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Nathan Myhrvold's $500 Cookbook Now an $80 iPhone App

timothy posted about 9 months ago | from the you-can't-grep-a-dead-tree dept.

IOS 193

Nathan Myhrvold's six-volume foodie encyclopedia, Modernist Cuisine, writes reader SmartAboutThings, is one of the most expensive cooking encyclopedias, the original six-volume version retailing for $500, with the two-volume addition that followed after that selling for $115. "Now, Nathan and his team have transformed their huge food encyclopedia into an iPhone/iPad app. It's not just a digital book, but rather an expensive $80 interactive app that can do more than just provide recipes. The interactive digital cookbook is the fruit of a development team of 10-15 people that have worked over nine months on the project. The app contains 37 technique videos, 416 recipes and 1,683 photos."

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Another slashvertizement! (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45444151)

Now I look forward to the .IPA!

Re:Another slashvertizement! (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45444349)

Another slashvertizement all right.

And so continues the once noble /.'s slip into undignified obscurity, one tepid and irrelevant sponsored submission at a time.

Re:Another slashvertizement! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45444381)

No shit. It's got to suck to be Rob Malda and see your once-nurtured baby struggling to keep it's head above water like this. The overlords at Dice should do the merciful thing and put Slashdot out of its misery once and for all.

Re:Another slashvertizement! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45445083)

it's means it is. Could you retards get that into your trisomic brains once and for all?

Re: Another slashvertizement! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45445265)

"It's" could also mean "it has", which makess ense in this case.

Re:Another slashvertizement! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45445431)

You only get to speak to me that way during class. Don't you have papers to grade? GTFO.

Re:Another slashvertizement! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45445045)

Slashdot always has had articles discussing commercial products. And until universal replicators exist with free feed stocks, there is going to be a non-empty intersection between things tech geeks are interested and things that are sold commercially.

alternatively (5, Informative)

ihtoit (3393327) | about 9 months ago | (#45444211)

you could just mirror recipesource.com and dump it on an old notebook. Made the missus well happy, that did.

Re:alternatively (5, Informative)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about 9 months ago | (#45444699)

Ever since coming down with stage 4 kidney failure, I've had to do a lot of cooking of my own food, and that was starting from basically knowing nothing. I've learned the vast majority of my technique from youtube, which offers not just one person's technique but many. I'd be quite surprised if this cookbook or even the app had any information that couldn't be found on youtube.

For example, there are tons of videos that show you how to properly choose a chef's knife (word to the wise, most people have very dull knives in their kitchen - very dangerous and makes food preparation so much slower, but they don't know the difference as they've never actually had a good sharp knife) and how to properly cut different types of foods. It may sound elementary, but try going on youtube and looking up how to dice an onion, you may find a technique that is much better than what you've been doing which will save you time.

(By the way, Victorinox 40520 is easily the best starter knife you can get, has a lifetime warranty, and even well seasoned chefs tend to love it and it is cheap if you buy it as part of a kit.)

Re:alternatively (2)

Joce640k (829181) | about 9 months ago | (#45445049)

Also learn to hold the knife at the right angle and move it properly.

It's one of those things that people think they don't need to learn. It's just a knife, right? How hard can it be?

Learn how to sharpen one, too. No knife edge lasts forever. That metal stick you see people rubbing knives on? That's a stropper, not a sharpener. Stropping a knife does nothing once the edge is gone. It has to be re-sharpened first.

Re:alternatively (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45445171)

That metal stick you see people rubbing knives on? That's a stropper, not a sharpener. Stropping a knife does nothing once the edge is gone.

These days it really depends. There are still plenty of those that come with kits that are just a stropper, but now many include an abrasive and are quite capable of actually sharpening the knife. if you are bored and cheap enough, you can take a rather dull knife and actually get it sharp enough with a decent one, but it isn't that efficient. If you can regularly keep the knife sharp, it is good enough, but if you need a more serious sharpening from time to time, then you would still need to invest in a sharpening stone.

Re:alternatively (1)

ihtoit (3393327) | about 9 months ago | (#45445225)

all my kitchen knives are sharp enough to shave with. They terrify my wife*. I treat every blade I buy to a fresh bevel through three different whetstones from 400-1800 grit (washita, waterstone and polish with an Arkansas Black), and I mean practically every blade that'll take a new edge. Once the bevels are done, I never have to go back to the washita on the same blade.

*she has her own set which are finished with the 1000 grit waterstone. I won't touch 'em for use 'cos they're not "me" sharp.

Re:alternatively (2)

milkmage (795746) | about 9 months ago | (#45445323)

"invest in a sharpening stone" and run the risk of ruining your knives.

I take mine to the butcher shop about 2x a year. they sharpen for free ;)

Re:alternatively (1)

ledow (319597) | about 8 months ago | (#45445961)

Am I the only one thinking that no matter how little I spent on getting a "real" knife, and sharpener, and whetstone, and all the other crap other commenters suggest, and the time spent researching, choosing, and maintaining such equipment, it still wouldn't be worth my time compared to doing it "wrong"?

Sorry, guys, but the food tastes the same no matter how you cut it, and 99% of the time the cut ends up in the blender or oven where it makes absolutely zero difference.

If you were into sailing, or even backwoods skills, or something like scuba diving where the right knife might save your life or save you literally SO MUCH TIME that it will be worth that, then maybe. But to slice a tomato? No.

Tell you what, I'll carry on chopping them with my old blunt kitchen knives and crap technique (honed over years of being clumsy-as-shite and the only way I can cut without chopping my fingers off) and enjoy the damn food, which will taste the same but have cost me less money overall for not buying some Victorinox (enough to make me cringe that you even mention that company's name, a sell-out maker who makes most of its money selling crap swiss-army knives) shite just to cut open an onion.

Re:alternatively (5, Insightful)

master_kaos (1027308) | about 9 months ago | (#45445385)

The thing about this book, is it isn't so much about the recipes but the SCIENCE and techniques of food. This set of books is meant for an upcoming professional chef. I bet 3/4 the recipes use either equipment or techniques that no home cook would have/know about
Sure you get a basic recipe from allrecipes.com (most of them just mediocre, I bet there are only a few gems that would be just as good/better than a 5 star restuarant). It is one thing reading a recipe and following, but do you know WHY they use the method they choose, why one food reacts with a different one the way it does.
Proper technique also makes a huge difference. I could put a handful ingredients along with a recipe on your counter, and exact same ingredients with exact same recipe on a professional chefs, and I pretty much guarantee you the professional chefs will taste better.

Also, how many typical home cooks are using sous vide technique to cook their meat, using liquid nitrogen for desserts, using a centrifuge to make beef stock. This set of books also use a ton of ingredients that you would not find at your local grocery store, or even a local specialty store, I bet quite a few need to be special ordered.

I am not saying you need to be a professional chef to make good food, of course not, nor do you need to know all of the techniques, or have all the crazy equipment. I was just stating this volume of books is not just your typical $10 recipe book that you find on amazon.

Re:alternatively (2)

muridae (966931) | about 8 months ago | (#45445925)

With the number of counter-top vacuum preserver devices, doing sous vide in home is not that hard. It's not as perfect as a full industrial vacu-sealer, but it works. Additionally, LN isn't too hard to get in small amounts as an engineer; and for in-house use you could use dry ice or LCO2 from a fire extinguisher.

But I'm one of those home cooks who likes trying crazy chemistry shit, and has the gear and respect for the chemicals to do it safely. Might have gone to the cooking industry if I had gotten into cooking sooner. So the big set of books is still something I want, but couldn't justify the $500 for. Bet they'd look pretty in PDF format, even if the pictures were lower resolution.

Re:alternatively (3, Insightful)

sammy baby (14909) | about 8 months ago | (#45446105)

There is actually a separate edition of the book called Modernist Cuisine at Home [modernistcuisine.com] which is specifically tailored to home chefs who want to try out the techniques, for substantially less money than the full version. Actually, the ebook which is the topic of the article is based on the "at Home" edition, which means the price differential between the ebook and dead tree version is only about thirty bucks, not several hundred.

Wow (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45444213)

You know you can just type the name of any dish into google and get dozens of recipes, videos and pictures, right?

But I like the advertisment, your PR team is awesome to have submitted this to slashdot!

Re:Wow (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45444393)

Much like books on technical/theoretical software topics, even though the information is out there and relatively accessible sometimes it's nice to have it all together in a consistent and well thought out collection. Yes there's a tonne of easily available perl resources on the net, but the camel book guides you from start to finish at a consistent pace, using consistent terminology, etc..

I have the two volume set, and it's nice (posting AC, so by all means assume I'm a paid shill).

I do agree that this isn't really newsworthy from a technical perspective and probably doesn't belong here.

Re:Wow (1)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | about 9 months ago | (#45444447)

But I like the advertisment, your PR team is awesome to have submitted this to slashdot!

Yeah. It's a very exclusive and highly selective process to get a story on Slashdot.

Hopefully from here on we'll be seeing a story for every single iOS/Android app release.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45444991)

Sometimes that is a bug, not a feature. Searching for recipes can sometimes result in too much returns, and sorting through the results to find a good one can take quite a bit of effort, and frequently, a lot of knowledge and experience. Finding a particular cookbook you like and trust as the first place to go when looking for a recipe can make a huge difference in amount of effort to try something new. Once you get enough experience, you might not need a book any more other than rough proportion reminder, but it can make a difference in the learning curve. Sometimes a good blog will work well too if you agree and trust the author's recipes, although those tend to be more random in terms of what recipes are covered.

Re:Wow (1)

wiredlogic (135348) | about 9 months ago | (#45445183)

Not only that but Google has a special recipe search tool that will let you specify certain combinations of ingredients and find recipes that incorporate them.

Its free over (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45444217)

Re:Its free over (3, Interesting)

dmbasso (1052166) | about 9 months ago | (#45444377)

Interesting, I think it is the first time I see a link to copyright infringing material here. Will it be deleted?

Re:Its free over (4, Informative)

glavenoid (636808) | about 9 months ago | (#45444435)

Were you here for the scientology clambake/xenu thing like 13 years ago? Scientology sued Slashdot to get an embarrassing copyrighted comment deleted and Slashdot was coerced into compliance. The subsequent Slashdot story about the comment being deleted was in the old Slashdot faq (or maybe hall-of-fame or something) that used to be in the left navbar but now seems to be missing.

There also may have been a time when a link to windows 2000 source code within a comment was deleted but I don't remember if it actually was. I think CmdrTaco et al may have fought and won to keep the comment but my memory on Slashdot lore isn't that good any more.

Re:Its free over (0)

sconeu (64226) | about 9 months ago | (#45444519)

Unfortunately Dice.com owns Slashdot now, and they don't give a shit about integrity.

(It's amazing, isn't it? I post a negative comment about Dice/Slashdot and I have to wait 5 minutes between posts to post it instead of the usual 2, or occasional 1).

Re:Its free over (0)

demonlapin (527802) | about 9 months ago | (#45445341)

So is there anywhere decent you'd recommend? I used /. for years before signing up for an account, so my userid is pretty high, but I've been here since '98 or so.

Everyone complains that Slashdot sucks these days, but I don't see anyone recommending alternatives.

Re:Its free over (0)

Wycliffe (116160) | about 9 months ago | (#45445595)

I think it depends on what you're interested in. Most of the other sites I follow like newscientist.com and
machineslikeus.com although they have tech stuff also have alot more medical stuff. Google news also
has a tech section. I like slashdot. It's about as good as any for my interests and honestly advertisement
or not this article seems to fit the "news for nerds" if for no other reason that I find it interesting that
someone is selling an $80 app where the average price is probably closer to $2.

Re:Its free over (1)

demonlapin (527802) | about 8 months ago | (#45445831)

Thanks, hadn't heard of MLU. I'm more interested in community - I'm still modestly involved in the Ars Technica forums, but I've completely given up on the front page of the site.

Re:Its free over (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 8 months ago | (#45446187)

Slashdot rocks like Slayer. You don't know why you like it?: It's better than 'work' through the week, goes great with a Whiskey at night, and it's there faithful as an old hound 24/7 ... no matter what time you get crafty.

Re:Its free over (2, Insightful)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | about 9 months ago | (#45444667)

See, this is a link TO a link, that links to copyright infringing material. Even the lawyers have to be careful how many steps removed they go after, else they will be going after the entire internet

Re:Its free over (2)

jones_supa (887896) | about 9 months ago | (#45444793)

Interesting, I think it is the first time I see a link to copyright infringing material here. Will it be deleted?

You must be new here. Slashdot is heavily pro-piracy.

Re:Its free over (1)

glavenoid (636808) | about 9 months ago | (#45444949)

Slashdot users may be, on average, but I don't think the suits at dice holdings, inc. would really appreciate potentially violating an advertising agreement they have with the company that ostensibly paid to have this submission put to the top of the queue by allowing a link to a pirated version of the commercial book that the app being advertised is based on.

Re:Its free over (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 9 months ago | (#45445081)

Ha ha ha. :D

Re:Its free over (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45445935)

Appropriate.

Nathan Myhrvold [businessinsider.com] is also the man behind intellectual ventures, the company that buys out patents and sues companies making products based on them. I wonder if a lawsuit is on the way.

Re:Its free over (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45445139)

Don't be a dick. That's someone's hard work over there. Quite possibly literally their life's work. Don't be so disrespectful of it.

Re:Its free over (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45445437)

Don't be a dick. That's someone's hard work over there. Quite possibly literally their life's work. Don't be so disrespectful of it.

Hey I know a guy whose life work is summarized in this gun. Do me a favor and don't be so disrespectful of it. Lie down and die will ya? The fact that someone has put effort into something does not automatically grant respect. Little problem with your argument there.

So innovative (5, Funny)

hugg (22953) | about 9 months ago | (#45444227)

I wonder how the culinary specialists that first developed the techniques in his book are getting compensated for their innovations.

Re:So innovative (2)

TheloniousToady (3343045) | about 9 months ago | (#45444269)

Careful...with talk like that, you could prompt Myhrvold to become a copyright troll.

Re:So innovative (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 9 months ago | (#45444413)

I'm not trolling here -- honest -- but I have to ask honestly: who cares?

I saw an article about the "modernist" hamburger recipe from this book. Just about every ingredient in the burger is first saturated with beef suet (fat). Even the bun has fat smeared on it before grilling.

No matter how flavorful it is, it's not so much hamburger as greaseburger. Seriously, it must have about 4,000 calories.

I don't know what's "modern" or "modernist" about that. I thought smearing everything with lard before cooking went out of style about 80 years ago.

Re:So innovative (1)

pspahn (1175617) | about 9 months ago | (#45444445)

Certainly better than those assholes that think putting chunks of onion in the burger is the best way to go. Sure, I get it, you want your burgers to not be dry an mealy. Instead of ruining the burger with all that nasty onion flavor, just learn to cook properly.

Re:So innovative (1)

sribe (304414) | about 9 months ago | (#45444529)

... just learn to cook properly.

In other words, learn how and when to use a panade, something the French figured out a long time ago ;-)

Re:So innovative (1)

vux984 (928602) | about 9 months ago | (#45444973)

good idea, we could use an onion panade!
Seems like we've gone in a circle...

Re:So innovative (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45444995)

learn how to use a dagger?

Re:So innovative (1)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about 9 months ago | (#45445537)

I love lots of onion in the food I cook. Sweet, red, and scallion, and they can taste different ways depending on how you cook them. If you just don't like the bite, just cook them longer.

Re:So innovative (4, Informative)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 9 months ago | (#45444453)

Update: here's a picture of Myhrvold's "ultimate modernist burger". [seriouseats.com]

In addition to the loads of suet, it also uses fish sauce.

I can just about guarantee that if you knew how genuine fish sauce was made, you wouldn't put it in your mouth.

If that's "modernist" cuisine, I probably don't want any.

Re:So innovative (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45445009)

I can just about guarantee that if you knew how genuine fish sauce was made, you wouldn't put it in your mouth.

Or you can realize like a lot of foods you are not used to, millions of people get by just fine with a cuisines that uses it in many dishes.

Re:So innovative (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 9 months ago | (#45445115)

I can just about guarantee that if you knew how genuine fish sauce was made, you wouldn't put it in your mouth.

Grumph! Ehh, scratch that...garumph?

Re: So innovative (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45445371)

Don't be a twat.

Substitute Worcestershire sauce for the fish sauce and butter for the beef suet, and you've got two very common ingredients in hamburger recipes.

Wikipedia, on fish sauce:
"In English it was formerly translated as fishpickle. The original Worcestershire sauce is a related product because it is fermented and contains anchovies."

Beef suet contains just about 20% more calories than butter.

Re:So innovative (3, Informative)

St.Creed (853824) | about 9 months ago | (#45445391)

It is made by fermenting small whole fish in brine and drawing off the liquid, which is then bottled. I've got no problem with that.

Re:So innovative (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 8 months ago | (#45445873)

It is made by fermenting small whole fish in brine and drawing off the liquid, which is then bottled. I've got no problem with that.

No, it isn't. Unless you mean the Korean variety.

The biggest-selling brand in the world is made this way: Fish entrails (not whole fish... the meat is sold for food) are fermented. If, that is, by "fermented" you mean literally poured into barrels and left to rot, outside in the sun, for 2 years.

THEN, the liquid is poured off, and bottled. (It is cooked before bottling. So it's not going to make you ill in that sense.)

I watched the whole process from beginning to end on the food channel. I'll not intentionally and voluntarily consume it again after that.

Granted, the U.S. variety is made differently. But no doubt it tastes differently, too.

Re:So innovative (2)

FunkDup (995643) | about 8 months ago | (#45445669)

I can just about guarantee that if you knew how genuine fish sauce was made, you wouldn't put it in your mouth.

I counter-guarantee that if you knew how awesome and useful it is, you wouldn't care how it is made. It should be called "magic sauce"

Re:So innovative (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 8 months ago | (#45445979)

I counter-guarantee that if you knew how awesome and useful it is, you wouldn't care how it is made. It should be called "magic sauce"

Are you talking about the U.S. kind? It's made very differently.

But if you mean the most-sold brand in the world (which probably would be illegal to sell in the U.S.), yes, I do care how it's made. Even if every bite gave me an orgasm I still wouldn't touch it.

Re: So innovative (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45446139)

I'm actually surprised that making fish sauce does not involve the skankiest hooker on the planet bathing in stagnant ocean backwaters and squeezing the water from her vagina into little bottles.

That's how it tastes, anyway...

Re:So innovative (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45444469)

god, that sounds a w e s o m e. I have to spell it like that or else the dog will hear and attack me in anticipation of this marvelous treat. GOD DAMMIT! The dog attacked me because I accidently said "treat". ...twice, apparently.

Re:So innovative (2)

sconeu (64226) | about 9 months ago | (#45444487)

Whoosh.

Myrvhold and "Intellectual Ventures" are some of the biggest patent trolls on the planet. Hence the joke.

Re:So innovative (0)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 9 months ago | (#45444505)

Whoosh yourself. My point was: who cares?

Re:So innovative (1)

sconeu (64226) | about 9 months ago | (#45444555)

And some people don't get jokes, apparently.

I guess I'll have to petition W3C to officially put the HUMOR and SARCASM tags into the HTML5 spec.

Re:So innovative (1)

ButchDeLoria (2772751) | about 9 months ago | (#45444573)

Still won't be able to see them in IE.

Re:So innovative (0)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 9 months ago | (#45444659)

And some people don't get jokes, apparently.

I guess I'll have to petition W3C to officially put the HUMOR and SARCASM tags into the HTML5 spec.

You are the one not understanding. I got the joke. But WHO CARES?

I guess I'll have to petition W3C to add CLUE and PLAIN ENGLISH to their spec.

Re:So innovative (1)

sconeu (64226) | about 9 months ago | (#45444743)

Very well, since you're going to be so damned obtuse....

Myhrvold and IV are patent trolls, insisting that they be paid for every "innovation" that they come up with.

Unless Myhrvold came up with EVERY SINGLE technique and recipe in that book, he's using something someone else invented. Thus the OP's comment that he hopes that the inventors of the techniques are compensated. And again, obviously YOU care, or you wouldn't be continuing this thread.

If you care as little as you claim to, why don't you just ignore this whole thread? Because, as you say, "who cares?" if you don't care?

Re:So innovative (-1, Flamebait)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 9 months ago | (#45444843)

Repeat: YOU are the one being obtuse!

Repeat: I GOT THE JOKE.

Repeat: WHO CARES?

Re:So innovative (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45445203)

Apparently you care so much that CAPITAL LETTERS aren't enough. They have to be BOLDED CAPITAL LETTERS.

Re:So innovative (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 8 months ago | (#45446023)

Apparently you care so much that CAPITAL LETTERS aren't enough. They have to be BOLDED CAPITAL LETTERS.

Yep. READ THE THREAD.

I did NOT care about his joke. But I **DO** care when somebody calls me stupid because he thinks I didn't get his joke, and I had already explained to him 2-3 times before that the problem was not that I was stupid, but that I actually did get his joke and it WASN'T FUNNY.

Tell me: how else do you get the message across, if the other person isn't getting the clue after that? Huh?

For other readers: what kind of arrogance or narcissism does it take for the following train of thought?

Heh. I made a funny joke.

Hm... somebody didn't think it was funny.

That MUST mean that she didn't get the joke.

I will have to explain to this this person that she was stupid, 3 times, and that it was really satire.

Even though that person has tried to tell me just as many times that she really did get the joke, that isn't possible because she didn't think it was funny, and I told it, so it was funny.

Re:So innovative (0)

sconeu (64226) | about 9 months ago | (#45444721)

Oh, and apparently, YOU care, or you wouldn't have replied to this thread TWICE.

Re:So innovative (-1, Flamebait)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 9 months ago | (#45444859)

Oh, and apparently, YOU care, or you wouldn't have replied to this thread TWICE.

Just NO.

I do not care about the banal and unfunny joke.

What I replied to were clueless accusations that I didn't get it. I mean, come on, dude. How long is it going to take, and how many repetitions, before you understand that I get the joke but don't think it's funny?

I don't normally wish for patent trolls to attack (1)

larry bagina (561269) | about 9 months ago | (#45444283)

but in this case, I shall make an exception!

More hype? (5, Insightful)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | about 9 months ago | (#45444301)

From TFA:

Among the top features that the Modernist Cuisine app comes with are the high-resolutions pictures and the ability to search within the app's own information which will also fetch extra data from Wikipedia and other web services.

Wow, an app that can search its own information! And use that cool web resources like Wikipedia!

As someone who admired the photography from the original book, though, the high-res photography is awesome.

Unfortunately, that's about all the book was good for, at least unless you're some professional chef with a large budget and a bunch of fancy equipment. I find it hilarious that TFA makes it sound like a regular cooking and recipe app:

the recipe cards dynamically adjust the measure of ingredients you'll need to yield a given number of servings, then add these items to a shopping list.

Have people even looked at the book? The exotic ingredients used in many recipes aren't exactly the sort of things you can find at your typical supermarket. Even if you have the centrifuge and other fancy equipment needed to prepare some things, you're going to have to special order a lot of ingredients... not just pack your iPhone in your purse and head off to the grocery store.

The hype for this book was huge, with people claiming that it revolutionize the way we would cook and introduce a whole new "scientific" approach to cooking. That was complete nonsense -- it's more about fancy technology and fancy ingredients, with lots of fun pictures. If you like $600 coffee-table books, by all means, get a copy... or maybe get the photos for a steal in an $80 iPad app.

I know I'm a dissenting voice on this book, but all the blather about using "science" in cooking really bothered me. I'm actually the scientific type of cook -- I have many digital thermometers, scales, a pH meter, and many other precision devices, along with a "lab notebook" (journal) of my kitchen "experiments."

But this book is more about presenting pretentious culinary "culture" that uses lots of technology as if it were "science." That's not science. It's just somebody's wacky cooking vision. I'm not saying the food is bad, but claiming that their approach is "better" is rarely backed up by any data... therefore, it's hardly "scientific."

Anyhow, I could go on about this for some time, and already have here [amazon.com] . But from my experience with this book, I'm a little hesitant about recommending the $80 app, unless you just like paying that much for a lot of pretty pictures.

Re:More hype? (1)

whoever57 (658626) | about 9 months ago | (#45444405)

Wow, an app that can search its own information! And use that cool web resources like Wikipedia!

So he is leeching off the work of many people and resources provided to a non-profit in order to make money? Way to go for someone so investing in intellectual property rights!

I hope the app provides the appropriate attributions for photos and such licensed under a creative commons license.

Re:More hype? (1)

Threni (635302) | about 9 months ago | (#45444847)

On the positive side, this app is "just" $80! That's all it costs! Not a dollar more!

Re:More hype? (2)

pspahn (1175617) | about 9 months ago | (#45444475)

Indeed. You can pick up a copy of Cook's Illustrated "Best Recipes" and "More Best Recipes" for about $10 at a book store. While yes, they might give you a comparison of which $200 pan is the best, their process is fascinating.

Re:More hype? (2)

rasmusbr (2186518) | about 9 months ago | (#45444931)

But this book is more about presenting pretentious culinary "culture" that uses lots of technology as if it were "science." That's not science. It's just somebody's wacky cooking vision. I'm not saying the food is bad, but claiming that their approach is "better" is rarely backed up by any data... therefore, it's hardly "scientific."

Then it truly is modernist cuisine. At least the book is aptly named.

Destined to be undercut (1)

Dr. Manhattan (29720) | about 9 months ago | (#45444343)

If it's not a casual purchase, the audience is sharply limited. Someone will come out with something at least 80% as good for less than a twentieth the price.

That's what I did [google.com] when an app came out with an insulting pricetag [engadget.com] .

Re:Destined to be undercut (1)

NoMaster (142776) | about 9 months ago | (#45445023)

Dude, it doesn't count as a slashvertisement unless it's mentioned in an article approved by an 'editor'.
In order of increasing difficulty, it goes

  1. Mention your own app in your .sig.
  2. Mention your own app in a comment
  3. Get a slashvertisement for your app posted by Timothy
  4. Get someone else to mention your app in a comment

Almost any fool can mention their own app in a comment...

Wants to be FREE! Set it FREE! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45444367)

This is screaming for a freebird version so let's see it as soon as the copy presses can start like right NOW!

Joy of Cooking (1)

mdsolar (1045926) | about 8 months ago | (#45446161)

I have a Chinese knockoff version of the Joy of Cooking. The binding has fallen apart though. Interesting that a book with recipes for roadkill is sold in Taiwan. Not a lot of possum or raccoon to be found there. They do like snake though. Recipes do like to be shared.

I'd spent my money somewhere tastier (1)

Behrooz Amoozad (2831361) | about 9 months ago | (#45444427)

Why would I pay $500/80 for a book and god knows how much for the ingredients and mess up each food a dozen times to get a half-decent meal which I wouldn't know how it should taste before eating it made by professional chefs who actually know what they are doing and cost less?
/restauRANT

Re:I'd spent my money somewhere tastier (3, Interesting)

ledow (319597) | about 8 months ago | (#45445907)

1) You wouldn't, obviously.
2) People cook for lots of reasons, not all of them are based on your argument.
3) Home cooking can be cheaper than anything you buy pre-cooked elsewhere - or else restaurants wouldn't be able to make a profit selling it.
4) Not everyone is a dolt in the kitchen. Home cooking is rarely a "dozen attempts" kind of thing if you have anywhere near half a brain and have done it a few times before. Those that are dolts need recipes to follow to become "non-dolts".
5) Home cooking can be prepared when you like, how you like, without having to try a dozen restaurants that are open when you want and where the cook is one that you happen to like (how many attempts would that take you, trying all your local restaurants?) - there isn't a "professional chef" in the world that will cook to you exact preferences, or else there's no point being a chef. You get what you're given, and the modifications you can make apply to the removal of certain ingredients and choosing how well done you want it.
6) Cooking, in itself, is a hobby.

More to the point, the argument I would propose, is why do you need to pay someone to tell you approximate proportions of ingredients when the web is full of millions of free recipes (many of them reviewed, and even ripped directly from recipe books without attribution) and you can't really "copyright" a recipe - you can copyright the exact text, the arrangement of them within a book, the photos of the dishes, etc. but there's not much to stop people sharing recipes and their own variations of your recipes.

My girlfriend's "recipe shelf" is full of more scrap cut out from newspapers, handwritten notebooks of recipes from friends/family, and photocopies of single recipes that she happened to like than anything else.

Re:I'd spent my money somewhere tastier (1)

RespekMyAthorati (798091) | about 8 months ago | (#45445913)

It's just Myrvold saying to the world:
"I'm so rich I can force a useless over-priced piece of crap on the market, and there's nothing you can do about it."

Wrong book, SmartAboutThings. (5, Informative)

qXUSrfebDy (3434625) | about 9 months ago | (#45444449)

Looking at the app, this isn't the voluminous $500 set that's been digitized. It's the ~$110 watered down version for home chefs. [amazon.com] The home version is a bit more than just a "two-volume addition" tacked onto the original. It's a compendium of simpler recipes taken from the original volumes with preparations that gel well with what regular chefs can get their hands on.

It's still a fantastic book for wannabe kitchen scientists but it seems the author got a little too excited in writing his sensational headline.

Re:Wrong book, SmartAboutThings. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45445377)

Looking at the app, this isn't the voluminous $500 set that's been digitized. It's the ~$110 watered down version for home chefs. [amazon.com] The home version is a bit more than just a "two-volume addition" tacked onto the original. It's a compendium of simpler recipes taken from the original volumes with preparations that gel well with what regular chefs can get their hands on.

It's still a fantastic book for wannabe kitchen scientists but it seems the author got a little too excited in writing his sensational headline.

best part is you don't have to buy the $500 book. Use world catalog and find out which is your closest library that has it.

http://www.worldcat.org/search?q=modernist+cuisine+the+art+and+science+of+cooking

Re:Wrong book, SmartAboutThings. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45446185)

Also the home version is the same recipes twice, one in a giant coffee table sized book with lots of photos, the second a spiral bound kitchen book with waterproof pages (but still a finishing issue that causes pages to stick together terribly)

Patent Lawsuit (1)

sybarongo (787923) | about 9 months ago | (#45444485)

It'd really suck if someone with a patent covering distributing recipes using interactive devices were to sue him.

Re:Patent Lawsuit (1)

Behrooz Amoozad (2831361) | about 9 months ago | (#45445175)

Don't worry, the patent dosen't cover rounded-corner devices this time.

"It was at this point that I..." (1)

tlambert (566799) | about 9 months ago | (#45444511)

"It was at this point that I set the device with the charged Lithium battery on the still hot cooktop and turned to chip the celery".

Misleading summary, as usual. (5, Informative)

westlake (615356) | about 9 months ago | (#45444533)

The app is based on "Modernist Cuisine at Home" not the $500 50 pound reference set for the professional chef.

This is a "modern" (or Modernist) cookbook, so the recipes inside are going to be closer to what you'd find in a restaurant that uses an obscure adjective for it's title rather than what you'd see in your grandmother's kitchen. If the idea of cooking a beautiful cut of salmon in a Ziploc bag seems blasphemous, or using a digital scale instead of an elephant-shaped measuring cup is akin to high treason, you may not be ready to make the jump.

Modernist Cuisine at Home [amazon.com] introduces a consolidated set of kitchen tools and gadgets that the home chef can reasonably afford. Don't have the funds for the laboratory-grade centrifuge featured in "Modernist Cuisine?" No problem. Not only does MCAH omit the prohibitively expensive tools from its recipes, but many of them are the same recipes found in the original, redone for the home cook. MCAH even goes as far as offering several options at varying price ranges for the equipment used within.

The same goes for the ingredients. MCAH mostly does away with the laundry list of exotic spices and chemicals featured in many "modernist" cookbooks and instead relies on ingredients you can find either at the local grocery store, or in reasonable quantities online. For the ingredients you are probably less familiar with (malic acid? agar agar?) there is a two-page spread detailing what each does, where it comes from, and what it costs. In many cases, the recipes will list alternatives if you choose not to add their recommendations to your shopping list.

[purchaser review]

Re:Misleading summary, as usual. (1)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | about 9 months ago | (#45444615)

It's not just the summary, but also TFA itself that is misleading then:

[The original Modernist Cuisine] is also one of the most expensive cooking encyclopedias, the original six volume version retailing for $500, with the two-volume that followed after that selling for $115. Now, Nathan and his team have transformed their huge food encyclopedia into an iPhone/iPad app.

I don't know about you, but when I read that, I assumed the app was based on the "huge" original version or even BOTH versions, probably edited in some way to make it work as an app.

But the appstore link makes it clear that you're paying for the modified "home" version. So even if the book is COMPLETELY available in the app, you're paying $80 for a book that costs about $120.

"at home" is not the full version (1)

forevermore (582201) | about 9 months ago | (#45444589)

This app is a digital version of the $115 "at home" version (2 volumes is a stretch -- one is a spiral bound version without the photos so you don't have to feel bad spilling on it while using it to cook), not the full $600 professional set. FWIW, I own the printed "at home" version (it goes on sale occasionally for under $100) and think it's great, but not enough that I'd be willing to shell out another $80 for a digital copy (not even $40, since they offered a discount to the owners of the printed version). $80 for a digital version of the full set? I'd be all over that. But this isn't that.

Save your money (5, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 9 months ago | (#45444625)

Just use lots of butter.

Re:Save your money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45444823)

and salt.. and dont forget the ketchup.. everything's better covered in good ol' ketchup!

Re:Save your money (3, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 9 months ago | (#45445327)

You joke, but I remember seeing a cookbook that was "200 Delicious Recipes With Only Three Ingredients" and with ever single one of the recipes, one of the ingredients was butter.

Last recipe? (1)

Tony Loro (3149089) | about 9 months ago | (#45444907)

Troll well done.

I actually own the book (1)

kungfool (949878) | about 9 months ago | (#45444953)

The book that this app is based on (Modernist Cuisine at Home, the ~15lb book, not the 50lb reference) is actually a great book for the home cook. It has a great deal of information on technique that defies the traditionalist view of how to cook just about anything. While $80 is still a ridiculous price for an app, the book is a reference for any one who is a serious home cook.

Re:I actually own the book (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45446151)

There are many other, cheaper references for serious home cooks as well. You got seriously cheated.

I don't care how good the recipes might be (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 9 months ago | (#45445011)

I'll never purchase anything with Nathan Myhrvold's name attached to it. In my opinion, the world would be a better place if he weren't part of it.

Isn't this part of an old fad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45445095)

Wasn't sous vide a fad a few years ago? My impression of the whole thing was that you had a bunch of people paying somebody 10X the price of normal food to cook slowly at temperatures that skated on the thin ice of allowing deadly bacteria to not be killed. Once you've done it and met all the right people, you just move on to the next fad, whatever that is... like..., umm.... one of the first few google hits [bonappetit.com] for that, where I see "smoked everything" is one of the trends. So, no thanks for your out-of-date tech cooking thing. I've got hickory smoked kale to tend to. If you don't do it just right, it... damn! Ruined. See what you made me do?

INSANE PRICE!!! (1)

danielk1982 (868580) | about 9 months ago | (#45445217)

$80 for software?!?! What is this, 2005? ....

Re:INSANE PRICE!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45446167)

You must have missed the part where it said "Apple". 100 bucks is expensive for an HDMI cable too, but you wouldn't be surprised if it was mentioned in a Monster article.

$500 to $80 (2)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | about 8 months ago | (#45445821)

They're gonna sell 6.25 times more anyway, thanks to iPhones and the like.
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