Cooking: The Quintessential Art

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University of California Press, Oct 1, 2008 - Cooking - 366 pages
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From its intriguing opening question—"How can we reasonably judge a meal?"—to its rewarding conclusion, this beautiful book picks up where Brillat-Savarin left off almost two centuries ago. Hervé This, a cofounder (with the late physicist Nicholas Kurti) of the new approach to studying the scientific basis of cooking known as molecular gastronomy, investigates the question of culinary beauty in a series of playful, lively, and erudite dialogues. Considering the place of cuisine in Western culture, This explores an astonishing variety of topics and elaborates a revolutionary method for judging the art of cooking. Many of the ideas he introduces in this culinary romance are illustrated by dishes created by Pierre Gagnaire, whose engaging commentaries provide rare insights into the creative inspiration of one of the world's foremost chefs. The result is an enthralling, sophisticated, freewheeling dinner party of a book that also makes a powerful case for openness and change in the way we think about food.
 

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Contents

The Existence of Culinary Art
9
Artisan
14
Tradition and Love
31
The Question of Nature
47
The Recognition of Culinary Art
59
The Origin of Beauty
77
Beauty by Numbers
85
The Idea of Flavor
93
The Occult Influence of Aristotle Lives On
198
The Dawn of the Renaissance
212
From the Renaissance Onward
223
The Enlightenment in the West and the East
231
Nature Overcome
243
The Many Strands of Modernity
259
Yesterday
271
And Tomorrow?
289

Aristotle and Subtlety
108
The Path to the Mystical Good
127
Of Cooking and Cathedrals
145
Boethius and the Brain
153
Thomas Aquinas and the Green of the Grass
166
Drawing Earth Nearer to Heaven
179
Medieval Ramifications
191
Simplicity and Completeness
299
The Illusion of the Perfect Bouillon
317
Notes
327
List of Recipes
337
Index
341
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About the author (2008)

Hervé This is Research Chemist at Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique and the author of Kitchen Mysteries: Revealing the Science of Cooking, among other books. Pierre Gagnaire is chef and owner of many restaurants, including Restaurant Pierre Gagnaire, Paris.

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