GOOD

Drinkable Bagels and Pea Fat: Cooking with Microsoft's Former Chief Technology Officer

Sampling recipes from Nathan Myrhvold's $500 cookbook—made in his own ridiculously high-tech R&D kitchen.

We've written about the stunning visuals and high-tech recipes in former Microsoft Chief Technology Officer Nathan Myrhvold's new cookbook, Modernist Cuisine, before. But at $500 a copy, we haven't had the chance to take it into the GOOD kitchen and give it a test drive.


Fortunately, Popular Science was lucky enough to be invited to Myrhvold's own R&D kitchen to try some recipes from the book. The word "kitchen" does not really do justice to Myrvhold's set-up, which, in addition to the centrifuges and sous-vide cookers common amongst molecular gastronomers, includes a "working biology lab and mosquito hatchery, a chemistry lab, a serious machine shop," and its own photography studio. The mosquitoes, disappointingly, do not appear to play a role in the cooking process—Popular Science explains that Myrhvold's company is also involved in fighting mosquito-borne disease, and has developed a "laser weapon designed to blast mosquitoes out of the sky." What such an instrument could do to your average crème brulée or breakfast waffle remains to be seen.

The menu that Popular Science's Paul Adams consumes includes a drinkable everything bagel in the form of a broth studded with dill, lox, and chives, foie-gras bonbons, and a plate of homemade processed cheese. The highlight of his meal, though, seems to be the pea butter toast:

Fresh peas are blended to a puree, then spun in a centrifuge at 13 times the force of gravity. The force separates the puree into three discrete layers: on the bottom, a bland puck of starch; on the top, vibrant-colored, seductively sweet pea juice; and separating the two, a thin layer of the pea's natural fat, pea-green and unctuous. A standard pea yields about 3 percent fat, so the half-ounce of glistening viridian on my toast was the equivalent of perhaps a pound and a half of peas condensed into a single bite.

For the first time in my life, I think I want a centrifuge! And if I win the lottery, you can definitely expect to see a report on the rest of the dishes in the book.

But, in all seriousness, although molecular gastronomy is sometimes vilified as frivolous foodie decadence, the process of investigating the potential of a single ingredient—the pea—to this degree seems of a piece with a greater thoughtfulness toward food and our relationship with it overall, which is ultimately, I think, a very good thing.

Click through to see a slideshow of the rest of the meal and read the rest of Adams' report. Thanks to BLDGBLOG for the tip.

Image: a bagel shot and pea butter, photographed by Paul Adams for Popular Science.

Articles

Some beauty pageants, like the Miss America competition, have done away with the swimsuit portions of the competitions, thus dipping their toes in the 21st century. Other aspects of beauty pageants remain stuck in the 1950s, and we're not even talking about the whole "judging women mostly on their looks" thing. One beauty pageant winner was disqualified for being a mom, as if you can't be beautiful after you've had a kid. Now she's trying to get the Miss World competition to update their rules.

Veronika Didusenko won the Miss Ukraine pageant in 2018. After four days, she was disqualified because pageant officials found out she was a mom to 5-year-old son Alex, and had been married. Didusenko said she had been aware of Miss World's rule barring mother from competing, but was encouraged to compete anyways by pageant organizers.

Keep Reading Show less

One mystery in our universe is a step closer to being solved. NASA's Parker Solar Probe launched last year to help scientists understand the sun. Now, it has returned its first findings. Four papers were published in the journal Nature detailing the findings of Parker's first two flybys. It's one small step for a solar probe, one giant leap for mankind.



It is astounding that we've advanced to the point where we've managed to build a probe capable of flying within 15 million miles from the surface of the sun, but here we are. Parker can withstand temperatures of up to 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit and travels at 430,000 miles per hour. It's the fastest human-made vehicle, and no other human-made object has been so close to the sun.

Keep Reading Show less
via Sportstreambest / Flickr

Since the mid '90s the phrase "God Forgives, Brothers Don't" has been part of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point's football team's lexicon.

Over the past few years, the team has taken the field flying a black skull-and-crossbones flag with an acronym for the phrase, "GFBD" on the skull's upper lip. Supporters of the team also use it on social media as #GFBD.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture