Today was my birthday. I spent it quietly doing the mid-week wash, and answering phone calls from early in the morning to late evening. It was most enjoyable, and great to hear from and chat to so many dear friends. I also had several very welcome emails. One of the things many friends asked me was whether I had treated or indulged myself in any way, and the answer was no. To be honest, I couldn’t think of anything I really wanted. Although I did reply to one friend that if I go to Chadstone shopping centre tomorrow I’ll buy a tin of Ortiz tuna ($29.95) as a treat.
So it’s rather strange that tonight I got an email from Amazon advertising several cooking books. I’ve always been a huge fan of cooking books, to read and drool over rather than cook recipes. I always swear that I’ll never buy another cooking book, until I see the next one I can’t resist.
The first book I looked at tonight in the Amazon email was The Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook: 2,000 Recipes from 20 Years of America’s Most Trusted Cooking Magazine [Hardcover]. You can look inside it here.
It’s quite a big book at 928 pages, and weighs 4.6 lbs. I like the look of this book as Cook’s Illustrated recipes work well, and in this book it explains why the recipes work. I like that type of explanation. In a quick browse tonight I was interested to read that I cut onions the wrong way for caramelizing. I cut them around the equator, so to speak, but they should be cut from pole to pole. However, it is an American book with many recipes for foods we just don’t eat here.
The second cookbook I looked at is the reason for this post. I was gobsmacked when I read about it. Whereas the Cook’s Illustrated book weighs 4.6 lbs, the ink alone in the second book weighs about 4 lbs. The whole book (in 6 volumes) weighs 40 lbs. For me, that’s a nightmare. I dislike handling big heavy books. Perhaps it’s an age thing, as I have a bit of arthritis in my hands.
The book is called Modernist Cuisine. I’m not sure it’s a book I’d really like, or find useful. It seems to have many sections devoted to cooking with professional equipment and techniques, such as sous vide equipment, not available to home cooks. As mentioned above, I’m not a fan of big and heavy books, and with this book, the price alone is enough to eliminate any interest – $625 full price or $451,59 on Amazon.com. However, it is a book with spectacular photography or art work, like the image above, and I thought it worth making a post about it, to bring the book to your attention.
The book has a website at http://modernistcuisine.com/ where you can read more about the book, download a PDF file and a 4Mb brochure. The website also has a blog and lots of links, including to video, etc. The Reviews page is full of rave reviews.
The following is a Vimeo video promoting the book.
Warning: In basic terms, sous vide cooking involves cooking slowly at temperatures below the boiling point of water and at the temperature at which you plan to eat the food. One needs to be aware of the health risks when cooking at temperatures which might not kill all the bacteria.