Appears to be a collection of responses from his newspaper column. The information was good and I learned from it. So I'd recommend the book because of what you'll learn. Was just bummed that they didn't (appear to) make more of an effort that a copy and paste from his previous writings. Either way, it's a good read, worth a few bucks ... just not a GREAT book.
An educator and senior who listens to his books from his phone through his hearing aids.
This was a delightful Audible listen that answered many of those cooking questions that many of us have always wanted to ask, but knew no one with more than a folklore rationale. Wolke offers not only scientific explanations to why good cooking requires so many mystical steps, but explains them in terms that anyone can understand. At the same time, he does not trivialize the science or use explanations that make those of us with science backgrounds shudder at his analogies and metaphors because of banality. His prose is filled with clever repartee. Finally, Wolke is comprehensive and well organized in answering all kinds of questions related to foods, cooking, and kitchen craft.
I would compare this book to freakonomics. Although freakonomics has nothing to do with cooking, this book is similar in that the revelations will blow your mind. The author is fairly witty, and it completely held my attention while in the car.
Way better than I thought it was going to be.
This book is simply amazing. You would have to search on google for hours and read hundreds of other cook books to amass the amount of information in this 9 hour narration.
A word of caution: I am a Mechanical Engineer and found this book to be very technical for the average person. Although the author does lay most of the stuff out in layman's terms, he does get technical. Without prior knowledge of thermodynamics, chemical bonding, etc... I would have had a difficult time understanding the concepts.
This book should have been one of my favorites, but it really lacked substance. I realize this is a huge topic, but there was so much missing from this book. I felt that the author simply neglected so many important areas of fun food trivia & science. Much time was wasted with "fluff" - stuff that I really did not care so much about, while vast areas of everyday food science was passed over. If the author wants to confirm or deny wheather or not potatoes absorb salt, just do so. I did not need 15 minutes on his potato-in-the-soup experiment. The various antidotes & stories throughout the book wasted time without adding content. Over one-half hour on how a microwave oven works......please. There were a few interesting tid-bits in the first half of the book, (although some out-dated information regarding the FDA's Trans Fat labeling guidlines - I thought this book was newer than 2003) but I struggled to get through the second half. It was like that bad movie you rent. You keep watching it because you paid for it & you hope it will turn for the better. I can not recomment this book.
In listening to this book, I discovered I must be more of a foodie than I realized, because there was not much in this book I did not already know, or at least have some idea about. I didn't have any problem understanding the technical aspects as some have noted in previous reviews, perhaps due to excessive Food Network consumption.
I did appreciate the actual scientific testing the author performed regarding some kitchen myths, such as the best way to get juice our of a lemon or lime. Now I know the two-step method. The background on salt, sugar and fat was interesting. And now I know I can't tell my kids automatically "the alcohol cooks out" when they question my liberal use of wine in a few of my dishes.
The performer did fine and read the chemical names etc. without difficulty. However, nothing about the performance really stands out to me either.
Bottom line, this was an ok book. I don't regret purchasing it and listening, but not a whole lot stands out to me either.
Booklover since I was 7 yrs. old!
I certainly would! It's very interesting for almost all people that do some cooking or like food.
Cooking is chemistry and that's cool, but it can also remove som of the magic surrounding food and cooking!
I am a chemical engineering, I cook often enough and I learned a fair bit of food chemistry.
I really enjoyed some of his personal experiments (like testing if rolling or microwaving a lemon produces more juice).
someone who likes a dry read, and can listen to detail for hours.
the overall concept of the book interested me. so perhaps I would listen to this author again, but not by the same narrator
dry and uninteresting
sleepiness. I was bored to sleep the 3 times I attempted to listen to it. Makes for great back ground noise. Dull and soothing.
to be fair, i did listen to it on a car trip (which is when I listen to 90% of my audio books). So maybe I was just particularly sleepy this trip...haha, good thing i wasn't the one driving.
I found the book interesting and informative, but I would have preferred a more narrative style (rather than the choppy Q&A style that was used).