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Modernist Cuisine Coffee Section Review by Mark Prince
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MarkPrince
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Posted Mon Mar 21, 2011, 12:00am
Subject: Modernist Cuisine Coffee Section Review by Mark Prince
 

Modernist Cuisine Coffee Section Review
by Mark Prince

An intensive review of just a section of a book? Sure, when it is the five volume, $600 tome known as Modernist Cuisine. We review the Coffee chapter in this highly anticipated and hyped set of books.
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dms
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Joined: 15 Mar 2009
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Posted Tue Mar 22, 2011, 9:28pm
Subject: Re: Modernist Cuisine Coffee Section Review by Mark Prince
 

Excellent review Mark -- I think you've captured the spirit of the books through the coffee section.  I received my copy in the first wave a couple of weeks ago, and I've been reading and cooking ever since.

Nathan and his team have provided in depth info about modern food and cooking techniques (like food chemistry and cooking methods like sous vide), and then they've taken apart ~1500 recipes, looked at the traditional approach and the goal, and finally recast them to use the best techniques to achieve that goal.  As you've noted, some myths get shattered along the way.  My personal favorite was that the internal temperature of food continues to rise even if you take it from boiling water and plunge it into an ice bath.  This is a significant achievement, and I don't see it being surpassed for quite a while.  At the very least, it'll take 4 years, a few culinary greats (including 2 alumni chefs from the Fat Duck), and a whole bunch of money...

The page budget for coffee underscores the complexity of the topic (and perhaps the myths to bust).  In contrast, bbq got 18 pages, and Nathan is an avid bbq'er.  Avid in the sense of being on a team that got some first place ribbons at the Memphis in May competition.

Apparently one of the lead authors (Chris Young -- one of the Fat Duck alumni) is "wild about cofffee".  There was an interview with him a few months ago on eater.com Click Here (eater.com)
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