Coming up, the story of a much beloved young chef who makes a bold move out of his bohemian neigborhood and opens up a fancy place in a big downtown hotel. But first! I spent a little unplugged catching up on last week's DI/DO. I saw where a 48 lb, $625 cookbook has been delayed. It's by a Microsoft guy, and it's all up on the molecular cuisine tip. But those of you not sated by Ferran Adria's fifty-dollar thirty two dollar, seven pound valentine to himself will have to be patient, because they are doing a little bit more quality control on the text. (Not to mention the Spinal Tap-esque "custom designed box within a box" case it comes in, which evidently keeps breaking.)
But if you ask the Cod, if you buy only one cookbook this year (or maybe next) that costs more than a decent commuter bike, it should not be this one. The book is called "Modernist Cuisine." If "Dr. Myhrvold, who amassed hundreds of millions of dollars at Microsoft, wields vacuum sealers, colloid mills and rotary evaporators, and ingredients like agar and methylcellulose," one imagines the cookbook is concerned with hi-tech, state-of-the-art, 21st century type cooking. Unfortunately, the name implies something rather different. Like the Dogmatics said, look it up in the dictionary. "Modernist" can refer to "modernism," which can in turn refer to "modern," which is kinda sorta what Dr. Whatchamacalit is after, but among educated people, "modernist" generally refers to works of literary or visual art from the first part of the century, often the kind popular with Mussolini. So, "Modernist Cuisine" is an unfortunate, but not indefensible, title for this book. But it does seem unfortunate to spend more than six bills for a cookbook this imprecise in its use of a language, and still more unfortunate to undertake a cookbook project that involves a crew of more than a dozen people, and not hire anyone with a better grasp of English.