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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 (1102 )
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4.0 (930 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Echo 07-15-13
    Echo 07-15-13

    Oread

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    "Listen to this immediately!"
    If you could sum up What Einstein Told His Cook in three words, what would they be?

    Interesting, relative, re-readable


    What other book might you compare What Einstein Told His Cook to and why?

    The botany of desire. Stay with me here, they are not necessarily on the same page since this one is more like a q and a while the other is a look into various plants but they both promptly explain how the things they're talking about apply directly to me.


    What about Sean Runnette’s performance did you like?

    I loved his voice. He, perhaps because of the context, made me feel as if a very patient professor was explaining the foods I ate and why they were so fascinating.


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

    I did laugh quite a few times. I'm not sure if it was the author or the narrator but some of the lines just made me giggle. I honestly loved this book and I never expected to.


    Any additional comments?

    It has great value. I love knowing why my sugar s different, why we don't have to shake milk before drinking it, how " less sodium" salt can be chemically possible, and that food is not something we should pass of as being tedious.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeff Parry Pescadero, CA USA 06-28-13
    Jeff Parry Pescadero, CA USA 06-28-13 Member Since 2012

    I live and work at a lighthouse in central California since '97. I have been surfing since '82 and have a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from UCSC. I was a naturalist for children from '97-03. Zen Buddhist.

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    "Buzz kill"
    What disappointed you about What Einstein Told His Cook?

    I was expecting more relativity or physics based food science rather than a science professor's chemically towing the standard FDA line.


    What could Robert L. Wolke have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    It is a bit Newtonian or Cartesian and I would prefer more systematic sciences of how it relates to the environment and ecology, not to mention different cultures.


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

    He is fine


    Any additional comments?

    Na

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mephistopheles Chandler, AZ, United States 05-18-13
    Mephistopheles Chandler, AZ, United States 05-18-13 Member Since 2014

    'I think hell’s a fable.' 'Ay,' says Mephistopheles, 'think so still, till experience change thy mind

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    "Pretty Good"
    Any additional comments?

    Interesting, but I think it could be more thorough. I still have a lot of questions and feel like the info is a bit subjective and a little dated. Its full of useful knowledge though, and it was captivating.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barbara South Riding, VA, United States 04-23-13
    Barbara South Riding, VA, United States 04-23-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Great stuff to learn; fun book"

    I like this book because I have a lot of academic scientific knowledge. I love to learn day-to-day practical science.

    This book is filled with cheesy jokes. OK, a few are pretty funny, but most are more like groaners. The narrator has a fantastic voice, but he reads the jokes in a snarky, condescending tone. I would have much preferred them to be more jovial. So while I did have to grit my teeth on a regular basis over the snark, I still really enjoyed this book. It has nothing to do with Einstein, but it's a wonderful set of explanations for kitchen phenomena.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert des plaines, IL, United States 04-13-13
    Robert des plaines, IL, United States 04-13-13
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    "Sufficient narration, engaging material"

    I think this would be a great book for a scientist/engineer that is starting to cook or a cook that is interested in the science. The author provides interesting stories related to different food related scientific phenomenon. The science is generally basic, though he does put in a little extra detail for those that already know some of the material. Nothing earth-shattering, but great general information. And he answers many age-old questions.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary 03-11-13
    Mary 03-11-13
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    "Food science with a twist of humor"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would recommend this audiobook to any cook, particularly anyone who often cooks without recipes because the information provided is useful across recipes.


    What did you like best about this story?

    This was science, not comedy, but the lessons were occasionally seasoned with a dash of wit which was so perfectly delivered I had to laugh out loud.


    Which character – as performed by Sean Runnette – was your favorite?

    N/A


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes, but instead I took the time between chapters to assimilate what I had learned. I definitely learned a lot from each chapter.


    Any additional comments?

    I will definitely be looking for this narrator in future selections.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Richmond, Virginia 01-30-13
    Michael Richmond, Virginia 01-30-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Foodie Science"

    For those who want to know "why?" This is a great overview of the science inside the kitchen. The author weaves a great story of how and why behind most kitchen cooking and activities. Its a very fun and entertaining book that appeals to the foodie and scientist. Marrying the art of cooking and kitchen with an appreciation for the chemistry and physics that underpin your gastronomic transformations!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jerry 12-24-12
    Jerry 12-24-12
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    "Amazing what you think you know..."

    This was a fun listen, especially for a food-loving science geek. Along the journey, the author debunks old wives tales and "commonly-known" tidbits alike but never in a condescending way. Humor is always at the ready and I often came away thinking, wow, that's cool, never knew that. The structure is by way of answers to common questions like, "How does a microwave heat water"? Mostly things you think you already know but as I learned, not always so. I liked the narrator's pacing and delivery too. I'm inclined to check out other books by this writer.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joe SEATTLE, WA, United States 07-31-12
    Joe SEATTLE, WA, United States 07-31-12 Member Since 2014
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    "Very Informative"
    Any additional comments?

    This is great book for both the home cook and the professional chef. As a restraint cook for the past 20 years, this book still managed ti shed new light on some old questions. If you are interested at all in cooking, I strongly recommend this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Victoria 07-30-12
    Victoria 07-30-12
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    "For the scientific minded!"

    Starts rather drily-but stick with it-interesting and informative for the scientific minded cook. Good for long road trips-

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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