Building a Meal: From Molecular Gastronomy to Culinary Constructivism (Arts and Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History)
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An internationally renowned chemist, popular television personality, and bestselling author, Hervé 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, Hervé This unites the head with the hand in order to defend and transform culinary practice.
With this new book, Hervé This's scientific project enters an exciting new phase. Considering the preparation of six bistro favorites—hard-boiled egg with mayonnaise, simple consommé, 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.
difference in electrical potential between the two free extremities of the prongs—because it gives the temperature instantaneously, and much more precisely than classical mercury or alcohol thermometers.) Gradually the temperature rises at the bottom of the glass, which is soon filled by a white coagulated layer. The coagulation boundary slowly rises in its turn, allowing us to place the thermometer (or, far better, the thermocouple) both below and above the boundary. We will find that the
networks that trap the water molecules. lates, forming a very delicate gel. Once a higher temperature has been reached, another sort of protein coagulates in its turn. Just as two nets do a better job of trapping fish than one, two coagulated protein networks yield a firmer egg white than only one network. This process continues, with the result that the number of types of protein that coagulate increases—and the egg white hardens. The yolk? It begins to coagulate at 62°, but because only very
should start by asking what prevents us from seeing the yolk in the egg. The shell, quite obviously, because it is opaque. In that case we should be able to see the yolk through a transparent shell, right? So let’s take a glass and put several egg whites in it together with a yolk. What do we see? We see that the yolk floats. It ought therefore to float inside the eggshell as well. An egg cannot be reduced to a shell, white, and yolk. On the one hand, the shell is a marvelous structure with a
said, carried off the bitter molecules—a very mysterious culinary dictum. c h l o r o p h y l l i s n ’ t w h at n e e d s t o b e f i x e d The question of what needs to be done to keep green beans bright green once they are cooked does not end with blanching. Far from it—cookbooks abound with theories in this regard. Many authors insist, in particular, that the chlorophyll has to be fixed. Fix the chlorophyll? Let’s examine these words closely, beginning with the last one. “Chlorophyll” does
compounds oil, oils: for frying, 79, 81; hazelnut, 2; in mayonnaise, 33–36, 34, 47; olive, 2, 108; pistachio, 2 olfactory receptors, 51, 75 omnivorousness, 58 orange juice, 19, 103 osmosis, 16, 17 Ourisson, Guy, 40 ovalbumin, 43 ovens and stoves, 50, 67–68; convection ovens, 94; induction stoves, 50, 68; magnetic induction cooktops, 106; microwave ovens, 50; modern, 94; shells, 78 Oxford University, and molecular gastronomy, 11 Palais de la Découverte (Paris), 30 Paracelsus, 79, 105 parasites,