Introducing Modernist Cuisine at Home - Modernist Cuisine

Introducing Modernist Cuisine at Home

MCMay 29, 2012

When it comes to cooking techniques, the classics are well covered. But the latest and greatest techniques, developed by the most innovative chefs in the world, were largely undocumented until we and Chris Young, along with the rest of our team, published Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking in 2011. At six volumes and 2,438 pages, it wasn’t an ordinary cookbook. Many people were skeptical that it would interest a wide audience.

As it turned out, Modernist Cuisine sold out of its first printing within weeks; it is now in its fourth printing. The book has been translated into French, German, and Spanish. It has been reviewed in thousands of news articles. Long discussion threads about the book on the eGullet Internet forum have been viewed more than 300,000 times.

We often get the question “Isn’t this book only for professionals?” The answer is no; we wrote and designed Modernist Cuisine for anybody who is passionate and curious about cooking. As hundreds of blogs and forum postings show, many amateurs have embraced the book. Of the 1,800 or so recipes in it, probably half could be made in any home kitchen. That number rises to perhaps two-thirds or three-quarters for those willing to buy some new equipment (for cooking sous vide, for example).

The remaining recipes are indeed challenging— even for professionals. We felt that many food enthusiasts would like to be on the front lines of culinary innovation and get a chance to understand the state of the art, even if they couldn’t execute every recipe. At the same time, we realized that we had the right team and resources to bring the Modernist cuisine revolution to an even wider audience of home cooks by developing less complex recipes that require less expensive equipment. The result is this book, Modernist Cuisine at Home (in-stores October 8, 2012).

Although we kept Modernist Cuisine in the title, this new book is not a condensed version of its predecessor. If you want to learn about food safety, microbiology, the history of foie gras cultivation, or hundreds of other topics, Modernist Cuisine is still the book to turn to.

This book focuses on cooking equipment, techniques, and recipes. Part One details tools, ingredients, and cooking gear that we think are worth having. Equipment once available only to professional chefs or scientists is now being manufactured for the home kitchen; we encourage you to try it. But we also show you how to get by without fancy appliances, such as how to cook fish sous vide in your kitchen sink and how to cook steak in a picnic cooler.

Part Two contains 406 recipes, all of which are new. In some cases, we took popular Modernist Cuisine recipes— Caramelized Carrot Soup (see page 178), Mac and Cheese (see page 310), and Striped Mushroom Omelet (see page 148)—and developed simpler versions. In general, the food is less formal; you’ll find recipes for Crispy Skinless Chicken Wings (see page 254) and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches (see page 318).

What’s the same as Modernist Cuisine is our focus on quality in both the information in the book and in the way it is presented. You’ll find stunning cutaways of equipment, step-by-step photos for most recipes, and ingredients measured in grams (because every serious cook should have a scale). We use the same high-quality paper, printing, and binding that we did for Modernist Cuisine. The kitchen manual is again printed on washable, waterproof paper. We hope that in following the vision we set out to accomplish with our first book, we have created a great experience for home chefs who want an introduction to Modernist cuisine.

Pre-order now to get the book delivered on October 8, 2012

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19 Responses to “Introducing Modernist Cuisine at Home”

    • Although you will find a few Modernist Cuisine dishes that have been adapted in MCAH for home cooks–such as the iconic Striped Omelet, Caramelized Carrot Soup, Roast Chicken, and Modernist Hamburger Patty–the vast majority of Modernist Cuisine at Home is all new content and original recipes, designed specifically to empower the home cook. If you compare the table of contents of MCAH to those of MC, you’ll see that the areas of overlap are actually quite small, and the two books are really complementary.

      In MCAH, all of the recipes can be made using only equipment that you can find at a kitchen supply store. The book also provides suggestions for ways to improvise the cooking equipment that you don’t already have. For example, we offer several variations on ways to rig your own sous vide temperature-controlled water bath if you don’t have one handy. Although we look forward to the day when centrifuges and rotor-stator homogenizers are common household items, you’ll be able to cook nearly all of the recipes in Modernist Cuisine at Home with the kitchen gear you already own.

      Even though the dishes in Modernist Cuisine at Home will be familiar to any home cook, our culinary team developed the recipes with the same scientific rigor and Modernist philosophy that has made Modernist Cuisine so respected among the world’s top chefs. We believe that home cooks and professional chefs alike are curious about the fundamental changes that take place inside foods when they are cooked.

  1. So looking forward to this possibly abridged for the masses Modernist Cuisine.

    I know Natalie from Endeavour has reached out regarding an event around the book, so I look forward to seeing where the conversation goes. (I work on the same portfolio.)

  2. This is awesome!! I’ve been intimidated by a lot of the MC recipes due to my busy work schedule and only incorporate sous vide cooking into my home rigged PID controlled slow cooker for meats. I’ve yet to delve into some of the great things I’ve seen in MC and I’ll be glad to give this a try first!

  3. How far have the recipes been simplified? I am a home cook, but I strive to push myself to learn new techniques and gain experience with modernist ingredients.

  4. Hi Nathan,

    And I remember when you mentioned you were “writing a cookbook”! I should have known. No TED for us the last few years, but we are opening an artisanal ice cream shop in Portland in june called “What’s the Scoop?”, so if you are ever in Portland, please come for a visit.

  5. Since 1992, America’s Test Kitchen, a 2,500 square foot kitchen outside of Boston, has been publishing its meticulously tested and instructionally detailed recipes in Cook’s Illustrated Magazine . This year, they culled the 2,000 most timeless, essential, delicious recipes from the magazine’s two-decade archive and presented them in The Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook: 2,000 Recipes from 20 Years of America’s Most Trusted Cooking Magazine — an epic nearly thousand-page tome full of “test kitchen wisdom,” strategies, and tricks from the culinary trenches.

  6. Hi again,
    I bought the german version of modernist cuisine one year ago, and still I get a lot of inspiration. Are there plans for a german version of modernist cuisine at home, and does there exist a release date?

  7. I was just reading for the second time “Modernist Cuisine” and was as fascinated as I was during the first reading when I found out that you published the Modernist Cuisine at Home, which to me meant a Modernist Cuisine for those, like me, who don’t have that much time and can’t afford all those machines anyway… of course I bought it.
    It’s fantastic and also makes me use much more its elder brother as I often go and look for the corresponding topics in Modernist Cuisine.
    I have already tried a number of recipes – the roast chicken was the first, but I found brilliant the steak sous vide in the cooler box – and of course since I bought it, I actually spent several hundred euros in equipment… 😉

    There’s one thing though, that I feel compelled to call your attention on: Page 102, Pistachio Pesto. The text starts with a “Pesto, which simply means paste in Italian”. Well, this happens not to be true. I am from Italy and more specifically from Liguria, the Italian region where pesto comes from.

    The sauce “Pesto” was “invented” by Genovese gourmet Giovanni Battista Ratto, around 1830. The first published recipe is in “The Genoese Cooking “published in Genoa in 1865 by brothers Pagano, but included a different kind of cheese than Parmesan. In 1910 the recipe as we know now was published in a book by Emerico Romano Calvetti.

    And now that the historical digression is over: in Italian “Pesto” is an adjective from the verb “pestare” (to grind, crush, step on, etc etc) which means “Reduced to a pulp or powder using a mortar or pestle” or, in its human version” Bruised and swollen from the blows received”. So the name of the sauce “Pesto” is derived from the verb and adjective. Indeed, in its original recipe, pesto should be made with a (marble only!) mortar and a (wooden only!) pestle. Purists say that pesto made in the mortar is better as the blender oxydates the basil leaves, but this is not the point of my comment…


    • Translations are definitely a possibility, but we haven’t made any concrete plans to start on them at this point. Keep checking out blog though; we’ll post about it there if/when we have anything to announce.