One Week Later: What I Learned at Nathan Myhrvold’s Lecture

One week ago tonight, I sat in City Hall attending Nathan Myhrvold’s lecture. I’d barely cracked open his impressive Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking, so I was all ears (and eyes) for his multimedia presentation. Thinking back, here’s what I learned:

  • You’ll want to work out before buying these books. The collection weighs 43 pounds (including four pounds of ink); if you line up the 1,150,000 words from the 2,438 pages, you’ll get 7-1/2 miles of text.
  • The kitchen manual (the sixth volume of the set) is waterproof.
  • You can fry just about anything, including watermelon, with the addition of starch.
  • Centrifuging peas yields a “pea butter” which which boasts a great pea-ness (a word Myhrvold is fond of saying).
  • Pre-Heinz, ketchup was made of mushrooms (and then walnuts).
  • While I may not make any of the 1,522 recipes in the collection, I really need to check out this work.