Adds Six Great New Features

We’ve been thrilled by the reception that Modernist Cuisine has received–not just in sales, which are a lot faster than we initially expected, but also in the rapid growth of a community of cooks who have joined us here on, on the MC-related threads at eGullet, on Facebook and Twitter, and elsewhere online. We’ve received lots of terrific suggestions from readers about ways in which we could enhance the website and better support them as they explore the recipes and techniques suggested by Modernist Cuisine and other Modernist cookbooks. Today we’re excited to announce the launch of a bunch of these new features, with even more to come soon.

Check out the freshly minted Cooking with MC area of the website for:

  • Getting Started with the Recipes, which suggests recipes you might tackle first in Modernist Cuisine, whether you are just starting out as a cook, want to try using modern ingredients, or are looking for a real culinary challenge;
  • a Modernist Gear Guide for cooks who are looking to outfit their kitchens with some new tools like those covered in the book;
  • a Recipe Library that allows you to quickly find all the recipes that the MC team has published here so far–a collection that will grow over time as we periodically release new recipes and step-by-step guides to Modernist techniques;
  • a remarkably useful Recipe Finder that includes a complete list of all 1,500 or so recipes in the Kitchen Manual and allows you to instantly hone in on those that use any ingredient, tool, or technique that you choose;
  • a full Index to the Kitchen Manual, which is the addition most requested by readers and is supplied in PDF form so that you can print it out and keep it with your set;
  • a Keyword Search (technically, a concordance) that searches the full text of the book for any term you enter and displays each page number on which it appears, along with some surrounding words for context.

All of these new features are free. But to get the most out of them, and to gain access to the Cooks Forum and Reader Gallery that we’re currently constructing and expect to open soon, please register as a member of the site. Registered members can choose to receive new recipes by email before they appear on the website. If you have a copy of the book, be sure when you create your account to provide information about where and when you purchased your book, and then answer a validation question to gain Confirmed Owner status, which qualifies you for exclusive offers.

We hope you enjoy all of these new features, and we look forward to your comments and suggestions.

MC Wins Top Award for Print Quality

The Benny AwardWe are proud to announce that Modernist Cuisine has won another best-in-the-world award, this time a coveted Benny (as in Ben Franklin), which is the top honor given in the prestigious Premier Print Award competition. The annual competition, run by the Printing Industry of America trade society, recognizes the highest-quality printed pieces in various categories from around the world. Modernist Cuisine took the highest prize in the cookbook category. Our printer, Artron Enterprise Group, also won Bennys for its work in art books, stochastic printing, and three other award categories.

The award will be formally presented in September at a gala in Chicago.

Drew Carey Is Winning Bidder for the Modernist Cuisine “Experience”

Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo

Modernist Cuisine author Nathan Myhrvold and his wife, longtime benefactors of the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, donated a copy of the book, signed by all three of its authors, for the zoo’s annual fund-raising auction. To sweeten the deal, they also threw in a private guided tour of the culinary research laboratory in which the book was developed. The winner may bring up to five guests on the tour.

After active bidding, Drew Carey, the renowned actor, comedian, and host of “The Price Is Right,” won the prize with a bid of $7,000, all of which goes to support the zoo and its programs. The whole team at The Cooking Lab is looking forward to Mr. Carey’s visit.

Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo
Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo

Which Printing Do You Have?

Now that copies of the second printing of Modernist Cuisine are shipping to customers, readers have been writing in to ask how they can determine whether their copy came from the first printing or the second. (Note that Modernist Cuisine is still in its first edition, so the differences are minor; see the Corrections and Clarifications page for details.)

The answer is simple: check the colophon, which appears near the back of volume 5 on page LIV. In the first printing, the colophon begins, “This first edition of Modernist Cuisine…”

In the second printing, the colophon starts, “This first edition, second printing of Modernist Cuisine…”

When we move on to a third printing, this will be reflected in an updated colophon as well.

Second Printing Has Begun to Arrive

Last week, several readers who had back-ordered Modernist Cuisine sent us word that they had finally received their copies from the second printing. Most of these readers placed their orders with Amazon back in March.

So, where is your copy, you ask? Depending on when you ordered, it is probably on a truck or boat headed your way, and if not, it will be among the 1,000+ copies sailing weekly from our printer in China. We expect that everyone who has ordered to date will receive their copies by mid-August. And we anticipate that by the first week of September, retailers will be fully stocked and able to process new orders. Perhaps a few will even put copies out on shelves!

Nathan’s Modernist Cuisine TED Talk

As enthusiastic as any proud parent, Nathan presents Modernist Cuisine during his TED Talk for TED University in March. This is one of the first times anyone saw a copy of Modernist Cuisine. Focusing on the major concepts of the book, as well as giving a few behind-the-scenes glimpses of how MC‘s iconic cutaway shots were made, Nathan reveals his passions for cooking, photography, and science. This TED Talk follows up on Nathan’s exploration of his varied interests, which he discussed in his 2008 talk.

Nathan also was a guest on NPR’s Science Friday with Ira Flatow on July 1, explaining some of the scientific aspects of barbeque. You can listen to the entire podcast here.

See Nathan’s Talk at Microsoft Research

Last month, Modernist Cuisine author Nathan Myhrvold gave an hour-long presentation and Q&A session at Microsoft Research in Bellevue, Wash. In the presentation, he gives a quick tour of the massive book, talks a bit about how it was made, and focuses on some of the more technical aspects of this kind of cooking. To see the talk, use the embedded Silverlight player below, or visit the page at the Microsoft Research site for a rich-interface version.

Get Microsoft Silverlight

See Nathan in Toronto This Autumn

On November 20, the cookbook store in Toronto will host a special event for Modernist Cuisine. Author Nathan Myhrvold will be giving a public presentation on the book and will be available to answer questions from attendees. All previous Modernist Cuisine events have sold out well in advance, so sign up early if you want to attend. For tickets, directions, and more information, call 800.268.6018 (416.920.2665 in Toronto), or email


Books from the Second Printing Are on Their Way

We have some good news today for customers who ordered Modernist Cuisine after the first printing sold out. Copies from the second printing have begun leaving the bindery, and the first 615 sets began their transoceanic journey to the United States on Monday, June 6. Another shipment of that size is scheduled to leave port on June 13, and each Monday thereafter new containers of books will set sail for booksellers around the world, with weekly shipment quantities rising to 1,800 copies in mid-July.

The ocean crossing, customs clearance, and distribution to bookseller warehouses requires four to six weeks to complete. We expect that booksellers will start delivering Modernist Cuisine in late July to the several thousand customers who have back-ordered it. Orders will be fulfilled in the order in which they were received, so if you have been thinking about purchasing the book but haven’t put your order in yet, now is the time to reserve your place in line. You can find a list of booksellers who are carrying the book on our buy page.

To Err Is Human

The second printing of Modernist Cuisine started rolling off the presses at the end of March. Customers will start receiving the first books from that new print run in July. Our current order is 25,000 copies. We hope that satisfies demand, but we were wrong once before, and we may be wrong again. We are monitoring the situation and will order more books if it seems warranted.

In our original plan, we thought that the 6,000 copies of the first printing would give us some time and extra eyes to find any typographical errors. We had many copy editors and proofreaders to help us pore over the book, but after the nth reading, you become blind to any further errors. Ultimately, the way that remaining errors in a book are found is by readers.

Unfortunately, the enormous demand for MC and the unexpected delays in shipping the books to customers meant that we had very little time, with very few readers, to find errors. By the time we had to send our final files to press for the second print run, fewer than 2,000 copies were in customers’ hands.

I posted on eGullet that I was interested in finding errors. We received several responses from Chris Amirault, Chris Hennes, and others in the thread, “Cooking with Modernist Cuisine.” These responses were very helpful.

But then we started getting emails from Larry Lofthouse. Like so many people I’ve met on eGullet, I don’t know much about him personally. What I do know is that Larry is an error-finding machine—he started sending me an email almost every hour with mistakes he had found. Some weren’t really errors, but just appeared so. Others were cosmetic issues or wording changes that are a judgment call, but some were real, honest-to-goodness goofs. Frankly, I’m embarrassed by some of them, but I’m glad they were found.

Finding errors caused a dilemma. The second printing was just about to start; we had a couple days at most to make the final changes. So I emailed Larry to let him know about our situation. He went into high gear, as did the whole MC team. We worked night and day and wound up scrubbing the entirety of MC. Then we corrected and reproofed everything Larry and the others had found and (just barely) made our press deadline.

Larry did all of this work because it seemed to him like the right thing to do. He never asked for anything in return, but we are so grateful that we’re giving him a copy of the second printing, and we have invited him and a guest over for dinner at the lab later in April. Thousands of people will have a better experience with MC due to Larry’s efforts.

That’s not to say that we have now corrected every last error, however. Indeed, in the days since the presses started running again, we, Larry, and other readers have identified a few more mistakes. If and when we undertake a third printing, we’ll correct those, too.

In the meantime, we are making available here a list of corrections and clarifications for the first printing. We’ll update this list whenever new goofs are spotted. It’s available in PDF format as well, in case you want to print it out or have a handy searchable version on your computer. If you spot a mistake in your copy that isn’t already mentioned here, please send it in.