Building a Meal: From Molecular Gastronomy to Culinary Constructivism

Building a Meal: From Molecular Gastronomy to Culinary Constructivism

Hardback Arts and Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History

By (author) Herve This, Translated by Malcolm Debevoise

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  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Format: Hardback | 152 pages
  • Dimensions: 157mm x 206mm x 23mm | 340g
  • Publication date: 1 April 2009
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0231144660
  • ISBN 13: 9780231144667
  • Illustrations note: 12 illus.
  • Sales rank: 100,669

Product description

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.

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Author information

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.

Review quote

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

Table of contents

PrefaceIntroduction The Complexity of the World1. Hard-Boiled Egg with Mayonnaise2. Simple Consomme3. Leg of Lamb with Green Beans4. Steak and French Fries5. Lemon Meringue Pie6. A New Kind of Chocolate MousseLooking AheadNote-by-Note CookingReforming EducationCulinary ConstructivismConstructing a MenuThe Unending ConversationArtisans and ArtistsIndex