Have you ever wondered why onions make us cry? Do you believe bananas contain more calories as they ripen and get sweeter? This sequel to the best-selling What Einstein Told His Cook continues Robert L. Wolke's investigations into the science behind our foods. In response to ongoing questions from readers of his nationally syndicated Washington Post column, "Food 101," Wolke debunks misconceptions with reliable, commonsense logic. And for exceptionally inquisitive cooks and scientists, he offers “Sidebar Science” features, which dig more deeply into the chemical processes that underlie food and cooking. Above all, What Einstein Kept Under His Hat provides indispensable information that will make listeners better shoppers, cooks, and eaters.
©2005 Robert L. Wolke (P)2012 Tantor
"All you have to do is ask 'why' and open to any page. Good luck putting it down." (Alton Brown, host of Good Eats)
As a food nerd I really enjoyed listening to this one. It was full of new knowledge and perspectives on cooking that apart from just being entertaining already has improved my food. Most people don't really know what they are doing in the kitchen and it's not necessary to be honest, but knowledge makes the time you spend in their much more meaningful and this book is a good help.
I would have given it five stars overall if it had been a bit better edited. As the texts comes from a newspaper column, I can understand that the same themes have come up often, but when making a book you should edit out the retakes.
Listening at all different times of the day
Being a curious person, I found this book provided the "why" of things I may or may not have wondered at different times. Yes it is full of science and perhaps very detailed explanations including these molecules and those molecules etc, but it proves there is a logical explanation of why things happen the way they do.
As the narrator, I like the matter of fact tone and pace of this performer.
Although I love to read books too, I think this book is more interesting as an audible. I love to listen and knit at the same time. From time to time I have to listen to a topic a second time because I do get "wrapped up" in my knitting! The narrator/author makes the subjects very interesting. And, as a bonus, the info is a great conversation starter. And, the info is fantastic trivia too! Can't wait to read about Einstein in the Kitchen!
Important info in an easy to understand format. I am a nurse and biologist and love how scientific info can be presented so understandably.
Not that kind of a book
Science and Math, etc. can be really fun
The book is a fun read for cooks and foodies. The topics are based on curious food questions that the author answered in his "Food 101" column in the Washington Post. It is about food chemistry with food facts and a wry sense of humor thrown in. If you enjoyed the first book "What Einstein Told His Cook," you'll like this one (also called "What Einstein Told His Cook 2"). Whether you use the tips or not, they're interesting to know (such as chilling an onion first and using a sharp knife to minimize crying or adding cream to your coffee sooner rather than later -- yes, there was a study conducted to measure if there was a difference). Another example is the topic on cake mix instructions -- various temperature settings depending on the type of pan you use. His advice - toss it all out the window. While metal conducts heat faster than glass and a dark colored pan more so than a light colored pan, no two ovens are the same. At the end, you'll just have to stick a toothpick in it to know for sure.
I like history, non fiction and fantasy genres. Favorite authors (so far): Robert Jordan, Ken Follett, George Martin, Gregory Roberts, Khaled Hoseini, Ayn Rand
The authors seem to go on an on an on with bad pun jokes. Dont get me wrong, its funny for a while and then it just gets annoying every time. Good information for foodies and people who just want to know how stuff works and reacts. They could have cut down on too much chemistry. Basic chemistry is okay but when you start getting in long chemical compounds, my brain starts to hurt. Maybe it will be better on a book than in audio.
some of the chapters could be skipped but thats just my personal choice. overall, okay informative book. narrator does a good job.
As a student of Science (with a capital 'S') but not a scientist (vocationally) this book was at just the right technical level for me to grasp the author's meaning, but it did not require more than high school chemistry to enjoy. As one of the few non-fiction books that I've listened to over the years, this was clearly at the top.
I'd compare it to The Bridge to the Future - Understanding Nanotechnology because the author does a good job of taking complex scientific jargon and concepts and explaining them in terms that an educated non-scientist can understand.
Sean Runnette's narration was superb! I kept thinking that this MUST be the author reading his own book because Mr. Runnette flawlessly pronounced even the most complex, polysyllabic names of chemicals, had the precise inflection for telling 'Sidebar Science' with a twinkle in his voice, and a decent accent for French and Spanish words.
Not at all. It is composed of a broad array of topics, questions and answers, little vignettes about places visited and meals eaten. It is perfect for listening in 'sound bites' (pun intended).
It has absolutely nothing to do with Albert Einstein beyond a brief homage to introduce the book, but I'm sure that the great physicist would have loved the book if he had the privilege of listening to it like I did.
The Complete Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.
This book is full of science that is better seen visualized than in audio form. Also, despite the tongue-in-cheek style of writing, I found the overall subject matter to be a little pretentious. E.g., so what if what we call "melding" is not scientifically accurate. We all now what it means and will continue to use it accordingly. People change language - language is not dictate to people.
For a better (albeit pricier) source of cooking science, download the "Modernist Cuisine at Home" app on iOS.
understandable scientific concepts
Wolke's book about the science of cooking and food--basic,understandable, interesting facts and concepts about things I did not know
Enjoyed this book although there was some crossover with his book on cooking
The book continually refers to the PDF companion to the book. However, no PDF companion comes with this book. With the PDF companion, I would have given this 5 stars.
Fun facts, presented with humor and in layperson's language.
Expressive and easy to listen to. I will be looking for other books narrated by this reader.
I considered getting the Kindle version but no PDF companion is mentioned in the Kindle description, and since that's the only thing I really want from it I don't care to spend the money.
Retired nightclub performer/computer technician, I now teach hula and ukulele to seniors, and record Hawaiian music for my halau!
Here is another terrific book I can listen to over and over again. I love Sean Runnette, the narrator, and I have to chuckle every time he throws out a "Food Fictionary" factoid. I totally broke down when he defined "hominy".
Robert L. Wolke is a little crazy, you know, just like me. His tongue-in cheek-humor at the most unexpected moments is delightful. Even though you think he's pulling your leg, he is full of information about food, cooking, and unbelievable stuff about the kitchen, of all places. He talks casually, then throws in some solid "sidebar science" every once in a while. Great thing is, I can put the book down and pick it up again later and dig right in. It's golden.
Be sure to get the 85-page PDF that comes with the book. You will be given instructions on how to get it in the very first part of the book. There are recipes to die for, and they are not for dieters -- OMG! The Jack Daniels Barbecue Sauce sounds amazing!
Now I have been a little distracted--dieting for the last half year, and food just can't be my "thing" any more. But I have just been eating this book up (calorie free, even) and hate to turn it off. One of these days I might just have to splurge on a grilled chocolate sandwich (page 65 of the PDF!)
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