Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Molecular Gastronomy: Exploring the Science of Flavor” as Want to Read:
Molecular Gastronomy: Exploring the Science of Flavor
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Molecular Gastronomy: Exploring the Science of Flavor (Arts and Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History)

3.84  ·  Rating Details  ·  660 Ratings  ·  55 Reviews
Herv? 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 lab ...more
Hardcover, 377 pages
Published January 4th 2006 by Columbia University Press (first published 2003)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Molecular Gastronomy, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Molecular Gastronomy

The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael PollanIn Defense of Food by Michael PollanAn Edible History of Humanity by Tom StandageFood Politics by Marion NestleThe Food of Paradise by Rachel Laudan
Global Citizenship: Food
44th out of 64 books — 13 voters
The Disappearing Spoon by Sam KeanElements by Theodore GrayNapoleon's Buttons by Penny Le CouteurThe Poisoner's Handbook by Deborah BlumUncle Tungsten by Oliver Sacks
Chemistry - best books
97th out of 103 books — 70 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,834)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Petra X
I'm really enjoying this. Some of it is going over my head but I'm starting to get an idea of how it works. It's fascinating, not just the science and the cooking but the experiments. I'm going to try this one.

Put an egg into a tall glass and pour over vinegar. In two days the shell will have dissolved leaving the egg floating. Magic!
Oct 02, 2007 Bookworm rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Cooks & Foodies
Very cool book. At times a little too much science, but very interesting. I wish it had actually included recipes and not just theory. Though I might try some of the applications anyway. Mayo without oil anyone? Or, how about chocolate mousse made only with water and cocoa?
Jun 25, 2012 Darren rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Molecular Gastronomy has became a catch-all term for the various activities of cooks to manipulate the flavour, appearance and even form of food and its constituent ingredients through scientific means. Of course, on a very basic level, combining ingredients is a form of science, yet it is fair to describe molecular gastronomy as taking things way beyond a basic level.

In recent years molecular gastronomy has started seeping out of the kitchen laboratory and onto the restaurant plate, thanks to a
Mar 12, 2014 Keith rated it it was ok
This book has a few interesting parts to it, but overall the writing is really disjointed and the chapters are giving you information you can't really use, or bother to remember, because they don't go into enough depth on the subject matter. They will talk about the effects of putting eggs in a vinegar solution and then they'll say something else happens in another case, but they don't tell you what that case is. They spend a lot of time naming different chemicals and numbers in brief, but not i ...more
زهراء مُحمد
Jan 25, 2014 زهراء مُحمد rated it really liked it
Molecular Gastronomy: Exploring the Science of Flavor is food book written by Hervé This. He is a French physical chemist on the staff of the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique in Paris. M. B. DeBevosie translated this book from French to English and published it in 2006. The book has 377 pages, four chapters total. Each chapter consists of several sections. In the beginning of each section the author states the history behind writing the section to provide the readers with generous i ...more
I don't think this book works very well as an audiobook.
I was fine with the rather in-depth science. I guess I know more about the science mentioned in the book than about the food.
This books is essentially an numeration and unfortunately most of it just went in one ear and out the other.
I retained two things:
hot coffee + milk + 5min wait is hotter than hot coffee + 5min wait + milk
All spirits ageing in oak barrels will acquire a vanilla flavour.
Mar 19, 2015 Jay rated it it was ok
This idea for this book is brilliant and tantalizing; its realization is deeply disappointing.

The author addresses dozens of interesting questions that may have occurred to anyone who eats food and has some curiosity. Why is some meat tougher than other meat? How does cooking make food taste better? What is a Maillard reaction? And in example after example, he fails. He begins to explain, but what you thought was the topic sentence (E.g., "Pieces [of meat] with high concentrations of collagen ar
Nov 18, 2013 Bill rated it it was amazing
Sometimes fascinating, always brief (3-page chapters). Perfect for browsing, even by those of us with little talent in the kitchen.
Mar 18, 2016 Sarah rated it really liked it
Molecular Gastronomy is a sophisticated and fascinating tome (a tome because of the density of content and microscopic font) destined to go down in social and academic history. The purpose of this book is, using the scientific method, to debunk claims by cookbooks and cooking methods from the Middle Ages that are still in use today. This is a book about the perception of flavor and the ways gastronomy can be improved with science. Hervé This illustrates his chapters with experiments that are sim ...more
Aug 05, 2011 George rated it really liked it
This book opened my eyes to the science (mostly chemistry and physics) behind cooking. The basic idea of the author is that cooking as a science has largely been unchanged since the Middle Ages. Look at cookbooks today and the techniques that they recommend, and you will find that there are, in most cases, no scientific basis for the recommendations. This book will address many basic questions around cooking wisdom that many cooks have heard about such as "Should I salt beans before or after the ...more
Jun 12, 2011 Alice rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
More than I year after I bought this I'm still rereading sections of it. This is in part because I find the subject (the science of food) interesting, but also due to the nature of the writing. It's half-way between a collection of columns/articles and (academic) published papers. The writing is dense and at times overly academic, but I understand that was the intention.

It covers a broad range of topics e.g. how we taste food, the difference salt makes to steak, why chocolate will 'bloom' etc.
Sep 28, 2008 kirk rated it it was amazing
It's easy to see why the world's most forward-thinking chefs have been inspired by this book. Admittedly, I glossed over a lot of chemistry in this book, of which I had little to no understanding. In spite of that, Herve This' book is as fun to read as he is French. (I'm not sure: did that make sense?) Consider the definition of "flavor" found in the glossary to his book:

"A term that describes the synthetic sensation produced by eating and drinking . . . that corresponds to the French gout. It
Jul 25, 2008 Wendy rated it liked it
Recommends it for: foodies with a taste for chemistry
Shelves: sciencebooks, food
This is a collection of 101 short essays on various topics in the science of food and cooking. It a bit of a mixed bag: you get everything from essays on how food chemists identified the compounds that give particular types of wine or cheese their flavor, to wacky science experiments you can try at home (how much air can you beat into an egg white), to slightly offbeat things that you might actually try in your kitchen at home. (This describes a technique for making a chocolate mousse using pure ...more
Feb 16, 2009 Andrew rated it liked it
some great information in here, and i love the fact that he includes his email address if there is a food product or dish especially of interest to the reader. he wants you to contact him about the best way to prepare it. the fact that the delay in developing tele-olfaction and tele-gustation is a source of frustration for This and other gourmets (and probably you) shows you just how scientific and imaginative the guy is. complementary traits too often thought of as contradictory. the mechanical ...more
Nov 18, 2014 Simon rated it really liked it
Shelves: food
As a keen student of science (but far from being a scientist) and a keen student of cooking (and an equal distance from being a chef) I found this fascinating and entertaining. I enjoyed the enthusiastic way Hervé This (pronounced Tease approximately) puts his ideas across so much that I looked him up on Youtube and found a very engaging (slightly bumbling) but immensely enthusiastic fellow.

I'll be trying out a few kitchen experiments and hopefully they will lead to others. The book will remain
Da-Wang Wu
Jul 20, 2012 Da-Wang Wu rated it it was amazing
Though sometimes those chemical mechanisms might make readers feel confused, it's a fantastic book for people who love cooking (or maybe also eating lol). For me, molecular gastronomy is so fascinating and fancy, and that's why I bought this book; however, after I read it, I found it's much more academic(?!) than I expected because of its careful analysis of physics, chemistry, and biology, and it makes me love it more! Especially like the idea that after knowing every mechanism of cooking a spe ...more
Sep 21, 2011 Tim rated it really liked it
Recommended to Tim by: Erika
Shelves: science
A brilliant collection of monographs on the science of food, covering a wide variety of subjects from myth-busting to improvement to pure investigation. I must admit that several sections either went over my head or applied to foods that I'm not interested in, but the structure of the book (101 two-page monographs loosely organized) made it easy to just skip to the next subject. Of particular interest to me were several chapters on foams (including an awesome-sounding chocolate "cake" that I'm g ...more
Mar 15, 2014 Kendra rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
I was expecting recipes. It is a series of essays on Molecular gastronomy. I should have read the reviews here before picking it up. Find another book if you are looking for recipes.
May 26, 2016 Eric rated it it was amazing
Fascinating stuff. They should teach this in Chemistry classes
Nov 13, 2010 Michele rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
2.5 stars

This is a book for scientists... not for the average person who likes science, but for scientists. I loved reading about the nitty-gritty of what makes things work and why they cook the way they do, but this book gets VERY technical (when he gets into the biology of cooking, it was even too technical for me). That being said, this book really reads more like a collection of 100 3-page abstracts that just give you a small taste of the research that has been done in different areas of the
Jan 26, 2008 Tom rated it liked it
I plan to use this book as a textbook in my course on advanced cooking. It is organized into almost 100 small essays, all based on some research into a specific scientific question of culinary phenomena. I applaud the effort. However, many of the essays are vague and sketchy, leaving the reader hungry for more. This partly reflects the realities of science--inch wide, mile deep. And it reflects the virtual impossibility of finding someone who straddles two worlds--culinary and scientific.
Sarah Flynn
Aug 30, 2007 Sarah Flynn rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: chris mcdowall, sienna
Shelves: summer07
I'll admit it: I didn't understand half of what was going on in this book, and that's part of why I loved it. The science that goes into every step of the cooking process, however, is so integral to its success that it's difficult to imagine a great chef without some grasp of these principles and techniques.

Bonus points for the inclusion of a section on how to incorporate chocolate into even the most difficult desserts.
Jul 11, 2007 Debra is currently reading it
Years ago I came across a reference to this book and idly thought it should be translated into English. Turns out I'm not the only one who thought that, but someone else actually got off their ar$e and did it. Wish it had been me, but I'm glad someone did.

Urban myths are exposed (you knew that spoon-champagne thing never worked but now you have evidence) and loads of great food science.
Jan 13, 2011 Smellsofbikes rated it really liked it
This is a dense, dry book with indifferent translation, and suffers from a sense of attention deficit disorder: a two-page chapter on cheese, followed by another three-page chapter on cheese, followed by a two-page chapter on wine. However, it's filled with information, and the last quarter, of proposals for new ways of working with food, is particularly interesting.
Mar 31, 2011 Simon rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This starts off well with a series of chapters debunking a number of cooking myths with scientific explanations and experimentation, but later chapters read increasingly like a particularly dry chemistry text book. I started to skim after I'd got about a third of the way in. Most chapters are only a few pages long, which makes it more suitable for dipping into.
Neilie J
Feb 29, 2012 Neilie J rated it it was ok
Oh man, this was such a snooze. Yes, the guy is extremely knowledgeable, but the way the information in this book is conveyed is better than any sleep aid I've every tried. I was only able to get through roughly a half hour of it before feeling my eyelids droop.
May 05, 2013 Joost rated it did not like it
Boring, barely readable (bad translation? should I get the original French one?) and lacking actual science bits. It's mostly a collection of historic stories with some tiny bits of fact sprinkled on top of it. I actually stopped half way...
Dec 16, 2008 Britt rated it it was ok
Shelves: food, nonfiction, science
I was disappointed by this book. I read an article about Hervé This in Discover Magazine, and the short artlce had much more interesting, practical information than the entire book. The book just skims the surface, in general.
Feb 06, 2008 Evan rated it it was ok
The idea is good, a serious inquiry into the science of cooking and taste, but unless you have some science background or familiarity with various proteins, sugars, alcohols, etc. it comes off as a tough read.
Mar 01, 2009 Drake rated it liked it
Shelves: science, food
Fun, but a bit repetitive and fairly . It reads more like a series of themed articles from a popular science magazine than a regular book, but it is still fascinating and has an excellent bibliography.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 61 62 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Curious Cook: More Kitchen Science and Lore
  • What Einstein Told His Cook 2: The Sequel: Further Adventures in Kitchen Science
  • Culinary Artistry
  • Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking
  • The Science of Good Food: The Ultimate Reference on How Cooking Works
  • The Elements of Cooking: Translating the Chef's Craft for Every Kitchen
  • Heston Blumenthal: In Search of Perfection: Reinventing Kitchen Classics
  • The Science of Cooking
  • Radar, Hula Hoops, and Playful Pigs: 67 Digestible Commentaries on the Fascinating Chemistry of Everyday Life
  • The Kitchen as Laboratory: Reflections on the Science of Food and Cooking
  • The Escoffier Cookbook: and Guide to the Fine Art of Cookery for Connoisseurs, Chefs, Epicures
  • Jacques Pépin's Complete Techniques: Featuring More Than 1,000 Cooking Methods and Recipes,  in Thousands of  Step-by-Step Photographs
  • A Day At Elbulli
  • Food is Culture (Arts and Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History)
  • Sauces: Classical and Contemporary Sauce Making
  • The Physiology of Taste: Or, Meditations on Transcendental Gastronomy
  • Last Chance to Eat: The Fate of Taste in a Fast Food World
  • The Oxford Companion to Food
Hervé This is is a French physical chemist who works at the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique. His main area of interest is molecular gastronomy, or how our knowledge of chemistry and science in general, can be used as a tool to enhance culinary experiences, rather than the purely empirical knowledge which more often than not dictates the rules in the kitchen. With the late Nicholas Ku ...more
More about Hervé This...

Other Books in the Series

Arts and Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History (1 - 10 of 21 books)
  • British Food: An Extraordinary Thousand Years of History
  • Building a Meal: From Molecular Gastronomy to Culinary Constructivism (Arts and Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History)
  • Cheese, Pears, & History in a Proverb
  • Culture of the Fork: A Brief History of Everyday Food and Haute Cuisine in Europe
  • Eating History: Thirty Turning Points in the Making of American Cuisine
  • Food and Faith in Christian Culture
  • Food is Culture (Arts and Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History)
  • French Gastronomy: The History and Geography of a Passion
  • Gastropolis: Food and New York City
  • Hog and Hominy: Soul Food from Africa to America

Share This Book