On today’s episode of Modern Notion Daily, our guest is J. Kenji López-Alt, the managing culinary director of Serious Eats and author of the new book, The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking through Science (W. W. Norton, September 2015). López-Alt takes a scientific approach to cooking—which doesn’t mean he’s necessarily looking for the “perfect” way to make a dish, but he wants to understand what it would take to do so. The result is this 1,000-page cookbook, which shifts the focus from recipes and onto the science behind why they work. Later in the hour, contributing editor Mark Hay warns us against shooting armadillos.

Music this hour: