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'Modernist Cuisine': Food, down to a science

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Nathan Myhrvold was an executive at Microsoft before he turned his techie eye to cooking. Now his new five-volume set, Modernist Cuisine, reveals a whole slew of fascinating food facts.

1. You can measure the speed of light simply by melting cheese in your microwave.

2. Use what you have: An aquarium bubbler can be used to make foams, rather than some expensive contraption.

3. The cheeseburger recipe consists of 60 different steps.

4. Carbonation isn’t only for liquids. It’s also possible to carbonate solid fruit like apples and grapes.

5. Never dip dense foods in liquid nitrogen and then serve them immediately, or you will experience the culinary version of licking a frozen pump handle.