VSL:SCIENCE // How should you cook an egg?

Today’s five-star restaurants still serve butter sauces that 19th-century diners would recognize. But other, more enterprising establishments — like Alinea in Chicago, and El Bulli in Spain — are combining haute cuisine and chemistry and creating a new, 21st-century style of cooking.

French chemist Hervé This is one of the movement’s pioneers, and in Molecular Gastronomy, his second book, he’s out to gain insight into several long-standing culinary mysteries: When should we add salt to a steak? What’s the best way to boil pasta? Why does a soufflé rise and fall? The answers are surprising as well as empirically sound. And don’t stress the steak — it doesn’t matter when you salt it.

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