Cookbooks are a big part of my life. I’m usually juggling a few at a time. I get into one, read some of it, digest a few bites. Then I sit, think about it, and go on to the next. The books give me so many things; stimulus, reference, technique, history, art, culture, and last but certainly not least, joy. Each one has something different to offer and I value what the author is sharing with me.
I can remember the first cookbook that had a major impact on my life. I was in 7th grade and there was this fantastic book about french cuisine. It had vivid pictures that were eye-opening to me and are still tattooed into my memory. Pictures of consomme, brunoise vegetables, whole lobster, and all of the different tools that made all of that magic happen. I have always been a visual person and when this book caught my eye and I couldn’t put it down. Food has always been a part of my life, and it was awesome to see a totally different view of it.
We as a society are in a really great place for cookbooks right now and cooking in general. There is such a great information exchange on so many levels. You can read books, blogs, and online articles from around the world anytime that you want to. Everything you need to know is only a few clicks away. Sometimes you have to wait for shipping but in this modern society pretty much everything is accessible.
In the last couple of months so many really good books about cooking have been published, and there are many more exciting releases coming up in the near future. Ideas in food, Noma, Keys to Good Cooking, and Forgotten Skills of Cooking, just to name a few of them that I enjoyed.
Last year when I found out that Nathan Myhrvold former Chief Technology Officer Microsoft was a writing a cookbook the size of an Encyclopedic Britannica that was filled with high quality photography and information researched by a team of 15 great minds from a warehouse sized food laboratory, I was super stoked. The book’s title was Modernist Cuisine and it took its authors three years to write. The price tag of this “Andre the Giant” sized text is $625.00. The book contains five volumes, plus a waterproof kitchen manual and its own plexiglass case. It took four pounds of ink to print the book. It was a task that no publisher would tackle so Nathan had it printed using the best ingredients he could find in China. Nathan stated that the book was only $15 a pound. That’s not bad, considering if it were a college text-book it would be around the same price if not more and there are no colleges teaching at such a high level of art and science combined at this time.
I was able to pre-order the book from Amazon so the it ended up costing around $460.00. I am anxiously awaiting the books arrival which should be here any day. I can’t wait! When the book arrives I will cook from it and report my findings. When I was in culinary school I was always asking my Chef Instructors why? Sometimes they had the answers, a lot of the time they didn’t. I have spent a lot of time reading and thinking about some of the scientific aspects of cooking and I think that this book will help connect the dots. From what I have seen so far the images and graphs look stunning. I think this book will prove valuable for the chef and home cook alike.