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What Einstein Told His Cook: Kitchen Science Explained | [Robert L. Wolke]

What Einstein Told His Cook: Kitchen Science Explained

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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.

Download the accompanying reference guide.

©2002 Robert L. Wolke (P)2012 Tantor

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (894 )
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3.9 (751 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Sharon Bridgewater, MA, United States 02-04-13
    Sharon Bridgewater, MA, United States 02-04-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent read!"
    What did you like best about this story?

    This story was designed for a science geek like me. Every one of the explanations was informative and entertaining.


    What about Sean Runnette’s performance did you like?

    His humorous edge made the book enjoyable.


    If you could give What Einstein Told His Cook a new subtitle, what would it be?

    What you always thought you knew about food.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    danny lawrence Charlotte, NC USA 01-28-13
    danny lawrence Charlotte, NC USA 01-28-13 Member Since 2006

    Tell us about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fun info answers questions lurking in the kitchen"

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Doug Joshua, TX, United States 10-29-12
    Doug Joshua, TX, United States 10-29-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "All geeked about cooking"
    Would you listen to What Einstein Told His Cook again? Why?

    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.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Wolke puts to rest several myths by describing experiments he's conducted.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Patterson Calgary, AB Canada 10-28-12
    Robert Patterson Calgary, AB Canada 10-28-12 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "An unexpected treat!"

    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 :-)

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    T. Combs Anchorage, AK United States 10-24-12
    T. Combs Anchorage, AK United States 10-24-12 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A great book for commuters"
    Would you consider the audio edition of What Einstein Told His Cook to be better than the print version?

    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.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of What Einstein Told His Cook?

    The explanations about different types of sugars was quite interesting. Scientific and detailed enough, but not boring and PhD Chemist level...


    What aspect of Sean Runnette’s performance would you have changed?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christine Camdenton, MO, United States 08-14-12
    Christine Camdenton, MO, United States 08-14-12 Member Since 2011
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    "So much more than I expected"
    What did you love best about What Einstein Told His Cook?

    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.


    What about Sean Runnette’s performance did you like?

    He definitely showed the rye sense of humor needed to make a book about food science extremely interesting.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Leigh Salt Lake City, UT, United States 08-04-12
    Leigh Salt Lake City, UT, United States 08-04-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Much of what I learned I won't be able to apply"

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joseph St. Bonifacius, MN, United States 06-23-12
    Joseph St. Bonifacius, MN, United States 06-23-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Where's The Beef?"

    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.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kate Santa Barbara, CA, United States 02-24-14
    Kate Santa Barbara, CA, United States 02-24-14 Member Since 2010
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    "I loved this book (and I am not a cook)"
    Would you consider the audio edition of What Einstein Told His Cook to be better than the print version?

    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.


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    Making the science of food and cooking simple and compelling.


    Have you listened to any of Sean Runnette’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I don't think I have heard him narrate before.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No but parts made me laugh.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura Angell San Diego, CA 12-05-13
    Laura Angell San Diego, CA 12-05-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Terrible Performance"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    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.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Sean Runnette?

    Anyone else!


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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