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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) Paperback – 28 Aug 2008

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Product details

  • Paperback: 392 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press (28 Aug. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231133138
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231133135
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 15.2 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 52,053 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

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Product Description

Review

"Taking kitchen science to a whole new (molecular) level, Herve This is changing the way France -- and the world -- cooks." -- Gourmet "This has written an interesting and timely combination of our everyday experience with sophisticated science." -- Claudia Kousoulas, Appetite for Books "Mr. This's book will broaden the way you think about food." -- New York Sun "It is a wonderful book... it will appeal to anyone with an interest in the science of cooking." -- O Chef "This's book is for anyone who likes to eat or cook... Highly Recommended." -- Choice "This offers some though-provoking opportunities for play in the kitchen." -- Pagosa Springs Sun "This book, praiseworthy for its scientific rigor, will hold a special appeal for anyone who relishes the debunking of culinary myths." -- Todd Coleman, Saveur "A fresh approach... That will entertain and enlighten anyone interested in the process of cooking and the enjoyment of food." -- Raymond J. Shively, Jr., The Bloomsbury Review "Anyone with an inordinate passion for cooking would love this book." -- Mia Stainsby, Vancouver Sun "A timely addition... Suitable for both scientists and the lay public." -- Thorvald Pedersen, EMBO Reports "This book is laden with science while rendering a clear approach to flavor." -- Academia "[A] captivating little book." --Economist

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 several books about food and cooking, and a monthly contributor to Pour la Science, the French-language edition of Scientific American. Malcolm DeBevoise is the translator of some twenty works from French, most recently The World Republic of Letters.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Tomasz Wegrzanowski on 5 May 2008
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book hoping to learn some hard science behind cooking and I'm very disappointed. The book consists mostly of anecdotes of what scientists from Dijon found in one kind of wine/cheese/meat or another but hardly any of this can be extrapolated to everyday cooking and it doesn't give any sort of a big picture view on food - just a lot of details.

The book also contains a few interesting ideas, especially on non-traditional emulsions/foams/suspensions/gels - in particular chapter 97 "Everything Chocolate" is very interesting.

Overall I'd suggest buying another book. It's pleasant to read but amount of useful or enlightening content is quite low.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Michael W. Gibson on 28 Jan. 2009
Format: Hardcover
to be honest this book was a little bit of an anti-climax. The topics covered, although interesting, seemed to have little in the way of a conclusion. This book covers nothing that hasn't been covered in other more detailed books on the subject.
Harold Mcgee 'On Food & Cooking' covers and explains more.
Unless you want a coffee table book don't waste your money.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By I. Darren TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 9 Sept. 2013
Format: Paperback
Molecular Gastronomy has became a catch-all term for the various activities of cooks to manipulate the flavour, appearance and even form of food and its constituent ingredients through scientific means. Of course, on a very basic level, combining ingredients is a form of science, yet it is fair to describe molecular gastronomy as taking things way beyond a basic level.

In recent years molecular gastronomy has started seeping out of the kitchen laboratory and onto the restaurant plate, thanks to a pioneering group of think-ahead chefs who want to really understand and reinvent everything if they can. There is also an enthusiastic bunch of amateur cooks who are doing their own kitchen experimentation. The exclusive genie is really out of the bottle and books like this help shine light on this form of 'kitchen alchemy'.

This book has been translated into English from an earlier work (Casseroles et éprouvettes) and in essence it contains a good, general overview for the average person to this exciting world. This reviewer notes, with a little disdain, the relatively small physical size of the book and its printing - would it have really cost a lot more for another inch or so of paper?

The book is split into four key sections - Secrets of the Kitchen; The Physiology of Flavor; Investigations and Models and A Cuisine for Tomorrow. Each section is further sub-divided and presented by an excellent, detailed contents page at the front - at the back, after a great glossary and bibliography is a very extensive index too. It might be fairer to say that each mini section is effectively its own chapter, and everything that stands in the way is just a navigation tool.
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42 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Michael E. Little on 4 April 2006
Format: Hardcover
This excellent translation of Herve This' work as the only Dr with a PHd in a molecular gastronomy, begins a journey of discovery into the science behind food and cooking. Ever wondered how to keep a joint of beef moist whilst cooking, or why a souffle sinks? This (pronounced Thees) not only dispels many old wives tales, but raises fascinating new questions and ideas! He argues that molecular gastronomy is not just a stylish fad or media generated notion, but is a serious accademic pursuit, with great application. After all, says Herve This, 'what good is advice, if it isn't always good'? This is a witty and clever book, well worth adding to the collection of any devoted chef or the individual passionate about food.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By MR J WALLWORK on 6 May 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I quite enjoyed this book but I found it a bit frustrating that it seemed to be predominantly composed of questions about food and cooking that were never really answered - it offered up a lot to think about, but if you're hoping you can flick through this book alone and learn a bunch of new stuff then you'll likely be disappointed.

It was well written though and an enjoyable read; I also enjoyed that it was comprised of lots of short (mostly 3 page) chapters which meant that you could pick it up and read a complete chapter whenever you had a spare minute.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Bluebell TOP 500 REVIEWER on 12 Mar. 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is very interesting book covering a wide range of topics on the subject of flavour, taste and smell perception as well as the application of basic science to food and drink technology. I was particularly interested in the recent research into the physiology of taste perception, which until recently was the poor cousin of that of the sense of smell. There is a fair bit of chemistry, biochemistry and physics to take in to get full value from the book so I think this book would appeal most to those not only interested in food and cooking but also with some scientific knowledge. The last section of the book focuses on how the physico-chemical properties of ingredients like eggs or fats can be manipulated into creating novel recipes for foods. One can see where the likes of the innovative chef Heston Blumenthal got his inspiration.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The instructions in cookery books are based on little more than "I tried this and it was nice, or that and it failed". They are imprecise, sometimes wrong, and without explanation of cause. This is different, and attempts to understand, explain and define some processes scientifically. As a non-scientist, I failed to understand parts of it, but most chapters contained a some explanations and conclusions I found very interesting and potentially useful for a cook, and could place far more confidence in them than in most other books on cooking.

If you are seeking a cook-book this is not for you. If you want to understand some of the processes involved and gain some useful tips buy it - you will learn and enjoy - but if you are not a scientist you may want to skim and read selectivly.
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