Book Club

Where Are Seattle’s Copies of Modernist Cuisine Stashed?

Tomorrow we find out if this locally created book wins a James Beard award. Today we ask people where they keep it.

By Anne Larkin May 3, 2012


Modernist Cuisine, the 2,438-page, 40-plus-pound, five-volume, $625, gastronomic opus created by the Bellevue-based team of mad chef-scientists sold out before it even came out back in March of 2011. Creator Nathan Myhrvold, his team, his lab, and his book were the center of the food world’s attention, and everyone wanted to get their paws on a copy of the book. Now, more than a year later, the waiting list for the library’s copies remains in the triple digits, a reported 45,000 people have bought the books, generating $20 million in sales, and those who own the tome guard it with a reverence usually reserved for diamond jewelry and family heirlooms.

Tomorrow, May 4, we find out whether Modernist Cuisine will bring home a James Beard award for Best Cookbook: Cooking from a Professional Point of View. We were curious where the proud Seattle owners keep their copies. Also, what does one actually do with a cookbook like this? (You don’t keep it in the kitchen, that’s for sure.) Inspired by those annual stories about where Oscar winners keep their golden trophies; we bring you a slideshow of where local chefs (think Bisato, Canlis, Crush, MistralKitchen and Rover’s), and food nerds (one of whom describes it as his "most prized possession) keep their copies of Modernist Cuisine.

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