Modernist cuisine website up

The website to accompany Modernist cuisine is up now. It showcases stunning pictures and example pages, the complete table of contents available in pdf format, details on the exceptional printing quality (stochastic screening and wide gamut inks in case you wondered…) as well as introductions to each volume: History and fundamentals, Techniques and equipment, Animals and plants, Ingredients and preparations, Plated dish recipes – and each page of these pages has additional pictures. It turns out that in addition to the five main volumes there is a 350 page spiral-bound kitchen manual printed on waterproof, tear-resistant synthetic paper (!) with condensed versions of the recipes. And their FAQ page let me know that the complete word count is 650,000. I’ve been looking forward to these books for quite some time, but seeing the pictures just got me to start counting down the days left until December 1st.

The covers shown below give you an idea of what to expect from the photographs throughout the books. On the website many more example pictures confirm that they have indeed paid an extreme attention to not only documenting the work of a 20+ team, but to also do it in a very beautiful, clean, appealing and artistic manner as well. So all in all these books will combine food, science, technology and superb photographs. What more could we wish for?

Not that it matters, but I noticed that on their “buy” page the cover for volumes 1 and 2 look slightly different from those listed on the press page:

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Filed under: books, molecular gastronomy

Comments

  1. I väntans tider: Modernist Cuisine, Keys to Good Cooking, Matmolekyler — Matmolekyler på Taffel.se Says:

    [...] vår vän Martin såg jag att sajten för Modernist Cuisine är uppe nu. Det handlar alltså om det stora [...]

  2. Shai Says:

    The book looks really cool but at this price I’ll wait for the ebook version…

  3. Martin Lersch Says:

    … if there will ever be an ebook version. They have addressed this on their FAQ page. A b/w version for Kindle is probably totally out of the question because of all the color photos. And the iPad, despite the color display, probably is too small to do such a book justice. And considering the work that would be required to port the book to an electronic format – and because the circulation is limited – an ebook may still be several years away.

  4. wattacetti Says:

    Well, I’m certainly stoked. I can’t sit here and stare at the pictures all day (which I would like to) as there’s this little thing called a day job, but I’ll certainly be waiting with you on the December 01 launch date.

    So now we have the length; I’m now curious about the weight.

  5. per Says:

    I wonder how long we have to wait for a norwegian translation of the book. If there will be one..

  6. Ryan Matthew Smith Says:

    Since we are still in production the covers have not yet been finalized! Don’t be surprised to see a couple of changes until we wrap up (hopefully very soon!)

    The total weight should come in at around 30-40 lbs

  7. Martin Lersch Says:

    Ryan: Thanks for the update! 13-18 kg is certainly going to be a weighty argument in favor of modernist cooking :)

  8. Luis Says:

    I would expect from Nathan Myhrvold background and for the price some technology involved, multimedia or something included.

  9. Modernist Cuisine - buy it in the US | ivanshaw.com Says:

    [...] it way back in June (here). You can read Martin Lersch’s take here (about the pre-order) and here (about the associated [...]

  10. Ryan Matthew Smith Says:

    We have posted a 20 page excerpt from the Modernist Cuisine book on our site. It is available as a free download on our site http://modernistcuisine.com/docs/ModernistCuisine_About%20the%20book_spreads.pdf, and is also at Scribd.

    The excerpt explains the story of the book. It also explains the content of each chapter, how we took the photographs and a lot of information about the recipes. I think you’ll find it interesting.

  11. David Barzelay Says:

    “…considering the work that would be required to port the book to an electronic format…”

    They already have it in an electronic format! Unless each copy is hand-transcribed by monks (which would, at least, justify the price), they already have it in a perfect format to distribute. In order to print it, they almost certainly had to export to PDFs. Now all they need to do is downsample those PDFs to a lower resolution so the files fit on a DVD. Any geek can do that in a few hours, myself included. That’s why they could easily release the table of contents in PDF format. And it would be trivial to convert the PDFs to a format for Apple products.

    Personally, I very much want the content in the book, especially the text, but I don’t want the books taking up tons of space on the shelves of my small apartment. I would greatly prefer the electronic version, even aside from the costs. But considering that the printing costs of something that gorgeous must be an enormous percentage of the book costs, it seems like they ought to be able to offer a MUCH cheaper electronic version, even if it’s just PDFs on a DVD. That makes a prospective electronic version even more attractive.

    I will never be willing to pay $500 for this (or any) set of books. But I’d happily pay $75 for a DVD with the PDFs. And aside from restaurants, I am their target demographic: a molecular gastronomy enthusiast with a fair amount of disposable income.

    When it comes down to it, this book costs as much as a decent immersion circulator. Or a Rancilio Silvia espresso machine. Or 1/3 as much as a chamber vac. I can’t imagine ever reaching a point where I couldn’t find something better to spend $625 on than a book that I’d rather have in a searchable electronic format, anyway.

  12. Maus Says:

    “They already have it in an electronic format! Unless each copy is hand-transcribed by monks (which would, at least, justify the price), they already have it in a perfect format to distribute. In order to print it, they almost certainly had to export to PDFs.”

    Uh, PDF is not the applicable eBook format for a 500$ book. I appreciate that you’re not fond of DRM, but there’s more involved in the publishing and release of a multiplatform ebook than a simple PDF translation, and “just chuck the PDF on a DVD” is not a business model.

  13. David Barzelay Says:

    Fair enough, but from PDF it’s trivially easy to convert it to all the applicable eBook formats. And it isn’t a $500 book. It’s a $100 book in a $400 outdated medium.

  14. David Barzelay Says:

    And yes, I mean that all physical books are in an outdated medium. They are mainly useful for nostalgia and display (neither which are invalid reasons).

  15. Ryan Matthew Smith Says:

    see http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?/topic/130414-modernist-cuisine-by-nathan-myhrvold-chris-young/page__st__90 for some more info on why we are not working on an e-book edition at this time

  16. pss Says:

    I will never be willing to pay $500 for this (or any) set of books. But I’d happily pay $75 for a DVD with the PDFs. And aside from restaurants, I am their target demographic: a molecular gastronomy enthusiast with a fair amount of disposable income.

  17. fooducation Says:

    Short correction: the book is due March 2011 according to the web site (delayed?)

  18. ++MIRA++ Says:

    I love flipping thru pages and scribbling. I also appreciate all the work that went into photos and layout etc…Would love to get my hands on these, but probably won’t shell out $500. It would be great to have a CD version or something, though that may never happen. For now I will just continue drooling.

  19. Pjotr Says:

    Well, at that price it makes me sad to conclude that the enormous amount of valuable knowledge contained in this book will be available to the extremely wealthy. And I wonder how many of them actually bother to cook themselves ;-) How frustrating that must be for the author and all those whose knowledge contributed to the book.

  20. Peter Durand Says:

    Man oh man. These responses sure sound like sour grapes to me. Don’t want to buy the book? Fine.

  21. Michael M. Says:

    I’m a little confused as to why the authors are so resistant to offering a digital version of this book when so many people have commented that is what they want to buy. I’ve read the debate on other websites and it still doesn’t make sense. Yet people still request it. It’s like when the movie industry kept telling consumers that they don’t want to watch movies at home because they won’t get the full experience. But now the home movie watching industry is larger than the theater counterparts. Listen to the audience. They speak for a reason. They won’t lie to you.

    The biggest claim is that a book offers the flexibility that an electronic version doesn’t. All of my friends who are into cooking have a laptop in the kitchen. That is the modern home cook. Ironic that book is presenting the modern view of cuisine yet fails to recognize how people use information today.

    The book looks incredible, something that deserves my money. I want to be able to search 2400 pages for all the references to bok choy or vinegar. Or bookmark favorite sections in an instant. I want to read it in bed for casual browsing instead of bringing a 2400 page behemoth with me. Or on the airplane or beach or anywhere else a 30lb book isn’t convenient.

    Mark my words, it will happen one day when the authors catch up with the times. Hopefully before someone else beats them to it and produces online versions of the information.

  22. Derrek Schlottmann Says:

    I can understand the desire to have a more cost effective option, but keep in mind the years of work that have gone into making this. I looked at my pastry textbook and it cost me $90. So the actual cost (if you don’t pre-order for a pretty good discount), is not that far off from the cost of textbooks. As for just an electronic copy, that pretty much invalidates what Nathan has said of the endeavor on the Modernist Cuisine site. I’m more than happy to put away some money each month to get a huge collection of knowledge. I’m sure my guests and customers will ultimately benefit from what I will learn. I’ve also found that my kindle version of cooks illustrated just is not easy to browse and dig out the information I may be looking for at the time.