Archive for the ‘recommendations’ Category

Books for your Christmas wish list

Friday, December 16th, 2011

A couple of books have caught my eye during the year and have naturally made their way into my Christmas wish list (and some I’ve already ordered myself). Please let me know if there are books you belive should be on this list that I have missed.
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Wonders of extraction: Brewing beer

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

Talking to a friend last year who is an avid home brewer made me realize how little I knew about beer and brewing. Inspired by what I learnt from the conversation I started reading Palmer’s How to brew which is essential for starters, but soon I also turned to Brigg’s Brewing – Science and practice and Priest’s Handbook of Brewing which are more rewarding if you’re a scientist. The first two steps in brewing beer – mashing and wort boiling – are really quite sophisticated extractions. And there is a lot of chemistry involved, so brewing beer seemed to me like an obvious extension of all my other interests. This is also the reason why I wanted to include a post about brewing in the Wonders of extraction series. The pictures for this blog post were taken as I brewed and bottled my latest batch, an American India Pale Ale.

Having read quite a lot about beer I soon found myself in the kitchen brewing my very first German wheat beer in August last year. I had decided that to familiarize myself with brewing (more…)

Available for pre-order: The Kitchen as Laboratory

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

A book I’ve been looking forward to for a long time is The Kitchen as Laboratory: Reflections on the Science of Food and Cooking. It is now available for pre-order with expected delivery on January 31st, 2012. Work on the book began back in 2008, and that year coincidentally marked the 20th anniversary of But the crackling is superb, a refreshing anthology on the science of cooking and eating edited by Nicholas and Giana Kurti. The editors of The Kitchen as Laboratory, Cesar Vega Morales, Job Ubbink and Erik van van der Linden, wanted to continue in the spirit of this book. Through 35 essays the invited chefs, scientists and cooks explore topics of their choice, often based on experiments in their own kitchen. This includes a contribution by me on the Maillard reaction and how we – often without thinking about it – increase it’s rate in different ways when cooking. As for the other contributions, based on the preliminary lists all I can say is that I look forward to read the book!

Cooking science – condensed matter

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

The book Cooking science – Condensed matter by Adria Vicenc came out last year, but only recently did it appear on my radar. This 75 page preview suggests that it is part coffee table book and part documentation of modern Catalan cuisine combined with short essays on various topics such as food preservation and synaesthetic cooking. Add to that a dash of technology and large photos and descriptions of a sous vide water bath, a rotary evaporator, a freeze drier etc. It’s kind of like a light version of Modernist Cuisine. In his introduction Ferran Adria states that: (more…)

Book review: Ideas in food – Great recipes and why they work

Friday, August 19th, 2011

Readers well aquianted with the food blogosphere will likely be familiar with Aki Kamozawa and Alex Talbot’s blog Ideas in food. Since December 2004 they have generously shared pictures, ideas, insights and inspirations online. As chefs they have eagerly integrated modernist techniques and elements in their cooking, allowing technology to improve their cooking whenever possible. No wonder I’ve been a long time follower of their blog! And needless to say I was also exicted to receive a review copy of their recent book Ideas in food: Great recipes and why they work.

First and foremost the book is a great collection of ideas explored by the authors. The ideas are exemplified through recipes (about 100 in total) which showcase the creativity of the authors, from the simple (more…)

O happy day

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011


Can you guess what’s inside?
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Harvard lecture series on science and cooking returns in September

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

The immensly popular Science & Cooking public lecture series offered by Harvard will return on September 6. Seating last year was on a first come, first serve basis, and apparently many talks were full hours before they started. So be warned if you plan to attend in person. Luckily the classes are filmed and are freely available via Youtube and iTunes. This year’s schedule has some topics/speakers from last year as well as a couple of new ones. Just like last year, the public lecture series is given alongside the course “Science and Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to the Science of Soft Matter” which is reserved for currently enrolled Harvard students. The course is a joint effort of The Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (“SEAS”) and the Alícia Foundation.

The lecture schedule for the 2011 fall semester is as follows (exact dates and locations here):
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Book review: Cooking for geeks

Monday, June 13th, 2011


Jeff working on a recipe in his kitchen. (Photo by Shimon Rura. © 2009 Atof Inc.)

For a book about food this is a rather unusual book. The author states in the preface that the goal of the book is to “point out new ways of thinking about the tools” that are found in the kitchen. It’s not a book you’ll pick up for its recipes, even though the 100+ recipes included are fine. And it’s not a book you would pick up because of mouthwatering photographs of food. It is however a book that could trigger a lifelong interest in cooking among those who are scientifically minded. Where an experienced chef can read between the lines of a recipe, the rest of us can turn to books like Cooking for geeks to get hints on how to turn a recipe into a tasty dish.
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TFP 2011: Interview with René Redzepi (part 3)

Saturday, May 14th, 2011


Rene Redzepi sees no contradiction between science and his style of cooking. He also promoted his book NOMA at the press conference at The Flemish Primitives 2011.

It came as no big surprise that NOMA defended its no. 1 position in April. A lot of the press coverage of NOMA and René Redzepi focuses on foraging (some even claim that we are in The Era of the ‘I Foraged With René Redzepi Piece’). It is all about nature and natural ingredients. Many would probably claim that NOMA is as far away from molecular gastronomy and science as you could possibly come. In March René Redzepi attended The Flemish Primitives in Oostende. I was there, and the one question I asked René at the press conference was this:

ML: The Flemish Primitives aims to bring together chefs, scientists and artists. There is also a co-operation between Noma and the University of Copenhagen. What have you learnt from from working with scientists?
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Flavour right around the corner

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011


The launch of Flavour, the journal I mentioned recently, is right around the corner. To celebrate the launch they give away 10 copies of Peter Barham’s Science of Cooking to anyone who registers for their article alerts before 1st July. The nice thing for those of us who don’t have free access to scientific litterature through an university library is that it’s an open access journal. There’s some more info in this blog post or you can follow them on Twitter.