This week, if you've been watching television, you may have seen Dr. Nathan Myhrvold dipping his hand in liquid nitrogen on the Colbert Report or making a striped omelet on the Today show. We also saw the Modernist team at the New York Academy of Sciences, where everyone in the standing-room audience got a bowl of modernist pistachio gelato, which is made of nothing but pure pistachios ultra-homogenized into a cream.
Here at PopSci we often write about emerging technologies like 3-D printing, perhaps almost as often as we write about space launches and rocket ships. And every now and then the use of high-tech gadgetry in the kitchen gives us reason to write about things like scallops and cheese. But until Cornell University teamed up with Dave Arnold and New York's French Culinary Institute to create miniature scallop-and-cheese space shuttles using a specially equipped 3-D printer, we never thought we'd ever write about all three at the same time.
The hosts of Food Jammers show how to make a version of a multimillion-dollar commercial grain puffer for about 50 bucks. See the video inside
By Micah Donovan, Christopher Martin, Nobu AdilmanPosted 02.15.2011 at 10:59 am 1 Comment
The machinery that snack and cereal companies use to transform rice and other foods into puffed snacks is expensive and operates at extreme pressures and temperatures. Since you can buy the resulting cheese puffs, rice cakes and toasty oat cereals anywhere, why try to make them ourselves? Because we were curious whether we could figure out a cheap way to crack the code of puffing technology. Plus, we like to build elaborate machines and to blow things up, even if it's only spelt grains and millet cakes.
As I may have mentioned, I have lately developed a bit of a thing for pea butter. Not some sort of pea-infused dairy butter, but the real deal, the pure green fat of tender garden peas laboriously isolated and concentrated, and spread on toast. I first had it when I was visiting the Modernist Cuisine laboratory/kitchen in Seattle last month, and now I very much want more.
In 2008, Dr. Nathan Myhrvold began to carve out a portion of the 20,000-square-foot warehouse outside Seattle that houses the research lab of Intellectual Ventures. The former Chief Technology Officer of Microsoft had an idea for a cookbook he wanted to write, and he needed some kitchen space.
Maxime Bilet, the kitchen's head chef of R&D and a co-author (with Myhrvold and Chris Young) of the ambitious cookbook, led me through the kitchen, where four full-time staffers were in the process of making me lunch using a variety of outre apparatus. The usual kitchen accoutrements were on display -- stove, sink, cutting boards, refrigerators -- but Bilet's tour started with the ultrasonic bath.
In a high-tech kitchen laboratory in Seattle, Nathan Myhrvold is putting the finishing touches on Modernist Cuisine, his obsessive 2,438-page cookbook documenting the future of food. I recently visited for a futuristic breakfast
Recently, in a laboratory outside Seattle, I ate a piece of buttered toast that I will remember for the rest of my life. The bread itself was not extraordinary, but it was spread thickly with the brightest-green butter I've ever seen. It was not true butter, but rather an extract of pure green peas. 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 three 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.
I was eating with Dr. Nathan Myhrvold, in the rather amazing kitchen at the heart of his 20,000-square-foot laboratory outside Seattle.
The stomach may be the quickest way to a man’s heart, but it’s a roundabout way to anyone’s bloodstream. That’s why Harvard University biomedical engineer David Edwards invented Le Whif breathable vitamins, which get into blood faster than pills do.
Next time you're hungry, but unsure what to make for dinner, don't despair — Kraft Foods has some ideas for you. Are you a mom? KraftBot calculates that you need Mac 'n' Cheese. Is it game day? KraftBot wants you to make queso dip, so here's a barcode for a brick of "cheese product." Are you a hung over college dude? Take the Cheez Whiz and Ritz crackers.
Or maybe you're morbidly obese. Go ahead, pick between a box of South Beach Diet fiber bars or a gallon jug of Hidden Valley Ranch — the choice is yours, shopper. Just as long as it's Kraft, and only Kraft.
It's called the Leidenfrost effect, and you've seen it before: dribble a little water onto the surface of a hot, dry pan, and the water forms little drops that skate around until they fizzle out.
But have you seen it filmed close-up at 3,000 frames per second? Thanks to Nathan Myhrvold and his Modernist Cuisine team (whom we're going out to visit in Seattle this week!), now you can.