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As one of London's most celebrated chefs, Blumenthal delights in confounding diners' expectations with unusual dishes like crab ice cream, but there is a scientific method to his madness. This book, like his last, accompanies his BBC TV series, in which he travels around the world to immerse himself in the history and popular ways of making eight well-known menu items (including hamburger and risotto), then breaks them down in his lab kitchen to understand their parts, and finally reinvents them from the bottom up based on his new knowledge. Blumenthal not only uses scientific technology like MRI machines and gas chromatographs, he also draws on cognitive neuroscience theories to investigate, for example, how a dish's name influences the way people taste it, and he is as comfortable discussing technical details as he is rhapsodizing about a good baked Alaska. The recipes provided are clearly written, but the equipment, ingredients and time involved will dissuade many home cooks, and the book is really more about discoveries along the way than the end result. Blumenthal's lively intellect and dryly humorous, evocative writing will appeal to anyone interested in the process behind molecular gastronomy or who has ever wondered why certain recipes are constructed as they are. (July)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.