Release Date Changed for Most Expensive Cookbook Ever

Modernist Cuisine author Nathan Myhrvold making sweet love to a robot
We have talked quite a bit lately about Nathan Myhrvold, Chris Young and their massive, 2400-page "cookbook," Modernist Cuisine (which, I guess, probably isn't the most expensive cookbook ever, but is really up there, with a cover price of $625). The Seattle Food Geek got to take a rare tour of the mad scientist laboratory-slash-kitchen where all the methodology in the book was researched and produced. I found an hour-long lecture given by Myhrvold and Young that roamed wildly, covering everything from dinosaurs and eating dead whales to liquid nitrogen, barbecue and time travel, but covered many of the subjects to be discussed in Modernist Cuisine.

But now, I have some bad news for those of you who've been looking forward to dropping some serious coin on the book the minute it comes out. Or actually, Nathan Myhrvold has some bad news for you. I'll let him deliver it.

This was posted yesterday on the Modernist Cuisine website:

"We've been working diligently to get our book done in time to make the 2010 Holiday season, but we have been overtaken by events. Proofreading and correcting 2,400 pages is, as you can imagine, a very big job, and it has been taking longer than we expected to complete that work. Although we are optimistic that we will be able to turn around the remaining galley proofs in less time than the first few volumes required, realistically we are still looking at a few weeks of work ahead of us.

Another source of delay arose when the external packaging for the book--the shipping box and the shock-absorbing pieces inside it that protect the heavy volumes and their slipcase during transit­­--failed a rigorous series of drop tests. The book is sold as a box set, and we have designed a very impressive slipcase for the books that we haven't discussed in public yet because we need to be certain we can get it to customers in mint condition...At more than 40 pounds (18 kilograms), our six-volume set is well beyond the usual experience of printers, so we had them create a custom-designed box-within-a-box arrangement to serve as the shipping container. offered to put this package, with mock-ups of our volumes inside, through a series of torture tests at their lab. It was a good thing we did this because the prototype failed! Two new packaging options are now being built; they were supposed to arrive some time ago, but these too are taking longer than expected."

Gotcha. Proofreading delays, some kind of mysterious box-construction delay. No problem, Nathan, but what does this all mean?

"All of this is preamble to announcing that we at last have an official publishing date: March 14, 2010. That is more precise, but obviously a bit later, than the December 2010 target we had posted," the release continued. "The biggest concern with the delay is that we will miss the 2010 holiday season, which is a traditional time to give gifts. Of course, the rejoinder is that the holidays come every year, so rather than being just in time for 2010, we will be quite early for 2011. Nevertheless, I personally apologize to everybody who had their heart set on giving the gift of Modernist Cuisine this holiday season."

So, March 14 it is, folks. It gives you a little bit more time to scrape up the pesos and, conveniently, falls just a couple days before St. Patrick's Day, allowing those of us of a particular mindset just enough time to invent various drinking games revolving around the book.

I'm thinking something along the lines of, do a shot every time Myhrvold and Young use the phrase "parametric formulas for fluid gels." Weird thing is, I'll probably be completely hammered before I even get through the first volume.

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