Inspecting Modernist Cuisine, Preventing Recipe Theft, Sympathizing for the Guy

Categories: Talking Points
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1. The critics take on Modernist Cuisine. As SFoodie mentioned yesterday, Nathan Myhrvold's 2,438-page Modernist Cuisine is now out, and most of the big papers are running reviews today. Legendary cookbook author Michael Ruhlman, writing in the New York Times, and Washington Post contributor Andreas Vierstad both agree: The book's impressive, destined to be influential, and ridiculous to cook from in a home kitchen. [Incidentally, Myhrvold posted a critique of Ruhlman's critique on eGullet.]

The usefulness of the box set won't stop a legion of gastronauts from spending $450+ dollars in order to impress their friends ― sort of puts that rush to find a copy of Ad Hoc at Home to shame, doesn't it? It's really aimed at the pros, and Thomas Keller and Corey Lee have been among the many chefs and food writers flown up to Seattle for preview dinners. (Myhrvold, a former Microsoft CFO, does not lack for millions, and this vanity project hardly drains his bank account.) Cooking-school libraries around the country will be required to purchase it. Of course I want to have a look at it. But, you know, I'm in no rush. It's not like I have an ultrasonic cleaning bath to cavitate ingredients in.

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2. Inside baseball.The Bay Area's own Dianne Jacob, fairy godmother to an entire generation of food bloggers, posts a great Q&A with Food52 founder Amanda Hesser on a question that continually arises when tweaking and rewriting recipes: When are you making a recipe your own, and when are you stealing? Hesser's answer: The writer's voice, not the list of ingredients, makes all the difference.

3. Don't worry, Guy Fieri. I'm sure you'll get your Lamborghini back. Why, when my Honda was stolen for the second time, the police returned it with a consolation present for the jacked ignition: a cookie sheet I still use, an infant nasal-suction tool, and this Christmas sweatshirt, which a friend bravely modeled.

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