60-Second Science

Nathan Myhrvold Shares Cooking-Science Tips

The former chief technology officer at Microsoft, co-founder of Intellectual Ventures and co-author of Modernist Cuisine talks simple tips for making cooking for scientific. Steve Mirsky reports

“The best value for money in cooking equipment, in my mind, is first a digital scale and digital thermometer. They’re both about $20. They help you cook so much more accurately that they’re both enormously valuable.”

Nathan Myhrvold is the former chief technology officer at Microsoft and co-founder of Intellectual Ventures. He’s also the co-author of the six-volume 2011 Modernist Cuisine and the 2012 single volume Modernist Cuisine At Home. I caught up with him after a cooking talk he gave at the recent meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Boston and asked him about the simplest things people can do to cook better at home.

“A blowtorch is a wonderful thing. You can get one of those for about 25 bucks at Home Depot. And there’s a ton of things that you can use a blowtorch for, in browning a steak or touching up the browning of a chicken or making crème brûlée.

“The next thing I’d get is a pressure cooker. Pressure cookers are relatively inexpensive, they’re in every kitchen store, your grandma probably had one, but a lot of people don’t. A pressure cooker is interesting because by pressurizing the vessel, you’re able to cook much hotter than the boiling point of water, and still have water be present. And so that let’s you do a lot of cooking tasks easier and faster. So we love a pressure cooker for making stock, for making vegetable soups and so forth.”

You can hear parts of Myhrvold’s lecture and the full interview on an upcoming episode of the Science Talk podcast.

—Steve Mirsky

[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]

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