Are you ready for the snobbiest sentence you’ve ever heard me say (with the note that I mean it with humbleness and sincerity?) … this is exactly the problem I had with the meat courses at the French Laundry! They were too refined, too perfect. They lost the sexiness, the unexpectedness, of really good meat. I’m glad to learn I’m not alone in my wariness of the overuse/abuse of ultra-refined sous vide cooking….*
From The New Yorker’s fascinating review of the multi-volume tome, Modernist Cuisine:
The most instructive dish, however, was one of the failures, a slow-and-low chicken, cooked for several hours and served when its internal temperature had hit 149 degrees Fahrenheit. The problem was that, with all its juices still inside, it tasted far too chickeny. If you oven-roast chicken the regular way, you get used to the drying effect of the heat, and to the fact that some juices go into the pan and are recycled as gravy. With this version, the bird was so moist that its texture was almost jellied, the flesh was a faint pink, and the chicken-explosion of flavor was overwhelming. In a sense, it was too good. My roast-chicken-obsessed children threw down their cutlery in protest after a single mouthful.
* To be clear: I most certainly did NOT throw down my cutlery in protest. Let’s not kid ourselves, ‘twas still effing amazing.