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  • So I'm going to tell you a little bit

  • about reimagining food.

  • I've been interested in food for a long time.

  • I taught myself to cook

  • with a bunch of big books like this.

  • I went to chef school in France.

  • And there is a way

  • the world both envisions food,

  • the way the world writes about food and learns about food.

  • And it's largely what you would find in these books.

  • And it's a wonderful thing.

  • But there's some things that have been going on

  • since this idea of food was established.

  • In the last 20 years,

  • people have realized that science

  • has a tremendous amount to do with food.

  • In fact, understanding why cooking works

  • requires knowing the science of cooking --

  • some of the chemistry, some of the physics and so forth.

  • But that's not in any of those books.

  • There's also a tremendous number of techniques

  • that chefs have developed,

  • some about new aesthetics, new approaches to food.

  • There's a chef in Spain named Ferran Adria.

  • He's developed a very avant-garde cuisine.

  • A guy in England called Heston Blumenthal,

  • he's developed his avant-garde cuisine.

  • None of the techniques that these people have developed

  • over the course of the last 20 years

  • is in any of those books.

  • None of them are taught in cooking schools.

  • In order to learn them, you have to go work in those restaurants.

  • And finally,

  • there's the old way of viewing food

  • is the old way.

  • And so a few years ago -- fours years ago, actually --

  • I set out to say, is there a way

  • we can communicate science and technique and wonder?

  • Is there a way we can show people food

  • in a way they have not seen it before?

  • So we tried, and I'll show you what we came up with.

  • This is a picture called a cutaway.

  • This is actually the first picture I took in the book.

  • The idea here is to explain what happens

  • when you steam broccoli.

  • And this magic view allows you to see

  • all of what's happening

  • while the broccoli steams.

  • Then each of the different little pieces around it

  • explain some fact.

  • And the hope was two-fold.

  • One is you can actually explain what happens when you steam broccoli.

  • But the other thing is that maybe we could seduce people

  • into stuff that was a little more technical,

  • maybe a little bit more scientific, maybe a little bit more chef-y

  • than they otherwise would have.

  • Because with that beautiful photo,

  • maybe I can also package this little box here

  • that talks about how steaming and boiling

  • actually take different amounts of time.

  • Steaming ought to be faster.

  • It turns out it isn't because of something called film condensation,

  • and this explains that.

  • Well, that first cutaway picture worked,

  • so we said, "Okay, let's do some more."

  • So here's another one.

  • We discovered why woks are the shape they are.

  • This shaped wok doesn't work very well;

  • this caught fire three times.

  • But we had a philosophy,

  • which is it only has to look good for a thousandth of a second.

  • (Laughter)

  • And one of our canning cutaways.

  • Once you start cutting things in half, you kind of get carried away,

  • so you see we cut the jars in half as well as the pan.

  • And each of these text blocks

  • explains a key thing that's going on.

  • In this case, boiling water canning

  • is for canning things that are already pretty acidic.

  • You don't have to heat them up as hot

  • as you would something you do pressure canning

  • because bacterial spores can't grow in the acid.

  • So this is great for pickled vegetables,

  • which is what we're canning here.

  • Here's our hamburger cutaway.

  • One of our philosophies in the book

  • is that no dish

  • is really intrinsically any better than any other dish.

  • So you can lavish

  • all the same care, all the same technique,

  • on a hamburger

  • as you would on some much more fancy dish.

  • And if you do lavish as much technique as possible,

  • and you try to make the highest quality hamburger,

  • it gets to be a little bit involved.

  • The New York Times ran a piece

  • after my book was delayed

  • and it was called "The Wait for the 30-Hour Hamburger

  • Just Got Longer."

  • Because our hamburger recipe, our ultimate hamburger recipe,

  • if you make the buns and you marinate the meat and you do all this stuff,

  • it does take about 30 hours.

  • Of course, you're not actually working the whole time.

  • Most of the time is kind of sitting there.

  • The point of this cutaway

  • is to show people a view of hamburgers they haven't seen before

  • and to explain the physics of hamburgers

  • and the chemistry of hamburgers,

  • because, believe it or not, there is something to the physics and chemistry --

  • in particular, those flames underneath the burger.

  • Most of the characteristic char-grilled taste

  • doesn't come from the wood or the charcoal.

  • Buying mesquite charcoal will not actually make that much difference.

  • Mostly it comes from fat pyrolyzing, or burning.

  • So it's the fat that drips down and flares up

  • that causes the characteristic taste.

  • Now you might wonder, how do we make these cutaways?

  • Most people assume we use Photoshop.

  • And the answer is: no, not really;

  • we use a machine shop.

  • And it turns out, the best way to cut things in half

  • is to actually cut them in half.

  • So we have two halves of one of the best kitchens in the world.

  • (Laughter)

  • We cut a $5,000 restaurant oven in half.

  • The manufacturer said,

  • "What would it take for you to cut one in half?"

  • I said, "It would have to show up free."

  • And so it showed up, we used it a little while,

  • we cut it in half.

  • Now you can also see a little bit how we did some of these shots.

  • We would glue a piece of Pyrex

  • or heat-resistant glass in front.

  • We used a red, very high-temperature silicon to do that.

  • The great thing is, when you cut something in half,

  • you have another half.

  • So you photograph that in exactly the same position,

  • and then you can substitute in --

  • and that part does use Photoshop -- just the edges.

  • So it's very much like in a Hollywood movie

  • where a guy flies through the air, supported by wires,

  • and then they take the wires away digitally

  • so you're flying through the air.

  • In most cases, though, there was no glass.

  • Like for the hamburger, we just cut the damn barbecue.

  • And so those coals that kept falling off the edge,

  • we kept having to put them back up.

  • But again, it only has to work for a thousandth of a second.

  • The wok shot caught fire three times.

  • What happens when you have your wok cut in half

  • is the oil goes down into the fire

  • and whoosh!

  • One of our cooks lost his eyebrows that way.

  • But hey, they grow back.

  • In addition to cutaways,

  • we also explain physics.

  • This is Fourier's law of heat conduction.

  • It's a partial differential equation.

  • We have the only cookbook in the world

  • that has partial differential equations in it.

  • But to make them palatable,

  • we cut it out of a steel plate and put it in front of a fire

  • and photographed it like this.

  • We've got lots of little tidbits in the book.

  • Everybody knows that your various appliances

  • have wattage, right?

  • But you probably don't know that much about James Watt.

  • But now you will; we put a biography of James Watt in.

  • It's a little couple paragraphs

  • to explain why we call that unit of heat the watt,

  • and where he got his inspiration.

  • It turned out he was hired by a Scottish distillery

  • to understand why they were burning so damn much peat

  • to distill the whiskey.

  • We also did a lot of calculation.

  • I personally wrote thousands of lines of code

  • to write this cookbook.

  • Here's a calculation

  • that shows how the intensity of a barbecue,

  • or other radiant heat source, goes

  • as you move away from it.

  • So as you move vertically away from this surface,

  • the heat falls off.

  • As you move side to side, it moves off.

  • That horn-shaped region

  • is what we call the sweet spot.

  • That's the place where the heat is even to within 10 percent.

  • So that's the place where you really want to cook.

  • And it's got this funny horn-shaped thing,

  • which as far as I know, again,

  • the first cookbook to ever do this.

  • Now it may also be the last cookbook that ever does it.

  • You know, there's two ways

  • you can make a product.

  • You can do lots of market research

  • and do focus groups

  • and figure out what people really want,

  • or you can just kind of go for it

  • and make the book you want and hope other people like it.

  • Here's a step-by-step that shows grinding hamburger.

  • If you really want great hamburger,

  • it turns out it makes a difference if you align the grain.

  • And it's really simple, as you can see here.

  • As it comes out of the grinder, you just have a little tray,

  • and you just take it off in little passes,

  • build it up, slice it vertically.

  • Here's the final hamburger.

  • This is the 30-hour hamburger.

  • We make every aspect of this burger.

  • The lettuce has got liquid smoke infused into it.

  • We also have things about how to make the bun.

  • There's a mushroom, ketchup -- it goes on and on.

  • Now watch closely. This is popcorn. I'll explain it here.

  • The popcorn is illustrating

  • a key thing in physics.

  • Isn't that beautiful?

  • We have a very high-speed camera,

  • which we had lots of fun with on the book.

  • The key physics principle here

  • is when water boils to steam

  • it expands by a factor of 1,600.

  • That's what's happening to the water inside that popcorn.

  • So it's a great illustration of that.

  • Now I'm going to close with a video that is kind of unusual.

  • We have a chapter on gels.

  • And because people watch Mythbusters and CSI,

  • I thought, well, let's put in a recipe

  • for a ballistics gelatin.

  • Well, if you have a high-speed camera,

  • and you have a block of ballistics gelatin lying around,

  • pretty soon somebody does this.

  • (Gasps)

  • Now the amazing thing here

  • is that a ballistics gelatin is supposed to mimic

  • what happens to human flesh when you get shot -- that's why you shouldn't get shot.

  • The other amazing thing is, when this ballistics gelatin comes down,

  • it falls back down as a nice block.

  • Anyway, here's the book.

  • Here it is.

  • 2,438 pages.

  • And they're nice big pages too.

  • (Applause)

  • A friend of mine complained

  • that this was too big and too pretty to go in the kitchen,

  • so there's a sixth volume

  • that has washable, waterproof paper.

  • (Applause)

So I'm going to tell you a little bit