will certainly be something to surprise you…