It’s his money.

I like to think of myself as a tolerant person, if you define tolerant as someone who once decided it could never work out with a man because his grocery list contained the item parmashawn chese, but hung around for a few more months anyway. But hear me now and remember it later: If anyone in my circle spends $625 on “Modernist Cuisine”? You’re dead to me. (If you go through the Kickback Lounge, I will consider upgrading your status to Cold Shoulder.)

I’ve been reading about this five-volume, 40-pound, 2,238-page be-all and end-all of 21st-century cooking for a few days now — I guess the pub date was this week, although it should be noted it was self-published. The more I read, the more bugged I get. All reviews take the time to stipulate a few things:

1) This is a very ambitious work, and ambition should be honored;
2) The book(s) — shall we call it a “project,” or something else? — contain many astonishing and beautiful photographs;
3) If you have the will to dive in, there are diamonds there;
4) But not enough to justify the expense, work and other irreplaceable resources that went into producing the thing.


Descending this week on the culinary scene like a meteor, “Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking” is the self-published six-volume masterwork from a team led by Nathan Myhrvold, the multimillionaire tech visionary who, as a friend of mine said, “decided to play Renaissance doge with food.”

…Ultimately, it is a manifesto declaring that the new form of laboratory-inspired cooking — led by Grant Achatz in the United States; Heston Blumenthal in England; and Ferran Adrià, the father of this cuisine, in Spain — is a cultural and artistic movement every bit as definitive as Impressionism in 19th-century France or Bauhaus in early 20th-century Germany. It proclaims a revolution “in techniques, aesthetics and intellectual underpinnings of gastronomy.”

I read fast, and I had to go back and find the nettle in this opening passage, and it was this: tech visionary. Those guys? Can be real pains in the ass:

“Life has not been boring for me,” Nathan Myhrvold says. An overachiever’s overachiever, Myhrvold, 51, graduated from high school at 14, had two master’s degrees and a Princeton Ph.D. in theoretical and mathematical physics by 23, worked alongside Stephen Hawking at Cambridge, and went on to earn hundreds of millions for Microsoft (and himself) as chief technology officer. Cashing out in 1999, he began pursuing his true passions by the armful: skydiving, car racing, scuba diving, volcanology, and UFOlogy, not to mention whole alternate careers as a wildlife photographer, dinosaur hunter, inventor (his name is on nearly 250 patents and counting), and author of the extraordinary new cookbook Modernist Cuisine.

Wow. Respect. Although one person’s overachiever’s overachiever is another’s dilettante, but never mind that. The guy has zillions and a coltish intellect; let him spend his money — and, again, this is his money he’s spending — on what he wants. He’s only in his early 50s. In his laboratory of wonder, he’s also pursuing big-think solutions to more serious, mundane problems (hospital infections, global warming). I guess everyone hopes for a line like this in their obituary:

His 1997 talk on dinosaur sex is the TED equivalent of Jimi Hendrix playing Woodstock.

All stipulated. There’s just something about five volumes, 40 pounds, 2,238 pages and a plexiglas cover, all in the service of a project that boils down to a foundational text for a silly style of cooking sought after and consumed by the tiniest handful of people in the world. Nathan Myhrvold has carved “The Last Supper” on the head of a pin. Whoop-de-do.

What style of cooking is this? That molecular gastronomy nonsense that’s always tripping somebody up on “Top Chef.” Foams and gels and puzzling techniques Julia Child would laugh at. Like this:

Among his favorite (recipes): scrambled eggs slow-cooked at low temperature in a vacuum-sealed plastic bag using a SousVide Supreme SVS-10LS water oven.

Because that is what the world has been waiting for: sous vide eggs.

Myhrvold made his fortune as Microsoft’s chief technology officer. Ha ha. In the early days of personal computing, when I had my first little laptop, I used to ask J.C. Burns what on earth was in MS Word that justified its $600 cost and bloated footprint on my 160-megabyte hard drive. “Lunch recipes,” he quipped, and it looks like he was right. This is what Myhrvold was thinking about when his underlings were giving the world Mr. Clippy.

Well, as Julia famously said, you are alone in the kitchen, and all that matters is what comes out of it. For people who already have thousands of dollars’ worth of high-tech gadgetry in place, maybe they’ll welcome a $625 reference work to tell them how to use it all. The NYT review acknowledges there is a great deal of very useful information between its many covers, but nearly all of it is for the professional, not the home cook. Maybe a restaurateur can justify the purchase. As for me? Eh, I’ll have a sandwich.

Bloggage for a fogbound Thursday here in Michigan:

Julianne Moore will play $P in the HBO adaptation of “Game Change.” Every time I think about dropping our subscription? They pull me back in!!! Who will play Barack Obama? On this, imdb is silent. Maybe Ms. Lippman knows.

As I believe I’ve mentioned approximately 7,000 times before, one of my several part-time jobs involves news research for the pharmaceutical industry, which every night exposes me to a fairly horrifying but still not widely reported story developing down in Dixie — legal pill mills operating out of storefronts, mainly in Florida, that push an appalling amount of prescription painkillers onto the street under the flimsiest pretense of medical treatment. It is the engine behind an explosion of addiction, overdose and death all over the country. Abuse of legal prescription drugs long ago outstripped that of heroin and other street drugs. It’s the reason pharmacists get ulcers and some are simply no longer carrying these hydrocodone-based potions; too many junkie stickups have taken their toll.

In its own way, the state has tried to tackle the problem; two years ago it created an office to maintain a patient database, in an effort to track obvious abuses. It didn’t fund the office, but y’know — details, details. Lately Purdue Pharma, the company that makes the most sought-after of these drugs, the notorious OxyContin, beloved by Rush Limbaugh and many others, offered $1 million to fund the database. This week, Gov. Rick Scott said, eh, no thanks. He wants to do away with the database entirely; it’s an invasion of patient privacy. Where does the GOP find these guys? I’m speechless.

OK, time to wind up and head out.

Posted at 9:16 am in Current events, Popculch |

61 responses to “It’s his money.”

  1. Mindy said on March 10, 2011 at 9:37 am

    And it’s out of stock! All three copies have sold already.

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  2. coozledad said on March 10, 2011 at 9:55 am

    I read in the Durham Independent about some kid at Duke who was in the vanguard of molecular cooking or whatever, and it struck me at the time as similar to the explosion of signal processing equipment in music in the eighties and nineties: More toys for a bunch of emotionally stunted boys to jerk each other off with. Who knew that cooking would become the new prog rock? You’ve got to wonder how healthy all those nice long chain molecules will be, leaching into Stanhope Stanhope Benton Stanhope’s guts from the plastic bags he’s eating out of.

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  3. garmoore2 said on March 10, 2011 at 9:59 am

    I looked at the Wikipedia entry on sous vide. When I read about a style of cooking and see the word botulism used, I think, “OK, I’m out.”

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  4. del said on March 10, 2011 at 10:21 am

    I clicked your link and watched part of the Amazon video before reading the rest of your post about Myhrvold. It began with him touting the internet as the most important tool in the kitchen. True enough. But my ears perked up when he segued the internet reference into a plug for Amazon. Yep, know that type. My theory that the word “visionary” euphemistically describes venality is proved again. And the guy’s pretty good at it. I also noticed that his co-author, one Maxime Bilet, comes across as a food lothario, seducing us with descriptions of cooking. Almost reminds me of the dialogue between Otter and Mrs. Dean Wormer in Animal House.

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  5. Julie Robinson said on March 10, 2011 at 10:33 am

    But Mindy, did you notice that Amazon is discounting it to $461.62? It’s a steal! The first review notes it “will cost you an entire year’s cookbook budget”. Really? These days when I want a new recipe Professor Google never fails me, and the tuition is free.

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  6. Bitter Scribe said on March 10, 2011 at 10:43 am

    Wasn’t this guy Scott a healthcare exec before he got elected governor? I’m beginning to think this is a real-life version of Mr. Burns running for governor on The Simpsons, only this time he wins.

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  7. Dave said on March 10, 2011 at 10:55 am

    Yes, he was a healthcare executive, but none of it was his fault. He said so.

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  8. nancy said on March 10, 2011 at 10:58 am

    Sorry, I forgot to embed the link to the NYTimes review that ran this week. Fixed now.

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  9. Dorothy said on March 10, 2011 at 11:04 am

    Over the last couple of weekends Mike went through the accumulated pages of recipes (torn from newspapers or magazines, or printed from the web) that have been gathering dust on a section of the kitchen counter (to the left of the fridge, no-man’s land in our kitchen), sorting them by category. I bought a couple of binders and some page protector sleeve thingies and we’ve shoved all the recipes into the plastic sheaths, and put them in the cabinet with all of our cookbooks. All this cost us was a few hours of time, and about $12 in materials from Wal-mart. So in other words, we won’t be indulging in the purchase of Modernist Cuisine! I think we could cook something different every day of the week for the next year and not repeat any of those collected recipes.

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  10. Connie said on March 10, 2011 at 11:12 am

    Dorothy, I’ve used a binder with plastic sleeves for my personal cookbook for many years. It has old recipe cards taped in it, and photocopies with holes punched. If I see a recipe I like in a book I just photocopy it. Every couple of years I have to switch a bigger binder, and I think I’ve reached my max!

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  11. John Alexander said on March 10, 2011 at 11:18 am

    In a case of art imitating life; the Oxycontin story has set the stage for this season of “Justified” on FX. The show does a good job of depicting the people in the drug trade in Kentucky.

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  12. basset said on March 10, 2011 at 11:25 am

    Sous vide, my butt. Boil in a bag, that’s all it is, but think how clever it makes them feel.

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  13. mark said on March 10, 2011 at 11:28 am


    If you are following/researching the “pill mill” issue, I’ll defer to your greater expertise. My understanding, though, is that the vast majority of the problem concerns Medicaid and Medicare fraud- because a)they reimburse immediately, then determine medical necessity/legality later, and b) they have fewer people scrutinizing claims. By the time any fraud is discovered, the money is out the door and the bad guys have disappeared. Two years ago, my fathers Medicare info was used to purchase several thousand dollars of pain-killers in Fla, though he wasn’t there and doesn’t need pain-killers. It was months before anyone called to ask if he was in Florida.

    Private insurers do a better job (though they are then vilified for “denying claims”) and they and the US government have the current right to track purchases. The federal government just does an awful job of oversight. I’m no fan of the Florida program. It strikes me as akin to telling bars and liquor stores to report who is buying/drinking so that we can catch more drunk drivers.

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  14. Julie Robinson said on March 10, 2011 at 11:49 am

    We use binders too but a few years back I got ambitious and starting using cookbook software to organize favorite recipes. It seemed great until it crashed and despite the promise of the software could not be restored. Now I’m thinking about entering them into Google Documents. I could still print them out but that way our kids could access them easily too. Have any of y’all done something similar? We have too much clutter in our lives, and more and more I like the idea of storing such things in the cloud and just plopping the laptop down in the kitchen.

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  15. nancy said on March 10, 2011 at 12:11 pm


    Medicare/Medicaid fraud plays a part, to be sure, but the bigger problem is people who walk in the door of a storefront “pain management center,” see a doctor, say, “My back hurts” and are then handed a script for 30 oxys.

    Here’s a story out of Jacksonville that gives an outline of the problem, including its connection to Appalachia — the “Justified” angle.

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  16. beb said on March 10, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    Mi’s Gov. Rick Snyder has done a better job of keeping his head down that Indiana’s, Ohio’s, Florida’s, Wisconsin’s and New Jersey’s newly-elected Republican governors but they’ll all part of a wave of zeolots who seem determined to kick the props out from under state government rather than fix things.

    And the released police record of the arrest of Tiger’s player Miguel Cabrera makes him appear to be a loose cannon on the Charlie Sheen leagues. And yet if the Tiger’s fire him Cabrera will just be picked up by someone else. As the football player Vick proved, there is no disgrace so terrible that a good athelete can’t get a nultimillion dollar second chance.

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  17. jcburns said on March 10, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    I made sous table eggs. Start with plain old fried eggs, and then accidentally drop them on the floor as you’re eating them.

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  18. LAMary said on March 10, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    jcb, at my house we call that recipe “dog treat.”

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  19. Sherri said on March 10, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    Myhrvold’s laboratory of wonder (Intellectual Ventures) is basically a laboratory of patent trollishness. His lab thinks deep thoughts, then files patents on them; they don’t actually build anything. They just plan on owning the future.

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  20. Hattie said on March 10, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    Yes, Nancy, it’s crap. We all know that cooking is something that women do and get no credit for.

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  21. Little Bird said on March 10, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    I get a couple of cooking magazines. And have a few cookbooks that were given to me. I do have one that I wrote, but I can’t publish because some of the recipes were given to me by friends, and I don’t know if there are any copyright issues concerning them. I would not pay more than $50 or so on a cookbook. Unless it was Julia Child’s ACTUAL cookbook, the one she used in her own kitchen.

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  22. Kim said on March 10, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    Off topic but of interest to NN.C-ers: Oh, come on, Snoop. Not again.

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  23. Deborah said on March 10, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    Kim, thanks for that link, my husband and I just watched the last episode of the last season of the wire last night. Snoop was one of my favorites, not her character’s activities of course but her manner of speaking was fantastic. Hard to understand, but fantastic.

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  24. Bruce Fields said on March 10, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    Little Bird, :

    “Copyright law does not protect recipes that are mere listings of ingredients. Nor does it protect other mere listings of ingredients such as those found in formulas, compounds, or prescriptions. Copyright protection may, however, extend to substantial literary expression—a description, explanation, or illustration, for example—that accompanies a recipe or formula or to a combination of recipes, as in a cookbook.”

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  25. del said on March 10, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    Sherri @ 19. Thanks. Interesting. And to follow up on Bruce F’s post, patent law (as distinguished from copyright law) may protect “composition” and/or “process” patents. I wonder if cooking processes or compositions can be patented?

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  26. Little Bird said on March 10, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    Thanks Bruce and del! I will have to do some further research into this.

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  27. Susan Gillie said on March 10, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    Sorry to be a nag, but this hits a nerve.

    As a professional cook, “Modernist Cuisine” is revolutionary. We can now cook large amounts of food in a flavorful, healthy way. Eventually, it’ll tricle down to the home cook.

    While we’re worrying about botulism, the French have been using the technology for 40 years.

    Shame on Michael Ruhlman for not mentioning that.

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  28. LAMary said on March 10, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    Here’s a cookbook lawsuit but the plaintiff lost. I think the plaintiff and the defendant are both lame, myself, but I never tried to sneak spinach into my kids’ brownies. They like spinach.

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  29. harrison said on March 10, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    When I read the words “modernist cuisine,” I thought: What the hell? When it’s served, do they lay it out on the plate like, say, a Mondrian painting. Then I realized that was already done with TV dinners, and that’s 1950s retro.

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  30. LAMary said on March 10, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    Arrgh. I forgot to add the link. It was from the BS cookbook written by Jerry Seinfeld’s wife. She was sued by someone who had previously written the same BS cookbook.

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  31. Jeff Borden said on March 10, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    Re: SheWho. . .Her “sell by” date is definitely past. Check out the latest Bloomberg poll numbers.

    If Sarah Palin ultimately decides to enter the 2012 presidential race, she’ll have a long, long way to go to reach the White House: A new Bloomberg News poll of American adults finds Palin is now more unpopular than ever.

    The poll adds to the clear trend of public opinion surveys showing Palin polarizing the electorate, with more and more Americans developing unfavorable opinions of her. And it shows that, should she run for and win the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, she would need to drastically change voters’ perceptions of her in order to win the general election.

    In the poll, 60% of respondents said they viewed Palin unfavorably, compared to 28% who viewed her favorably — good for a whopping 32-point net negative favorability.

    The current TPM Poll Average shows that 55.2% of Americans view Palin unfavorably, while 30.5% view her favorably. And that gap has been steadily getting worse.

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  32. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 10, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    So, you’re saying this recipe probably isn’t covered by copyright?

    (Sorry, I post that every chance I get.)

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  33. del said on March 10, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    Please don’t tempt me with Paula Deen recipes Jeff. I’m trying clean livin’ — as to food.

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  34. LAMary said on March 10, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    Thank goodness there’s a print button on that recipe, eh? It’s easy to see why she’s been so successful.

    Here’s my recently assembled recipe which I think I’ll call “teenage son filler.”

    2 pounds of whole wheat penne
    1 pound of ground turkey
    1 big onion, chopped
    1 can of plum tomatoes, whole or diced
    4 cloves of garlic
    little bit of olive oil
    one shake of red chili pepper

    Start the pasta in lots of boiling water with a little salt if desired.
    In a big saute pan, saute the onions, garlic and ground turkey in the olive oil. Just a little bit of oil. I don’t use all white turkey meat as it has no flavor when ground.
    When the turkey is cooked through add the can of tomatoes. If they are whole, mash them up.
    Add the red chili and some salt if you like it, bearing in mind there is probably salt in the canned tomatoes. Turn the heat down so it’s just simmering.
    When the pasta is cooked, scoop it out of the water with a perforated spoon or Chinese strainer and add it to the tomato/turkey mixture. Mix it up and if it’s a little dry add some of the pasta water.
    Serve with grated cheese. Makes 8 normal human servings, 4 teenage boy servings.

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  35. John G. Wallace said on March 10, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    Montgomery Burns would be a better governor than Rick Scott. He was CEO of a health care company that was bilking medicare for millions; he was forced to resign and his company admitted to fourteen felonies and agreed to pay the federal government over $600 million. He plead the 5th 75 times in a deposition. He’s a worm, a thug, and not too bright.
    My hatred of every male Bush (I respect both former first ladies, and Barbara the daughter slept in the same bed as me.. long story but not at the same time, I’m more the Jenna type)was put to the test when Jeb took Rick Scott to task over his rejection of high speed rail funding. In some ways Scott did the same thing as Chris Christie, but one has some intellect where the other consults his magic 8-ball (and supposedly other kinds of 8-balls on his yacht).
    The drug registry issue here is mind boggling. The epidemic of Oxycontin abuse here is out of control. We have no state drug registry, we have this horseshit Pain Clinics everywhere, with billboards all down I-95. In ten minutes you can see a quack doctor, pay cash for your RX and skip down the road to the next one. People are driving here from all over to score the pills.
    It’s a more subtle addiction to notice – at least meth heads are easy to identify visually. Oxy shows but takes longer, pimples, sores, picked scabs, unkempt. I broke out in a rash last week and my first thought was great, now I look like I’m on Oxy. It was a different body wash.
    But petty crime is huge here. I’ve been supportive of a campaign by the Sheriff of St. Lucie county who is one of the only people actively at war with this epidemic. Gov. Scott could care less.The electorate knew all about Scott’s past but he ran a savage smear campaign against his opponent. I’ve been reading Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America. Not much has changed since 1830.

    “I know of no country in which there is so little independence of mind and real freedom of discussion as in America.”

    “There are many men of principle in both parties in America, but there is no party of principle.”

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  36. John G. Wallace said on March 10, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    Scott’s former company paid HCA more than $2 billion to settle civil suits, resulting in the largest fraud settlement in US history.
    It’s coming down to a war between the sheep and the thinkers in our nation, and frankly the sheep are better armed than we are. A lifelong friend of mine fell into the talk radio fueled nonsense. He buries ammunition in his yard. His wife and daughter are thinkers, liberal, and intelligent people. It’s pretty sad to tell her if and when the shit hits the fan their job is to cap him before he leaves the property.

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  37. Catherine said on March 10, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    The sous vide cooking I’ve had was terrifically yummy, with very little of the sneaked-in fat that is so annoyingly typical in restaurants (a little melted butter over your Kobe beef burger, anyone?). I haven’t had much but it seems like it would a fun home experiment. Not that I have $625 lying around, but instead of the cook “book,” I’d invest in the water oven, vacuum sealer and bags at Sur La Table ($530).

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  38. MichaelG said on March 10, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    I’ve spent the last few days in SoCal. I had occasion to pass through the Fullerton State campus early Wed. The spring co-eds were in bloom in short shorts and tee shirts. The view and the weather were just great. The last couple of nn.c days were vintage.

    Sous vide and Molecular Gastronomy are really two different things. Sous vide is nothing more than a method of slow cooking. Grant Achatz has several videos on YouTube showing how easy it is to cook this way with a simple plastic freezer bag, a candy thermometer, a timer and a pot full of water. In other words, nothing you don’t already have in your kitchen. The perceived problem is all the whiz bang special packaging, immersion circulators, high priest mumbo jumbo and other stuff that will intimidate one and set one back a zillion bucks.

    Molecular Gastronomy, which is what that type of cookery is known as but not really the name of the method if it can be called a method. I know. I know.

    Anyway MG is the one with all the magic powders and the deconstruction and the foam and the liquid nitrogen etc., etc. Haven’t tried it and am not breaking my leg to get there. Maybe one of these days.

    Check out . She’s an excellent and amusing writer with a good slant on this kind of cooking.

    If you are interested in the hows and wherefores of cooking, how the biology and chemistry of food work and all the reasons why food is prepared the way it is, read Harold McGee. His “On Food and Cooking” is the bible and he’s the guru. His book is required reading at the CIA (the other one, where they learn to cook) and is the go to reference work for the professional chef. McGee has an interesting and erudite blog:

    I have amassed a rather large collection of recipes on my computer. I need to get them better organized but as someone suggested earlier, I put my laptop on the counter and pull up what I want to see. Works great. I just have to keep the wine glass away from the computer.

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  39. prospero said on March 10, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    Food is nothing like molecular. It just tastes really good or it doesn’t. Given half a brain and good instincts, it will be good, if you’re the chef. Cooking, in my opinion, is a no-brainer. And when we ride our bikes to procure the ingredients, who the hell cares?

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  40. Deborah said on March 10, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    Is Grant Achatz the guy in Chicago who almost lost his tongue to cancer? I could google this but I’m too lazy right now.

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  41. nancy said on March 10, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    Yep, that’s him.

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  42. brian stouder said on March 10, 2011 at 10:45 pm

    John G. Wallace @ 35: Not much has changed since 1830

    Hear, hear!

    As we watch our 21st century Republican elected officials across the country* veer from open scorn for middle-income workers and public education (for example), and then genuflecting obedience to the will of their plutocratic patrons, one can only wonder at how persistently things do indeed stay the same.

    And, not for nothing, but if the rotund lard-ass from New Jersey is really the best the Republican party has to offer for the 2012 presidential race, then we’re back to William Howard Taft (aka “Big Lub”; possibly Mitt Romney can use that rejoinder, if big Chris Christie throws out any “Big Love” references), only without the brains.

    *Michael Moore – who looks a little thin, compared to Governor Christie – made an excellent point about what is going on in Wisconsin and Michigan and Indiana and Ohio….these are all northern states. The know-nothing R’s have already done their deeds to the working people of the South, and now they want to knock down the unions in the North.

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  43. Jolene said on March 10, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    So, Brian, are you saying that you weren’t impressed w/ Newt’s declaration that it was love of country and devotion to his work that drove him to adultery?

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  44. brian stouder said on March 10, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    Jolene – I had my best and most satisfying laugh of the week, watching Lawrence O’Donnell “rewrite” Newtie’s Christian comments and confessions, this evening!

    Good thing we have a DVR, so I could back it up and hear the parts I’d otherwise have missed!

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  45. brian stouder said on March 10, 2011 at 11:04 pm

    By the way, and a total non-sequitur (except that it reflects well upon the public school that my daughter attends), but tonight was “Learning Fair” night, and Shelby’s research project earned 100 points (of 100 possible) and a blue ribbon! Woo Hoo!!

    She Googled around, and found that it might be interesting to set up an experiment involving crickets. Her idea was to see what color light might attract them (and she titled the exhibit “Picky Crickets”). Mom provided a good-sized transluscent container, within which Shelby placed cardboard dividers with doorways – so that the little fellers could go wherever they chose.

    Then she got those little battery-powered lights that look like little flames, and wrapped them with different colors of cellophane. One compartment was dark altogether, one had white light, and the others had other colors (green and red and blue and purple).

    Then we went to the pet store and bought live crickets. They sell a package of 30, for people who have to feed their lizards (apparently); and the first thing we learned was – they give you more than 30, on the theory that at least 30 will be alive when you them home for Iggy (or Liz).

    (this was discovered when Shelby’s count totals varied)

    Anyway – it was enough to make the young lady beam, and her mom and dad, too

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  46. Jolene said on March 10, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    Indeed, I just listened to O’Donnell, and it was a terrific piece. I’m sure he enjoyed it immensely. I watched part of Morning Joe this AM, and everyone around the table was laughing at him. Even Pat Buchanan said, “I must say I’ve never heard the love of country defense before.”

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  47. prospero said on March 10, 2011 at 11:11 pm

    Another one bites the dust. What an overstuffed dumbass, that puports to be intelligent. Newt thiks his farts are pontifications. I’m Catholic andif it were possible, I’d have prevented him from joining. Mitt invented Obamacare, and it works, but he can’t run on that, can he? Who they got? They got embarassing, insane women.

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  48. prospero said on March 10, 2011 at 11:15 pm

    NEWT PHILANDERED TO KEEP Y’ALL SAFE FROM TERRISS. Ain’t that a man. My Hero, in the heman girl hater club.

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  49. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 10, 2011 at 11:16 pm

    Newt has jumped the shark.

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  50. prospero said on March 10, 2011 at 11:24 pm

    Jeff, the shark is picking its teeth with Mau Mau Hucklbee. In Indonesia.

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  51. John G. Wallace said on March 10, 2011 at 11:32 pm

    What was the cricket’s favorite spot?

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  52. prospero said on March 10, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    All of the Republicans, they seem to have no clue. They will get down to Rick” $1.6 bill finefor defrauding the government” Scott. I’d assume (correctly) his election was a Teapottier vote. It’s astounding how people that claim the NYT says they’re smart and well-off vote so moronically against their own interests, all the time.

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  53. prospero said on March 10, 2011 at 11:38 pm

    It’s astounded me fo 50 years that Republics convince rubes they are all in this together, while they rob them blind and kill their sons and daughterss for profit. That might sound bad, but can anybody say that is not what these bastards have done?

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  54. Jolene said on March 10, 2011 at 11:48 pm

    What was the cricket’s favorite spot?

    I wondered that too. What color of light did the crickets like?

    Also, did she release them one at a time to rule out peer pressure?

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  55. prospero said on March 11, 2011 at 12:26 am

    Brian, One of my favorite things about the Harry Potter books was the way in which House points accrued and disaccrued, and how points were counted and accounted for , Magically, I guess. Good on your kid, for sure.

    I grew stuff in petri dishes. Not nearly as imaginative. And thanks for saving some of those crickets from reptiles. Crickets all the way back to jiminy are friends to mankind. A cricket on your hearth… Crickets are absurdly lucky. Just read a John Crowley book. Worlds within worlds.

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  56. prospero said on March 11, 2011 at 12:42 am

    But I called my petri collection ” Be you am got bugs”, which I think my dad got from Archie and Mehitabel, or maybe just Brooklyn, which if you haven’t read Archie and don’t know who Don Marquis is, you are illiterate. I’m writong a book about Mahitabel, but when she was Sidney Carton’s cat. For a week or so. In a garrett, in Paris, before he did a far better thing Probably stupid and quite difficult. But I owe it to my dad. Edit: He thought it was a good idea.

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  57. prospero said on March 11, 2011 at 1:03 am

    not enough to justify the expense, work and other irreplaceable resources that went into producing the thing.

    Worthy commentary on 20th Century Architecture, but a beautiful building will last for a couple hundred yars.

    How do you “almost” lose your tonge to cancer, and at the last minute retrieve it? This is not my Funky Winderbean. Cancer is cancer, boy.

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  58. prospero said on March 11, 2011 at 1:23 am

    Matthew 18:3 Sidebar tp that happiness map a couple of days ago was about the happiest man in America. I think. I’m pretty sure that would be Shaq.

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  59. Deborah said on March 11, 2011 at 3:21 am

    Prospero, As I recall he had cancer for sure but instead of having his tongue removed he had some special kind of radiation, which apparently worked.

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  60. Kim said on March 11, 2011 at 7:59 am

    Terri Gross had a terrific interview w/Achatz last week. In her super-smart way she questions the goofy treats he dreams up, and he explains them all (plus the crazy trip as a 30-ish chef with tongue cancer). Here you go.

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  61. brian stouder said on March 11, 2011 at 8:16 am

    John/Jolene/Pros – I would have guessed that the crickets would go for the dark area. Shelby’s stated thesis was that they would go for the white light, since that was the most similar to the sun. As the experiment proceeded, she went and did her cricket count every 15 minutes for an hour and a half – and the result struck me as interesting and inconclusive. She produced attractive and colorful bar charts for each interval, and in the first three counts, the green bar climbed and climbed – peaking at nearly 60% of the crickets. But then it plummeted, ending in the 20-30% range. The dark area never was popular, consistently drawing under 10% of the crickets. There was no discernable pattern, except that the movement was constant.

    The one job I had, since Shelby didn’t want to touch the crickets, was loading the box. I put on dish-washing rubber gloves (hey, I didn’t want to touch ’em, either!), and opened their container, and began encouraging them to exit their retail package for the more spacious confines of Shelby’s project. The problem is, crickets like to hop a lot! What that boiled down to was – I spread ’em around as best I could, and we put the lid on and let the experiment proceed.

    Looking back on it, I think the way to go would have been to place them in the bigger box for a day or so, and THEN begin the observation. As it was, I think Shelby’s results captured the crickets’ happiness to be out of the crowded small box; their movement in the big one was the only constant.

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