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Publisher's Summary

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

Critic Reviews

"All you have to do is ask 'why' and open to any page. Good luck putting it down." (Alton Brown, host of Good Eats)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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  • Jerker
  • SUNDBYBERG, Sweden
  • 09-24-12

Funny and interesting, but badly edited

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.

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

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For the Ultra Curious

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

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.<br/><br/>

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

As the narrator, I like the matter of fact tone and pace of this performer.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Fun way to receive great information

Would you consider the audio edition of What Einstein Kept Under His Hat to be better than the print version?

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!

What did you like best about this story?

Important info in an easy to understand format. I am a nurse and biologist and love how scientific info can be presented so understandably.

Did Sean Runnette do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

Not applicable

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

Not that kind of a book

Any additional comments?

Science and Math, etc. can be really fun

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Gohar
  • Issaquah, WA
  • 08-24-12

Too pun'ny but good information

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.

11 of 14 people found this review helpful

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childish humour mixed with hardcore science

I really had to struggle to finish this book. Yes, there are a few interesting nuggets of information scattered throughout the text, but they are very few and far between.

Major flaws are:

Condescending and patronising style of writing
Pointless attempts at humour which added nothing to the book
Small sections of hardcore science, which presumably are there to prove that the author knows what he's talking about ... but to the layman is just tedious.

Another point to bare in mind is this book is extremely US centric. References are made to US brands and products which will most likely be meaningless to those not living in the states.
Furthermore, even though the author is obviously a dyed in the wool scientist, he still panders to the masses by using inexact measuring metrics such as spoons, cups etc.

There are a lot better books out there which explain how our food is cooked so leave this one where it is.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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This tasty morsel will whet your appetite for more

Where does What Einstein Kept Under His Hat rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

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.

What other book might you compare What Einstein Kept Under His Hat to and why?

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.

What does Sean Runnette bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

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.

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

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).

Any additional comments?

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Fun read for foodies

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.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Alan
  • Sewaren, NJ, United States
  • 11-24-15

Good science explained

Good book, excellent reader, that being said it would be better in print. Just too much info to process audibly. Will buy a paper copy of the book

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  • eliz
  • United States
  • 11-11-14

Great Food Insight

If you could sum up What Einstein Kept Under His Hat in three words, what would they be?

This is the second book I have read by Robert Wolke, and though I liked Einstein in the Kitchen better, this one was still delightful and the facts that he presents are so interesting, even for a foodie like myself.

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I never thought Chem was humorous, until now.

What did you love best about What Einstein Kept Under His Hat?

I enjoyed the Foodies Fictionary. Not ALL of them were funny, but enough were funny that made me crack up listening to it.

What other book might you compare What Einstein Kept Under His Hat to and why?

This is the first book like this I've ever read. I would like to try the other ones.

What does Sean Runnette bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

His voice is perfect for this book. I kept imagining HIM as the author.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Various experiments that were actually tried and results reported.

Any additional comments?

This was interesting. I never imagined putting basic kitchen chemistry into a "Cooking for Dummies." version. It was pretty clever idea.