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The Bellinghman
Date: 2008-02-19 22:58
Subject: #240 Hervé This: Molecular Gastronomy: Exploring the Science of Flavor
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Tags:books, reviews
Hervé This: Molecular Gastronomy: Exploring the Science of Flavor

Hardcover: 392 pages
Publisher: Columbia University Press (December 9, 2005)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 023113312X
ISBN-13: 978-0231133128
Category(ies): Cookery

Molecular Gastronomy is somewhat of a fad among certain chefs, especially Heston Blumenthal. It involves taking a scientific approach to the physics and chemistry of food, with a view to working out what could be done better, and what hasn't been done before that might be worth trying. It's an interesting movement, and this is one of its source books. So it should be quite rewarding.

Well, yes and no. Back two years ago, I reviewed McGee on Food and Cooking, which takes a wide view on food and cooking, but manages to be entertaining as well as informative. This book, on the other hand, is extremely dry. The author seems never happier than when he's talking about the differences between two protein complexes. Happily, he never goes on for very long - this is broken into 101 short articles, arranged in four sections, with the last being possibly the most interesting. In it, he speculates on such subjects as just how much meringue can be made from a single egg white (he reckons cubic metres, given enough care!), and speculating on possible future ways of cooking. But I wouldn't suggest it for anyone who isn't interested in the particular molecules that cause the exact high note in the aroma of a Camembert. If you think it might be useful to you, then I'd suggest borrowing a copy first.

Most people will find McGee on Food and Cooking much more rewarding.
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User: rmc28
Date: 2008-02-19 23:42 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
The Economist review made exactly the same recommendation as you have.
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2008-02-20 09:26 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Interesting. I rarely read the Economist, but I tend to respect their reviews.
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User: rmc28
Date: 2008-02-20 09:51 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
The Economist is my "paper of choice" if I have a train journey - I don't think I could get through it every week (well, I could, but at the expense of reading much else - and magazines are harder to handle around a sleepy toddler) but I generally find it worth reading when I do have time.
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Kimberley Verburg: Celtic Dog S
User: sierra_le_oli
Date: 2008-02-20 07:29 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Celtic Dog S
I can't wait 'til someone tries the meringue!
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