While I’m thinking of it, if you’re not reading the stories about the new $625 Modernist Cuisine book and its genius technologist-scientist-chef author, Nathan Myhrvold, you should. Nearly every one is enjoyable.
Start with NPR’s and the accompanying video of Jose Andres and Co. making a Parmesan “egg” dish. (Someday, I’m going to go to Minibar.) When invented food combines two of my favorite food words, I’m in.
When you’re done with that piece, read Wired‘s. The article surprised me on the train yesterday morning, and I took time between morning meetings to finish reading. In addition to interesting segments about his lab’s cool work on serious global issues, this part about Myhrvold made me smile every time it came to mind the rest of the day.
… He bounces from topic to topic as if someone were clicking the remote control through 500 channels of really high-end BBC documentaries. Here’s a lunchtime conversation, only slightly edited:
“Alaska has had more than 10 times the number of botulism cases of New York state. But its population is a few percent of New York state. It’s because they eat a lot of crap up there… The most thermally diffusive thing that heat travels fastest in is diamond, by a big margin… Suppose you have a broiler with a bunch of separate rods. Turns out there’s an optimal distance away from them to have the most even heat. And it’s 44 percent of the distance between them, plus 5 millimeters… The big innovation in the 20th century wasn’t in high-end food, it was in industrial food… Our Carolina barbecue sauces are very thin. We made them authentic thickness. But then we have a note that says 0.2 percent xanthan gum will give you something that clings to your meat and makes your shirt less dirty. Ba dum ba dum ba dum.”
That’s how Myhrvold cuts off a lot of his own sentences, with what sounds like a kettledrum sound effect for a cartoon somersault. It’s not an ellipsis; it’s more like his brain has accelerated past the rest of the information. The proof is left as an exercise for the student.
As a huge Rocky and Bullwinkle fan, I believe in cartoon somersaults.