Drinkable Bagels and Pea Fat: Cooking with Microsoft's Former Chief Technology Officer Drinkable Bagels and Pea Fat: Cooking with Microsoft's Former Chief Technology Officer
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Drinkable Bagels and Pea Fat: Cooking with Microsoft's Former Chief Technology Officer

by Nicola Twilley

February 4, 2011

The menu that Popular Science's Paul Adams consumes includes a drinkable everything bagel in the form of a broth studded with dill, lox, and chives, foie-gras bonbons, and a plate of homemade processed cheese. The highlight of his meal, though, seems to be the pea butter toast:

Fresh peas are blended to a puree, then spun in a centrifuge at 13 times the force of gravity. The force separates the puree into three discrete layers: on the bottom, a bland puck of starch; on the top, vibrant-colored, seductively sweet pea juice; and separating the two, a thin layer of the pea's natural fat, pea-green and unctuous. A standard pea yields about 3 percent fat, so the half-ounce of glistening viridian on my toast was the equivalent of perhaps a pound and a half of peas condensed into a single bite.

For the first time in my life, I think I want a centrifuge! And if I win the lottery, you can definitely expect to see a report on the rest of the dishes in the book.

But, in all seriousness, although molecular gastronomy is sometimes vilified as frivolous foodie decadence, the process of investigating the potential of a single ingredient—the pea—to this degree seems of a piece with a greater thoughtfulness toward food and our relationship with it overall, which is ultimately, I think, a very good thing.

Click through to see a slideshow of the rest of the meal and read the rest of Adams' report. Thanks to BLDGBLOG for the tip.

Image: a bagel shot and pea butter, photographed by Paul Adams for Popular Science.

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Drinkable Bagels and Pea Fat: Cooking with Microsoft's Former Chief Technology Officer