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Jun. 30, 2011

The Art and Science of High-Tech Cuisine

by Katherine

Click to enlarge images
Former Microsoft CTO Nathan Myhrvold is a man of many passions: he studied cosmology with Stephen Hawking, discovered T. Rex fossils in Montana with Jack Horner, and has won awards for his wildlife and nature photography. After that, some people might call it a day and retire to a restful obscurity, but Myhrvold instead turned his focus to a new fascination: high-tech cooking.
 
Myhrvold, along with co-authors Chris Young and Maxime Bilet, has just released “the cookbook to end all cookbooks,” as David Chang called it: Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking. Before you run off to purchase it for your kitchen, a warning: it’s $625. (Though if you think about it on a per-page basis, perhaps the price is reasonable: the book is 2,438 pages long.)
 
Part of the reason the book is so expensive, and so long, is that it includes thousands of original photographs. The photographs, often shot at high speeds, turn food photography into an art form.
The team also used high-speed film to capture all sorts of food in slo-mo. This video, of jello dropping onto a flat surface, wouldn’t look out of place next to a Pollock.


We’ll be talking with Myhrvold on Science Friday this week about his wild recipes and the science of cooking. Tune in to hear how you can measure the speed of light with cheese in a microwave, or how to use liquid nitrogen to cook a hamburger. And since most of us will probably never own the book, take a peek at some of those beautiful images here.

 

About Katherine

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Science Friday.

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