If it does nothing else, Modernist Cuisine, an epic, six-book set that weighs 39.5 pounds and boasts 1,522 recipes, will, at least, supplant the vague, widely disliked term "molecular gastronomy" with "modernist." But its funder, Nathan Myhrvold, thinks it has a loftier purpose.
Modernist Cuisine is the culmination of a five-year quest that required 46 staffers, cost somewhere between $1 and $10 million and ended up at 2,438 pages. It aims to be nothing less than the culinary bible of the new millennium. It already has the requisite controversy. Calling it a work of "unprecedented scope and ambition," Michael Ruhlman mostly admired the book -- with a few reservations. Still, Myhrvold took to eGullet to refute Ruhlman, point by point. Love it or hate it, few cookbooks have inspired such intense pontificating as Modernist Cuisine.
We don't have $625 laying around, so we can't form our own opinion, but we can enjoy reading everyone else's. (Links after the jump.)
--Michael Ruhlman: "Mind-crushingly boring, eye-bulgingly riveting, edifying, infuriating, frustrating, fascinating, all in the same moment." [NY Times]
--Josh Ozersky: "It will stand alongside Escoffier as one of the defining cookbooks in history." [Time]
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--Alice Waters: "I am so hungry for the taste of the real that I'm just not able to get into that which doesn't feel real to me." [Freakonomics]
--John Lanchester: "If this six-volume, million-word-plus book had to be summed up in three words, they would be 'Sous vide rocks.'"[The New Yorker]
--Marc McCluskey: "If Modernist Cuisine lives up to Myhrvold's hopes when it's published this March, it'll be the definitive book about the science of cooking." [Wired]
--Helen Rosner: "There is, in fact, no war between locavorism and molecular gastronomy." [Saveur]