Why is red meat red? How do they decaffeinate coffee? Do you wish you understood the science of food but don't want to plow through dry, technical books? In What Einstein Told His Cook, University of Pittsburgh chemistry professor emeritus and award-winning Washington Post food columnist Robert L. Wolke provides reliable and witty explanations for your most burning food questions, while debunking misconceptions and helping you interpret confusing advertising and labeling. A finalist for both the James Beard Foundation and IACP Awards for best food reference, What Einstein Told His Cook engages cooks and chemists alike.
©2002 Robert L. Wolke (P)2012 Tantor
"With its zest for the truth, this book will help cooks learn how to make more intelligent choices." (Publishers Weekly)
For the kitchen nerd with a sense of humor. An absorbing read. (Food & Wine)
Wolke...is one of the great demystifiers of scientific information. (BusinessWeek)
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This book tackles some of the questions about why and how things happen to the food we cook and other goings on in our kitchens. Told in a light and easy to understand style, this book was well paced and didnt drag along. I enjoyed listening to this book as it was a good change of pace selection.
No. I don't mind listening to the book because I'm not willing to spend my limited print reading time on it, but I think that being able to refer back to certain parts and facts would be quite useful.
The explanations about different types of sugars was quite interesting. Scientific and detailed enough, but not boring and PhD Chemist level...
Sean Runnette is a competent reader who enunciates well, but I find his voice to lack character and inflection. I couldn't listen to this performance for hours on end, but snippets here and there are fine.
This book lends itself to short, bursts of listening rather than long hours all at once. It would be a great commute book for a half hour a day or so. Probably not so great for a long roadtrip.
People say I resemble my dog (and vice-versa). He can hear sounds I can't hear, but I'm the one who listens to audiobooks.
Award winning chemistry professor Robert Wolke answers myriad questions on the subject of food and food preparation, all from the point of view of the science of where food comes from, how to best store it, how to cook it, etc. etc. His explanations are so good, they will more than pay back the price of buying this audiobook. For example, you will never again spend more for sea salt or a salt grinder than you will for a box of regular table salt, and you will understand why from a simple scientific point of view.
As you might expect from a non-fiction book that doesn't have a defined narrative flow (each section stands on its own), the best comes first. The opening sections on sugar, salt, and fat -- basic ingredients with significant health factors -- are outstanding. The middle sections on proteins, chemicals, and drinks are still excellent, but a bit scattershot in terms of relevance (do I really care if light cream is technically heavier than heavy cream or whether an egg can really fry on a hot sidewalk?).
The penultimate chapter on microwaves is essential and will change the way you use yours -- understanding how microwaves defrost frozen food vs. the alternatives will, once again, save you lots of money, or at least improve your culinary results. But the closing section seriously starts to sag, which is a shame since it focuses on kitchen tools -- still, it could save you serious bucks when it comes to buying tools since you will be that much more knowledgeable about what they do and what they can't do for you.
The lively narration helps. I look forward to reading the follow-up, although I worry that, like the last chapter of this volume, there will be a natural downtrend in interest level. My only other caveat is that, unlike another science book I recently listened to (Neil DeGrasse Tyson's Great Courses lectures on physics), it does seriously help to have a foundational understanding of some scientific principles in order to understand this book -- nothing more than high school level, though, which is the highest level of science I ever studied.
This story was designed for a science geek like me. Every one of the explanations was informative and entertaining.
His humorous edge made the book enjoyable.
What you always thought you knew about food.
Very good content that explains a lot of why things work the way they do in the kitchen presented in a clear and concise manner for those of us who aren't chemical scientists.
Wolke puts to rest several myths by describing experiments he's conducted.
At first this seamed an odd book, but it didn't long to hook me. The author knows a lot about food and science, and in this compendium he make learning fun, fun, fun! Maybe I'll have to try cooking some day :-)
I found this to be an extremely interesting. I learned so much about the science behind the food we eat. I've recommended this book to many people.
He definitely showed the rye sense of humor needed to make a book about food science extremely interesting.
I haven't read the print version, so I am not able to compare.
Wolke does not hide that he falls for sales pitches himself and has to remind himself of simple things from time to time - like salt being generally SALT, not some magic powder that can solve problems or sugar being everywhere, often in disguise ...
I am a skeptic food buyer, trying to prepare as much as possible on his own, not relying on "convenience food" from the super market. Yet, this book has reminded me to be even more open eyed ...
The book consists of several, not necessarily connected, articles or columns that deal with separate topics. This makes it a good mix of various topics, but lacks a bit of a "red line".
YES! The narrator sounded like I imagined the author--funny, wry, captivating. For sure it made the story come alive in a way that I would not have enjoyed a print version.
Making the science of food and cooking simple and compelling.
I don't think I have heard him narrate before.
No but parts made me laugh.
I got this in an Audible "sale"--it is not a book I would otherwise buy but I loved it so much that I bought all of the author's other books.
The book, maybe. I couldn't recommend this audio book. Here's the thing, and I feel REALLY bad for saying it, but it sounds like Sean Runnette is a stroke victim and his speech is impaired. Either that or someone dared him to narrate the whole thing with a marble in his mouth.
I couldn't get past the first chapter.
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