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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]

Herve This
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
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Book Description

28 Aug 2008 Arts & Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History
Herve This (pronounced "Teess") is an internationally renowned chemist, a popular French television personality, a bestselling cookbook author, a longtime collaborator with the famed French chef Pierre Gagnaire, and the only person to hold a doctorate in molecular gastronomy, a cutting-edge field he pioneered. Bringing the instruments and experimental techniques of the laboratory into the kitchen, this uses recent research in the chemistry, physics, and biology of food to challenge traditional ideas about cooking and eating. What he discovers will entertain, instruct, and intrigue cooks, gourmets, and scientists alike. "Molecular Gastronomy" - this's first work to appear in English, is filled with practical tips, provocative suggestions, and penetrating insights. This begins by reexamining and debunking a variety of time-honored rules and dictums about cooking and presents new and improved ways of preparing a variety of dishes from quiches and quenelles to steak and hard-boiled eggs.He goes on to discuss the physiology of flavor and explores how the brain perceives tastes, how chewing affects food, and how the tongue reacts to various stimuli. Examining the molecular properties of bread, ham, foie gras, and champagne, the book analyzes what happens as they are baked, cured, cooked, and chilled. Looking to the future, This imagines new cooking methods and proposes novel dishes. A chocolate mousse without eggs? A flourless chocolate cake baked in the microwave? "Molecular Gastronomy" explains how to make them. This also shows us how to cook perfect French fries, why a souffle rises and falls, how long to cool champagne, when to season a steak, the right way to cook pasta, how the shape of a wine glass affects the taste of wine, why chocolate turns white, and how salt modifies tastes.

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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: 20.4 x 15.5 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 31,258 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


"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.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
50 of 51 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Many anecdotes, little culinary knowledge 5 May 2008
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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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Could/should have been better 28 Jan 2009
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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42 of 48 people found the following review helpful
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but not really that useful 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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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and inspiring 12 Mar 2008
By Bluebell TOP 100 REVIEWER
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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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read 17 Feb 2010
By marv
I got this for christmas and I really liked the short article format. It's a bit like the food version of the New Scientist 'last word' series of books. Informative without being too technical but this is not a recipe book.
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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real page turner 3 Mar 2008
Strangely enough for a professional scientist, This' book contains an extraordinary number of basic temperature conversion mistakes (and I'm not talking a few degrees here and there, more like 100C in some cases).

That aside, the only real problem I've found is that I can't put the book down for long enough to actually try to cook something.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Not a practical buy 12 Jun 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Very complicated. Not what i was expecting . Pure science not really something you could apply in your own kitchen
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Waiting to hear from grandson, he seemed pleased
Published 23 days ago by Linda G
5.0 out of 5 stars Great reference or personal knowledge enriching book
Bought this used and I am very happy with it. As a food technologist and product development specialist, I find it an enjoyable and interesting reference text and also for the odd... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Franklin Murphy
5.0 out of 5 stars For all those who want to know more about food
Hervè This is a Great Man and I wish I could practice something on food with him even for half day...Who knows! His approach inspires people. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Eagle Eye
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable classic
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... Read more
Published 11 months ago by I. Darren
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite what I imagined
A dry soulless book that doesn't really deliver the goods. Some nice ideas but didn't really learn anything worth using
Published 14 months ago by P. A. Cox
1.0 out of 5 stars pretty dull
this is one of the dullest food books i've ever encountered. i read a few chapters and had to put it down. Read more
Published 24 months ago by Pat
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome
A great book from one of the fore fathers of modern cuisine, a sad loss but his spirit lives on a must for the aspiring chef. 10/10
Published on 23 Feb 2012 by DanV3185
1.0 out of 5 stars Molecular gastronomy
This book is a collection of papers published from French minor Universities and a few French Institutes concerned with food. Read more
Published on 12 Dec 2011 by Hank Umami
4.0 out of 5 stars A book for the inquisitive cook.
The instructions in cookery books are based on little more than "I tried this and it was nice, or that and it failed". Read more
Published on 23 Sep 2011 by R. Brown
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