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Foodie cookbook

A recent trip to the library combined two areas of interest in a fascinating way.

I am a self-confessed bookaholic. I also hate spending money. So I will spend hours in a bookstore and walk away with nothing, or maybe 1 book if it’s super cheap on sale. But it’s another story when I go to the library! Here’s a picture of the result of my last visit browsing at the library.

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Hmm… maybe a little overboard. Then, being an achievement-oriented type, I feel like I have to read all the books and feel stressed about having so many books to read!

So the solution I came up with is that now I reserve books and Albert picks them up from the library so I’m not tempted to get so many books. 🙂 I guess if I have vacation it’s totally fine to have a big pile to read, but not when I am working!

So a few days ago, we picked up a book I had reserved, which was about my second interest: gourmet food.

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I had checked this book out as a result of reading a blog that led to a TED talk that led to this cookbook. I actually was interested in the more professional series, which has amazing cutaway photographs. I guess this is the home version. To my disappointment, it didn’t have a single picture in it. (However, it did have what I believe is synthetic paper — very plasticy feeling and cool!)

I found the book to be totally fascinating. Everything was super technical and there were so many terms in there I didn’t even know about. Here’s a sample recipe using relatively normal ingredients.

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Ironically, I don’t like cooking too much. But Albert and I are foodies who on our infrequent vacations will find good restaurants with unusual ingredients to go visit. Looking at this recipe makes me feel like this is a good plan. I’m totally overwhelmed at the thought of even trying something like this.

However, it was super fascinating reading some of the these recipes. The book has recipes like:

  • Condrieu Butter
  • Elder Flower Vinegar
  • Brown Butter Fumet
  • Tagine Base
  • Pot-Au-Feu Consomme
  • Quatre Epices
  • Pacojet Pea Soup
  • Sous Vide Monkfish Pave
  • Oyster Eschebe
  • Ankimo Torchon
  • Salsify Fondant
  • Autoclaved Onion Soup
  • Starch-Infused Ultrasonic Fries
  • Garlic Nougatine
  • Onion Sable
  • Fossilized Salsify Branch
  • Green Pea Wafer
  • Crispy Cream Cheese
  • Onion Arlette
  • Green Pea Yuba
  • Halibut in Verbena Bubble
  • Sea Urchin Tartar Sauce
  • Siphoned Souffle a la Lorraine

But I must say the favorite recipe title with the most exotic terms is probably “Quinoa and Idazabel with Bonito Stock Veil.” Or maybe it’s “Sous Vide Sole with Bergamot Sabayon.”

It also has terms like:

  • “Macerate in refrigerator for 12 h.”
  •  “How to distill with a rotavap”
  • “Emulsion-style sausages”
  • “Best bets for naked frying”
  • “Edible films”
  • “Transglutaminase gels”
  • “Constructed cheeses”
  • “Nanoemulsions”
  • “The bechamel can also be made by uing 1.25% lambda carrageenan rather than the amount indicated above and substituting 1% pregelatinized starch paste fro the Ultra-Sperse 3.”

It is kind of funny to read the details, like a recipe called “Pressure-Cooked Tarbais Beans.” Turns out Tarbais Beans are are navy beans!

Or the recipe for Mac and Cheese has ingredients like wheat beer, sodium citrate, and iota garrageenan. Just give me a good ole’ box of Kraft Mac and Cheese, please.

There’s a recipe called “Corn Pebbles,” and the ingredient list in its entirety is: freeze-dried ground corn power, N-Zorbit M, Spray-dried buttermilk, Smoke-grapeseed oil, Grapeseed oil, and salt. Check. I have the last ingredient.

There’s even a recipe for XO Sauce, the small jar of Chinese yummy sauce that Albert’s mom gave to us that we add to our food. Wow! You mean someone actually makes it? I just thought it only came in jars!

And a recipe for Century Eggs, the yucky-looking preserved duck eggs that I totally love. I always thought they just came in a box.

To be fair, there are also some normal-sounding recipes in there (until you look at the ingredients!). But obviously this level is way beyond me. I suppose a professional would just say, “all in a day’s work.” But I think I would prefer to go to a restaurant instead of cooking any of these recipes. Sure is fun to learn, though!

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