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Cooking: The Quintessential Art

Cooking: The Quintessential Art

Paperback California Studies in Food and Culture (Paperback)

By (author) Herve This, By (author) Pierre Gagnaire, Translated by Malcolm B. Debevoise

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  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Format: Paperback | 368 pages
  • Dimensions: 152mm x 201mm x 28mm | 431g
  • Publication date: 21 April 2010
  • Publication City/Country: Berkerley
  • ISBN 10: 0520265947
  • ISBN 13: 9780520265943
  • Illustrations note: 7 line illustrations
  • Sales rank: 490,065

Product description

From its intriguing opening question - 'How can we reasonably judge a meal?' - to its rewarding conclusion, this beautiful book picks up where Brillat-Savarin left off almost two centuries ago. Herve This, a cofounder (with the late physicist Nicholas Kurti) of the new approach to studying the scientific basis of cooking known as molecular gastronomy, investigates the question of culinary beauty in a series of playful, lively, and erudite dialogues. Considering the place of cuisine in Western culture, This explores an astonishing variety of topics and elaborates a revolutionary method for judging the art of cooking. Many of the ideas he introduces in this culinary romance are illustrated by dishes created by Pierre Gagnaire, whose engaging commentaries provide rare insights into the creative inspiration of one of the world's foremost chefs. The result is an enthralling, sophisticated, freewheeling dinner party of a book that also makes a powerful case for openness and change in the way we think about food.

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Author information

Herve This is Research Chemist at Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique and the author of Kitchen Mysteries: Revealing the Science of Cooking, among other books. Pierre Gagnaire is chef and owner of many restaurants, including Restaurant Pierre Gagnaire, Paris.

Review quote

"An intellectual exercise wholly removed from food-entertainment television." Booklist 20080801 "A quality addition to any bookshelf; it has much to contribute to the longstanding discussion of cooking as art, and of chefs as artists." Gastronomica 20100301 Solid, intellectual and charming case for why food sits, and will remain, on the front lines of global artistic and cultural relevance. Denver Post 20081203 "Composed with careful planning, unique ingredients and an element of novelty that will leave your taste buds in awe." World Literature Today 20090115 "Art history linked with food and cooking philosophy, wrapped in a romance, wrapped in a mystery." Ochef.com 20090220 "Food as intellectual proposition... Richly pertinent to the UCP series California Studies in Food and Culture. The World Of Fine Wine 20090301

Table of contents

Two Introductions Part One: The Beautiful Is the Good 1. The Existence of a Culinary Art 2. Artisanal versus Artistic Cuisine 3. Tradition and Love 4. The Question of Nature 5. The Recognition of a Culinary Art Part Two: Classical Ideas of Beauty 6. The Origin of Beauty 7. Beauty by Numbers 8. The Idea of Flavor 9. Aristotle and Subtlety Part Three: Beauty in the Middle Ages 10. The Path to the Mystical Good 11. Of Cooking and Cathedrals 12. Boethius and the Brain 13. Thomas Aquinas and the Green of the Grass 14. Drawing Earth Nearer to Heaven Part Four: Artistic Creativity Unbound 15. Medieval Ramifications 16. The Occult Influence of Aristotle Lives On 17. The Dawn of the Renaissance 18. From the Renaissance Onward 19. The Enlightenment in the West and the East 20. Nature Overcome Part Five: The Present and Future of Cooking 21. The Many Strands of Modernity 22. Yesterday 23. And Tomorrow? 24. Simplicity and Completeness 25. The Illusion of the Perfect Bouillon Notes Index