Molecular Gastronomy

Exploring the Science of Flavor

Hervé This

Columbia University Press

Molecular Gastronomy

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Pub Date: August 2008

ISBN: 9780231133135

392 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $16.95£15.00

Pub Date: January 2006

ISBN: 9780231133128

392 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $29.95£25.00

Pub Date: January 2006

ISBN: 9780231508070

392 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $15.99£14.00

Molecular Gastronomy

Exploring the Science of Flavor

Hervé This

Columbia University Press

Hervé This (pronounced "Teess") is an internationally renowned chemist, a popular French television personality, a bestselling cookbook author, a longtime collaborator with the famed French chef Pierre Gagnaire, and the only person to hold a doctorate in molecular gastronomy, a cutting-edge field he pioneered. Bringing the instruments and experimental techniques of the laboratory into the kitchen, This uses recent research in the chemistry, physics, and biology of food to challenge traditional ideas about cooking and eating. What he discovers will entertain, instruct, and intrigue cooks, gourmets, and scientists alike.

Molecular Gastronomy, This's first work to appear in English, is filled with practical tips, provocative suggestions, and penetrating insights. This begins by reexamining and debunking a variety of time-honored rules and dictums about cooking and presents new and improved ways of preparing a variety of dishes from quiches and quenelles to steak and hard-boiled eggs. He goes on to discuss the physiology of flavor and explores how the brain perceives tastes, how chewing affects food, and how the tongue reacts to various stimuli. Examining the molecular properties of bread, ham, foie gras, and champagne, the book analyzes what happens as they are baked, cured, cooked, and chilled.

Looking to the future, Hervé This imagines new cooking methods and proposes novel dishes. A chocolate mousse without eggs? A flourless chocolate cake baked in the microwave? Molecular Gastronomy explains how to make them. This also shows us how to cook perfect French fries, why a soufflé rises and falls, how long to cool champagne, when to season a steak, the right way to cook pasta, how the shape of a wine glass affects the taste of wine, why chocolate turns white, and how salt modifies tastes.

It's wonderful to find out how things work in the kitchen, what the palate feels and why, and to see This experiment and think about what has not yet been done in any restaurant. Hervé This's Molecular Gastronomy is one truly delectable meal for the mind!

Roald Hoffmann, Cornell University, author of Same and Not the Same

With respect and love for what we eat, Hervé This reveals to us in this wonderfully readable book the real secrets, the molecular ones, of great food. A degustation of culinary art and science!

Roald Hoffmann, Cornell University, author of Same and Not the Same

Hervé This has been a tireless promoter of 'molecular gastronomy' in France for more than a decade. In this stimulating book, he takes a close look at many familiar ingredients and techniques and shows how a scientific approach can help cooks cook both better and more inventively.

Harold McGee, author of On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen

Taking kitchen science to a whole new (molecular) level, Hervé This is changing the way France—and the world—cooks.


Mr. This's book will broaden the way you think about food.

New York Sun

This has written an interesting and timely combination of our everyday experience with sophisticated science.

Claudia Kousoulas, Appetite for Books

He is revered by the revered.

JJ Goode,

A wonderful book.... it will appeal to anyone with an interest in the science of cooking.

O Chef

For anyone who likes to eat or cook.


This offers some though-provoking opportunities for play in the kitchen.

Pagosa Springs Sun

This book, praiseworthy for its scientific rigor, will hold a special appeal for anyone who relishes the debunking of culinary myths.

Todd Coleman, Saveur

A fresh approach... that will entertain and enlighten anyone interested in the process of cooking and the enjoyment of food.

Raymond J. Shively, Jr., The Bloomsbury Review

Anyone with an inordinate passion for cooking would love this book.

Mia Stainsby, Vancouver Sun

A timely addition... Suitable for both scientists and the lay public.

Thorvald Pedersen, EMBO Reports

This book is laden with science while rendering a clear approach to flavor.


[A] captivating little book.

The Economist

He is fantastic. I didn't really cook before but this book may be changing my life.

Keanu Reeves

this is a great book on so many levels
Series Editor's Preface
Introduction to the English Language Addition
Part One: Secrets of the Kitchen
1 Making Stock
2 Clarifying Stock
3 Hard-Boiled Eggs
4 Quiches, Quenelles, and Puff Pastries
5 Echaudes and Gnocchi
6 The Well-Leavened Souffle
7 Quenelles and Their Cousins
8 Fondue
9 Roasting Beef
10 Seasoning Steak
11 Wine and Marinades
12 Color and Freshness
13 Softening Lentils
14 Souffleed Potatoes
15 Preserves and Preserving Pans
16 Saving a Creme Anglaise
17 Grains of Salt
18 Of Champagne and Teaspoons
19 Coffee, Tea, and Milk
Part Two: The Physiology of Flavor
20 Food as Medicine
21 Taste and Digestion
22 Taste in the Brain
23 Papillary Cells
24 How Salt Affects Taste
25 Detecting Tastes
26 Bitter Tastes
27 Hot Up Front
28 The Taste of Cold
29 Mastication
30 Tenderness and Juiciness
31 Measuring Aromas
32 At Table in the Nursery
33 Food Allergies
34 Public Health Alerts
Part Three: Investigations and Models
35 The Secret of Bread
36 Yeast and Bread
37 Curious Yellow
38 Gustatory Paradoxes
39 The Taste of Food
40 Lumps and Strings
41 Foams
42 Hard Sausage
43 Spanish Hams
44 Foie Gras
45 Antioxidant Agents
46 Trout
47 Cooking Times
48 The Flavor of Roasted Meats
49 Tenderizing Meats
50 Al Dente
51 Forgotten Vegetables
52 Preserving Mushrooms
53 Truffles
54 More Flavor
55 French Fries
56 Mashed Potatoes
57 Algal Fibers
58 Cheeses
59 From Grass to Cheese
60 The Tastes of Cheese
61 Yogurt
62 Milk Solids
63 Sabayons
64 Fruits in Syrup
65 Fibers and Jams
66 The Whitening of Chocolate
67 Caramel
68 Bread and Crackers
69 The Terroirs of Alsace
70 Length in the Mouth
71 Tannins
72 Yellow Wine
73 Wine Without Dregs
74 Sulfur and Wine
75 Wine Glasses
76 Wine and Temperature
77 Champagne and its Foam
78 Champagne in a Flute
79 Demi Versus Magnum
80 The Terroirs of Whisky
81 Cartagenes
82 Tea
Part Four: A Cuisine for Tomorrow
83 Cooking in a Vacuum
84 Aromas or Reactions?
85 Butter: A False Solid
86 Liver Mousse
87 In Praise of Fats
88 Mayonnaises
89 Aioli Generalized
90 Orders of Magnitude
91 Hundred-Year-Old Eggs
92 Smoking Salmon
93 Methods and Principles
94 Pure Beef
95 Fortified Cheeses
96 Chantilly Chocolate
97 Everything Chocolate
98 Playing with Texture
99 Christmas Recipes
100 The Hidden Taste of Wine
101 Teleolfaction
Further Reading
Web Features
  • Watch a video of Hervé This
  • Read a recent article on Hervé This from Wired
  • Listen to Hervé This's interview with Leonard Lopate on NPR
  • Read a review from the Guardian

About the Author

Hervé This is a physical chemist of the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique in Paris. One of the two founders of the science called molecular gastronomy, he is the author of Columbia's Kitchen Mysteries: Revealing the Science of Cooking and of several other books on food and cooking. He is a monthly contributor to Pour la Science, the French-language edition of Scientific American.