Pad Thai is really the only thing I eat when it comes to Thai food, which probably makes me boring, but it’s oh so delicious. Turns out, Pad Thai isn’t actually Thai food (as Alexandra Greeley explained in Gastronomica, the dish is probably of Indo-Chinese origin). But that’s neither here nor there.
Ryan Matthew Smith, whom you may remember from the slow-motion popcorn popping vid, photographed the dish and many others like it with striking details for the new coffee table book, Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking.
In Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking, Nathan Myhrvold, Chris Young, and Maxime Bilet–scientists, inventors, and accomplished cooks in their own right–have created a six-volume, 2,400-page set that reveals science-inspired techniques for preparing food that ranges from the otherworldly to the sublime. The authors and their 20-person team at The Cooking Lab have achieved astounding new flavors and textures by using tools such as water baths, homogenizers, centrifuges, and ingredients such as hydrocolloids, emulsifiers, and enzymes. It is a work destined to reinvent cooking.
How do you make an omelet light and tender on the outside, but rich and creamy inside? Or French fries with a light and fluffy interior and a delicate, crisp crust that doesn’t go soggy? Imagine being able to encase a mussel in a gelled sphere of its own sweet and briny juice. Or to create a silky-smooth pistachio cream made from nothing more than the nuts themselves. Modernist Cuisine offers step-by-step, illustrated instructions, as well as clear explanations of how these techniques work. Through thousands of original photographs and diagrams, the lavishly illustrated books make the science and technology of the culinary arts clear and engaging. Stunning new photographic techniques take the reader inside the food to see cooking in action all the way from microscopic meat fibers to an entire Weber grill in cross-section. You will view cooking and eating in a whole new light.