What Einstein Told His Cook: Kitchen Science Explained

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W. W. Norton & Company, Jun 21, 2010 - Cooking - 368 pages
4 Reviews

"Wolke is Martha Stewart with a PhD." —American Scientist

"Wolke, longtime professor of chemistry and author of the Washington Post column Food 101, turns his hand to a Cecil Adams style compendium of questions and answers on food chemistry. Is there really a difference between supermarket and sea salt How is sugar made? Should cooks avoid aluminum pans? Interspersed throughout Wolke's accessible and humorous answers to these and other mysteries are recipes demonstrating scientific principles. There is gravy that avoids lumps and grease; Portuguese Poached Meringue that demonstrates cream of tartar at work; and juicy Salt-Seared Burgers.... With its zest for the truth, this book will help cooks learn how to make more intelligent choices." —Publishers Weekly

 

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What Einstein Told His Cook: Kitchen Science Explained by Robert L. Wolke is a cooking book told from a scientific perspective. What Einstein Told His Cook is actually part of a series of books where Wolke writes about science in a manner for everyone to read. Wolke has been awarded multiple notable awards. The book answers commonly asked questions about how cooking and chemistry work, relating the two together in a way caters to the public. In it, he goes into topics like salt, sugar, meat, and other components of food and tries to explain them using science. He also names numerous recipes to make that match up with the thing he’s talking about. Personally, I think the book was rather interesting, and in fact answered some of the questions I’ve wondered about for some time. I would definitely suggest this book if you like knowing about interesting tidbits of the world.
For example, in the first chapter of the book he talks about the multiple types and variations of sugar. At a point, he moves to explaining the chemistry of chocolate. Personally, once I tried to make chocolate, and was delighted to see more detail to what I was doing. In addition to that, he also explained what white chocolate was, one of my favorite types of chocolate. Unfortunately, he said that it really wasn’t chocolate, but I enjoyed reading about it anyways.
Another instance of how the book drew me in was the chapter about seafood. Personally, seafood is my favorite type of food, so it was interesting to read about things like lobster and various mollusks. In addition to the various random facts about seafood, like why fish meat is white, he also includes cooking tips about how to cook seafood. He recommends around 10 minutes to every 1 inch of fish, and even goes into detail about which is better: boiling lobster or roasting it.
In summary, I think that Wolke did an excellent job of making a cooking book around chemistry, and I recommend it to anyone who loves science and/or cooking. And who knows, maybe you’ll begin to be interested in either by reading this book.
 

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What Einstein Told his cook was written by Robert Wolke. The main theme of the book, if you can even call it that, is cooking, chemistry, and how they are related. Robert Wolke, born april 2nd 1928, is an american chemist and professor of chemistry at the university of pittsburgh, he is most known for his Einstein series of books, including “What Einstein told his cook”. I read the book as a part of my chemistry 1 class. After careful consideration, I believe that this book was written to educate about chemistry and cooking. I enjoyed the book because it helped explain a lot of cooking phenomenon that I have always wondered about.
One way that the book really interested me was that it always connected back to chemistry in all of its points and explanations. Wolke tries his hardest to make this a book about both chemistry and cooking. This can be seen clearly in the chapter “The Salt of The Earth”. Wolke writes very clearly about what salt is besides white crystals that we put on our food. He spoke about how table salt is Sodium Chloride, and how there are many other types of things that are called “salts” in chemistry, which occur when an acid reacts with a base.
Another thing that I enjoyed about the book was that even though it was packed with information and facts, it never got too complicated. It was an enjoyable read, and at no point did it start throwing around complicated ions, chemical equations, gas laws, molecular formulas or anything else that gets thrown around more that enough in my Chemistry class.
What Einstein told his cook was a fun and interesting read that was written to educate people about the chemistry of cooking. Wolke never forgets to tie all of his cooking facts back to chemistry and he never forgets to leave his writing light, fun, and easy to read so that the average person can enjoy it. Overall the book was a pretty decent read and I would recommend it to most people.
 

Contents

Chapter One SWEET TALK
3
What are all those special salts and tenderizers in the supermarket?
39
Chapter Three THE FAT OF THE LAND
65
Chapter Four CHEMICALS IN THE KITCHEN
93
What do home water filters do? Whats the difference between
110
Chapter Five TURF AND SURF
124
Chapter Six FIRE AND ICE
177
Chapter Seven LIQUID REFRESHMENT
215
Chapter Eight
250
microwave oven? Can the microwaves leak out of the
261
Further Reading
321
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About the author (2010)

Robert L. Wolke, a professor emeritus of chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh, received his doctorate in chemistry from Cornell University. He lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with his wife, noted food writer Marlene Parrish.

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