Publishing Economics: A $625 Cookbook : Planet Money Microsoft's former chief technology officer is peddling a cookbook that costs more than most netbooks. It comes out just in time for Christmas.
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Publishing Economics: A $625 Cookbook


Cooking. It seemed like such a wholesome, back-to-basics way to deal with the poor economy. Instead of splurging on meals in fancy restaurants, we could all hunker down at home, perfecting our braising techniques and rump-meat ragus.

But now, even that money-saving hobby has become a game of economic one-upmanship. I realized that when I heard about a new cookbook, "Modernist Cuisine." It costs $625 and comes out in December.

Okay, it's not just a cookbook, it's a five-volume set totalling 2,200 pages. But that's still $125 per volume. Or, as blogger Anthony Silverbrow points out, 28 cents a page. By comparison, at $35 "The Joy of Cooking: 75th Anniversary Edition" costs 3 cents a page.

Given that pricetag, I'm unsure why the Amazon review highlights Modernist Cuisine's insights into "how low-cost pots and pans can perform better than expensive ones." Perhaps the publishers think sacrificing enough Le Creuset will provide the necessary funds to acquire their cooking oeuvre-- or at least one or two volumes of it?

The authors include Nathan Myhrvold, former chief technology officer at Microsoft, currently beloved by foodies all over Seattle and beyond. He's a pioneer of molecular gastronomy, which makes heavy use of foams, unexpected flavor combinations, cooking under vacuum to increase flavor, and other high-tech preparations.

Former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates is apparently looking forward to publication. That's $625 less for his philanthropy initiative, I guess.

Meanwhile, I'll stick to recipes I can get for free off the Internet.