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Building a Meal: From Molecular Gastronomy to Culinary Constructivism (Arts and Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History) [Paperback]

Herve This
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

23 Sep 2011 Arts and Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History
An internationally renowned chemist, popular television personality, and bestselling author, Herve This heads the first laboratory devoted to molecular gastronomy--the scientific exploration of cooking and eating. By testing recipes that have guided cooks for centuries, and the various dictums and maxims on which they depend, Herve This unites the head with the hand in order to defend and transform culinary practice. With this new book, Herve This's scientific project enters an exciting new phase. Considering the preparation of six bistro favorites--hard-boiled egg with mayonnaise, simple consomme, leg of lamb with green beans, steak with French fries, lemon meringue pie, and chocolate mousse--he isolates the exact chemical properties that tickle our senses and stimulate our appetites. More important, he connects the mind and the stomach, identifying methods of culinary construction that appeal to our memories, intelligence, and creativity. By showing that the creation of a meal is as satisfying as its consumption, Herve This recalibrates the balance between food and our imaginations. The result is a revolutionary perspective that will tempt even the most casual cooks to greater flights of experimentation.

Frequently Bought Together

Building a Meal: From Molecular Gastronomy to Culinary Constructivism (Arts and Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History) + Molecular Gastronomy Exploring the Science of Flavor (Arts & Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History): Exploring the Science of ... the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History) + Food Presenting Secrets: Creative Styling Techniques
Price For All Three: £25.82

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Product details

  • Paperback: 152 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press; Reprint edition (23 Sep 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231144679
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231144674
  • Product Dimensions: 20.1 x 15 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 53,475 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

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Product Description

Review

Herve This takes virtual cliche dishes and tells you what scientific principles go into their successful preparation. His book, while erudite, allusive, precise, and full of cultural insights, also has charm, wit, and brevity. -- Albert Sonnenfeld, translator of Food Is Culture and Culture of the Fork: A Brief History of Everyday Food and Haute Cuisine in Europe Herve This's major contribution is that food is an act of love and is linked to the pursuit of happiness. Building a Meal is the book of a 'bon vivant' and provides an excellent antidote to despair and depression. Its pages celebrate food and life. -- Jeanine P. Plottel, Hunter College [A] wide-ranging, deeply engaging scientific deconstruction of classic dishes. Publishers Weekly (starred review) 3/9/09 A beautifully written treatise on the tenets of molecular gastronomy and cooking's role in modern society. -- Natalie Fasano Eats.com May 2009 This wonderful book by chemist/chef This continues the exploration of this profound way of looking at eating, cooking, and science. Choice 9/1/09 Anyone with a passion for cooking or science is sure to find this a captivating and effortless read. Sacramento Book Review 8/1/2009 For those who have heard the term 'molecular gastronomy' but don't really know what it entails, this is a highly recommended book that will serve as a great starter to a relatively new subject. For everyone else it is is just highly recommended. Yum.fi 9/21/2012

About the Author

Herve This is a physical chemist on the staff of the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique in Paris. He is the author of Kitchen Mysteries: Revealing the Science of Cooking and Molecular Gastronomy: Exploring the Science of Flavor, among other books. M. B. DeBevoise has translated almost thirty works from French and Italian in every branch of scholarship, including Herve This's Molecular Gastronomy and The Columbia History of Twentieth-Century French Thought, edited by Lawrence D. Kritzman.

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Customer Reviews

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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended 8 Jan 2013
By I. Darren TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
This is the culinary equivalent of an autopsy and a detailed scan of the body rolled into one.

Here the author, in a surprisingly light-hearted, jargon-free manner for such a technically-advanced book, manages to get the reader to start questioning everything about food, even if they don't know it so far. At the heart it is almost deeply psychological. Why do we eat? Why do we cook how we cook? Why do we cook what we cook? The answers might sound superficially simple yet do we really, truly know or understand the answers? Are the answers really so simple either? Sure, there can be technical reasons for some, there can be sociological reasons for others and without a doubt somethings can strain the definition of rationality.

Within the pages of this relatively-slim book the author, who is a renowned chemist and broadcaster, uses his laboratory - said to be the first of its kind to be devoted to molecular gastronomy - to great effect, to simply (!) consider the preparation of six bistro favourites. Boiled egg with mayonnaise, simple consomme, leg of lamb with green beans, steak with French fries, lemon meringue pie, and chocolate mousse are put under the culinary microscope, the exact chemical properties that tickle our senses and stimulate our appetites are isolated. Consideration is made to the 'invisible' connection between brain and stomach, an examination of why some things appeal more than others and much more besides.

The book can be as complex as you like. Clearly there is a lot of scientific language, theory and descriptive writing.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Unorganised uncomplicated fun 12 Sep 2013
By G
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I found this more of a book about cooking rather than a book on cooking, and it most certainly is not a cooking book.

The interviews with MOM are incredibly tiresome and ego-centric, as the author observes at the end of the book.

The concepts are easy to understand and implement, and that, I believe, it what matters most for a book such as this.
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5.0 out of 5 stars great book 4 April 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
great book to understand the concept of flavours and the all molecular structure behind any recipe,,it comes with some recipes as well.great book to have it, shame that i am still looking for a molecular mixology book from harve this, matbe one day will come, meanwhile enjoy this ones
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended 8 Jan 2013
By I. Darren - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is the culinary equivalent of an autopsy and a detailed scan of the body rolled into one.

Here the author, in a surprisingly light-hearted, jargon-free manner for such a technically-advanced book, manages to get the reader to start questioning everything about food, even if they don't know it so far. At the heart it is almost deeply psychological. Why do we eat? Why do we cook how we cook? Why do we cook what we cook? The answers might sound superficially simple yet do we really, truly know or understand the answers? Are the answers really so simple either? Sure, there can be technical reasons for some, there can be sociological reasons for others and without a doubt somethings can strain the definition of rationality.

Within the pages of this relatively-slim book the author, who is a renowned chemist and broadcaster, uses his laboratory - said to be the first of its kind to be devoted to molecular gastronomy - to great effect, to simply (!) consider the preparation of six bistro favourites. Boiled egg with mayonnaise, simple consomme, leg of lamb with green beans, steak with French fries, lemon meringue pie, and chocolate mousse are put under the culinary microscope, the exact chemical properties that tickle our senses and stimulate our appetites are isolated. Consideration is made to the 'invisible' connection between brain and stomach, an examination of why some things appeal more than others and much more besides.

The book can be as complex as you like. Clearly there is a lot of scientific language, theory and descriptive writing. The casual, less-informed reader may find it hard going yet hopefully they can in any case get a sufficient overview to whet their appetite, if you pardon the pun, that might encourage them to investigate the subject in greater depth. That said, the text is structured to be accessible unlike many academic books of a similar statue. Yet in many ways the book is unstructured, charmingly so. Within the various chapters you get the feeling of a slightly absently-minded professor, giving out a lot of great information and haphazardly changing the subject, going off on a tangent and then returning back to the subject without a second thought. One can be quite forgiving to this approach, particularly when you consider the quality and depth of the information on offer. It certainly does encourage page-by-page reading rather than dropping in and out.

The publisher too deserves a special credit for not putting a high price on this clearly academic, groundbreaking book. Lovers of food and cooking can equally and easily share in the book's knowledge at their level to further perfect their art. Those of a more scientific bent will then get, based on the typical price of academic books, a damn good bargain too.

For those who have heard the term 'molecular gastronomy' but don't really know what it entails, this is a highly recommended book that will serve as a great starter to a relatively new subject. For everyone else it is is just highly recommended.
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