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What Einstein Told His Cook: Kitchen Science Explained (What Einstein Told His Cook #1)

3.84  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,792 Ratings  ·  334 Reviews
Do you wish you understood the science of foods, but don't want to plow through dry technical books? What Einstein Told His Cook is like having a scientist at your side to answer your questions in plain, nontechnical terms. Chemistry professor and syndicated Washington Post food columnist Robert L. Wolke provides over 100 reliable and witty explanations, while debunking mi ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published May 17th 2002 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 2002)
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Petar X
Confession: this was a free dl and I only clicked on it because I misread it as "What Einstein told his Cock".

It's quite interesting though. I now know why tea made from microwaved water doesn't taste as good as water boiled in a kettle. It has quite a bit to do with nucleation sites. I understand what a nucleation site does (it gets molecules excited and they jump around when hot and boil over or am I still thinking of cocks here?) but I don't understand how they suddenly arise when they weren'
Apr 26, 2015 Carol. rated it liked it
Recommends it for: fans of David Sedaris

Q: What book do you remember from your childhood as irritating?

When I was somewhere around seven years old, I was given Charlie Brown's Super Book of Questions and Answers about All Kinds of Animals ... from Snails to People!: Based on the Charles M. Schulz Characters.

Although I’ve never been a question-and-answer type of reader (the questions asked never seemed to be the ones I wanted to know more about), I eventually came to enjoy the book for its information bites and colorful pictures of f
Nov 22, 2015 Cheryl rated it liked it
More superficial and less relevant *to me* than I'd hoped. 1In a way, it's a lot like a lot of similar 'debunking pseudo-science' books I frequently read, including, just this week, the latest from Dr. Joe Schwarz. Sometimes the light tone is just right, sometimes Wolke strains for humor and doesn't reach it. It's always clear and easy to read though.

I did use a lot of book darts to mark bits of note, so let's see what they point to:

A recipe for 'White Chocolate' Bars. Of course, white chocolate
HOLY FREAKING COW I LOVE THIS BOOK! This book took me about two months to read. Why? The reason it took so long to read is that each page or two has some interesting/truthful fact about cooking. I couldn't just read it in one setting. I would turn to the table of contents, scan a topic I was interested in at that very moment, then turn to the page, and read it. Each subject or fact was so fascinating and useful in my love for cooking, and wondering why certain things do certain things in the kit ...more
❂ Jennifer
Mar 19, 2015 ❂ Jennifer rated it really liked it
4.5 stars. This one is an interesting, engaging and unique combination of reference, cookbook and almost an FAQ. I can definitely see myself coming back to this one again and again over time, and there are at least two recipes in here I'm eager to try (thank you to the author for including recipes that include a lot of egg-whites!).

Full review:
Tali Autovino
Sep 13, 2012 Tali Autovino rated it it was amazing
I do believe I was hungry at the time of my choosing, because I picked What Einstein Told His Cook: Kitchen Science Explained. I loved everything about this book except for that it ruined my appetite for various processed foods (not entirely a bad thing), however it was interesting to read about.

The author, Robert L. Wolke, is a chemistry professor who happens to take an interest in the molecular structures and production of foods, beverages, etc. He conducts experiments in his “laboratory,” als
Jul 02, 2009 Shelah rated it really liked it
Strictly speaking, What Einstein Told His Cook is more of a reference book than anything else. Wolke divides the book into sections like "Sweet Talk" (all about sugar) and "Salt of the Earth" and goes on to answer common questions about the topic at large. If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know that I'm all about a good food book. And this is one, so even though I probably should have used it as a reference, I read it like a novel, from cover to cover. It was entertaining, and I le ...more
AJ McEvoy
Dec 29, 2013 AJ McEvoy rated it it was amazing
Not much to say, except that this is a fascinating, fabulous fusion of science & cooking. All the basics of cooking are much easier to remember if one understands the reasons behind standard kitchen techniques.
Sep 13, 2012 Tiffany rated it did not like it

The book What Einstein Told His Cook Kitchen Science Explained the author Robert L. Wolke talks about a lot of things from the differences of sugar to the tools that are used in the kitchen. The author investigates things from questions that people have about cooking, and certain things used around the kitchen, he talks about the science people don’t really know about. For example, one of the questions was, “To sweeten my iced tea quickly, I added powdered sugar. But it turned into gummy lumps.
May 02, 2009 Ebookwormy rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, cooking
This book is interesting and well written, quite a page turner actually.

However, the structure of the work is to answer questions on various topics. For example, I read the Salt of the Earth Chapter, which features answers to questions such as:
- What are all those special salts and meat tenderizers in the supermarket?
- What are salt substitutes?
- Why add salt to the water when boiling pasta?
- Whats so special about sea salt? Kosher salt? Freshly ground salt?
- Can a potato remove the excess s
Mar 02, 2015 Henriette rated it liked it
Shelves: gave-up-reading
If I wasn't a food engineer, and knew nothing about (food) chemistry, I'd probably enjoy the book, but I couldn't stand to read more than a chapter - not only because of impatience with the lack of new information, but mainly because of technical errors, such as when the author explaif I wasn't a food engineer, and knew nothing about (food) chemistry, I'd probably enjoy the book, but I couldn't stand to read more a chapter - not only because of impatience with the lack of new information, but ma ...more
Nov 28, 2014 Amjad rated it really liked it
Not very clear from the title... this is a science book :D
Honestly I thought I will learn how to cook in a scientific way, but this book went much deeper into the science behind what takes place in that part of our houses. I recommend this to anyone, even those who are not at all interested in cooking but would be intrigued to learn some everyday basic science.
Jan 07, 2009 Madhuri marked it as to-read
Mr. Wolke, a chemistry professor at the University of Pittsburgh, presents his topics in sort of a question / answer format. The articles themselves are short – easily consumed in one sitting (if you catch my drift) – but are topically consolidated into larger and more complete chapters. Wolke answers the posed questions in a very thorough and straightforward manner. He describes his topic in layman's terms, including scientific terminology in “techspeak” notes. For example:
“The most common use
Jul 09, 2016 Evalina rated it it was amazing
Loved this book! Robert writes in such a lite and fun way. He's able to explain the chemistry of things that go on in the kitchen in a fun and relatable way. Made me laugh a few times and reminded me of the reasons as to why I love science. You may have heard of what you should and shouldn't do in the kitchen, or that you should avoid certain foods, but these critics don't seem to have a plausible reason as to why they should avoid or use alternative methods and foods. This book takes away the b ...more
Jan 25, 2016 Renee rated it liked it
The author tries to answers questions about cooking, myths in the kitchen, chemistry of foods, misleading labels, the Zero calories, etc... and breaks it down through experiments and lots of chemistry & scientific information. A good book in general. I learned a bit & refreshed up on some other things. I gave this a 3 star because a lot of the information I already knew based on my history of reading, loving science, and taking advanced chemistry classes/college etc... but if you don't r ...more
Jan 15, 2010 Ashvin rated it liked it
Although the author sounds like a bit of a pretentious douchbag once or twice, I enjoyed this book a lot. It's divided into very short sections, so it's great for the bathroom or very quick spurts. (Oh, no pun intended, yet I leave that in.) It's also nice as a second book by the bedside. For example, while I was trying to read "The Rest is Noise," which taxed my attention and brain too much, I would end the night with a few pages of this much lighter book.

It wasn't anything earth-shattering, b
Aug 23, 2015 Diane rated it it was amazing
Very interesting explanations of the science of various foods, cooking, and kitchen storage.
Mar 10, 2016 Kevin rated it really liked it
What Einstein Told His Cook
The book I read in chemistry class was called What Einstein Told His Cook by Robert L. Wolke. The book talks about recipes and different chemicals. Each of the chapters have different subjects that has a question that will be answered. After reading the book called What Einstein Told His Cook it helped with increasing my understanding of chemistry. It also helped me learn about different chemicals that are really similar. The author gives good examples in the book and
Mar 09, 2016 Michael rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sean Ingoglia
Mar 08, 2016 Sean Ingoglia rated it it was amazing
Sean ingoglia
March 2

This book is a helpful tool for those who would like to know more about the chemical factor of cooking. It acts as a guide and informant for the ingredients and reactions that take place when ingredients are mixed together. It seems that the chemical side of cooking can be a lot more handy than you thought.
What Einstein told his cook explains names of different categories of cooking and tells you common things about what you're eating. This book could
Maxwell Rodriguez
Maxwell Rodriguez
Mr. Halkyard
This is a book review of What Einstein told his cook by Robert R. Basically, the book has kitchen science and how chemistry relates to it. It tells you cooking myths and facts to help you in the kitchen. Robert R. Wolfe is a professor of chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh and he writes about food in the Washington Post. He made The Einstein series is a four book series and his goal is trying to make science more fun and easier to understand an
Harry Billings
Mar 07, 2016 Harry Billings rated it really liked it
Personally I think that What Einstein Told His Cook by Robert Wolke was informative and smart about how it went about explaining kitchen science. However, the concepts used to explain the science used terminology that was confusing at times. Kitchen myths and other misunderstood kitchen reactions are explained well, but it is easy to get lost in the unexplained terms that the author uses.

Every section in this book begins with a common question about things that go on during cooking processes.
William Brown
Mar 07, 2016 William Brown rated it really liked it
What Einstein told his cook: Kitchen science explained is written by Robert Wolke. The book discusses a variety of different scientific facts on food and how it is made. It was written for the purpose of explaining the science behind food and gives the reader a better understanding of what goes on in the kitchen. The author of the book, Robert Wolke, is currently a professor of chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh and has always had a huge fascination with food. In this review, I will summa ...more
Jorim Powell
Mar 06, 2016 Jorim Powell rated it it was amazing
Jorim Powell
Mr. Halkyard
Chemistry 1

What Einstein Told His Cook

Food nowadays with different chemicals and ingredients that we can't pronounce are tricky to single out. Robert L. Wolke wrote this book What Einstein Told His Cook in order to give the everyday person an insight to what's in our food supply. Even with kitchen appliances, he even suggest certain appliances for the best ways to cook a food. He has a PhD in Food and is a chemist, and he graduated from University of Pittsburgh. H
Mar 06, 2016 Daniel rated it it was amazing
What Einstein told his cook by Robert Wolke, teaches people of ways that chemistry correlates with the art of cooking. This book is most likely aimed at the ordinary reader starting from the freshman year of high school. In the book there are many different lessons about major cooking components. The book talks about salt types and how different types of salt both benefit or bring harm upon a human system. Robert Wolke talks about the different types of cocoa and chocolate. And finally he teache ...more
Phoenix AT
Mar 03, 2016 Phoenix AT rated it it was amazing

What Einstein Told His Cook is a book written by Robert L. Wolke. He wrote this book to explain the science in cooking. I read this book for my chemistry class. The point of the book was to tell the difference between cooking & chemistry, but it is also about food & all the sciences behind it. The book also gives you little tips on the dos-&-don’ts on cooking, & little tips to improve your cooking skills to make your food taste better & be healthier to eat.
The chapters of
Adrian Medina
Adrian Medina
Mr. Halkyard
What Einstein Told His Cook Book Review
Robert L. Wolke was born on April 2,1928 in New York City and is currently an American Chemist at the age of 82 years old. He graduated from Cornell University and was awarded the James Beard Award for Reference and Scholarship. In 2002, Robert published the book, “What Einstein Told His Cook.” The book was written to tell and teach the science of foods. In the book, you learn different recipes and your learn diffe
Jonny Forman
Mar 03, 2016 Jonny Forman rated it really liked it
The book What Einstein Told His Cook, by Robert L. Wolke is a fascinating book that ties into two major subjects. Being chemistry and cooking, a describing the relationship between them. For a book that I had to read as an assignment I did enjoy reading it because it felt as if I was reading fun facts. However if I were in college and in a much more serious atmosphere it might not have been the book of choice.
I believe that this book is meant for teens mainly because it doesn't go into the extr
Ben Kaplan
Mar 03, 2016 Ben Kaplan rated it really liked it
What Einstein Told His Cook is a book about how to make food and the chemistry of food. Robert L. Wolke is author of the book is who is a professor and chemist. Robert L. Wolke goes into great detail about the special ingredients or differences between types of food.The book explains very well for chefs and other chemist about the specifics of food.
In the beginning of the book it talks about taste, bitterness, umani, saltiness, sweetness, and sourness. This is important because food must have o
Andre Restauro
Mar 02, 2016 Andre Restauro rated it really liked it
What Einstein Told His Cook is about the chemistry of food and breaking it down to its smallest components. The author of the book is Robert L. Wolke who is a famous chemist and is a professor at the University of Pittsburgh. As an author, he has written many other books. He is also a food columnist for the Washington Post. Robert wrote this book to specifically talk about the chemistry behind every foods ingredients, what they are used for, and how they react to each other the way they do. In m ...more
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Robert L. Wolke is professor emeritus of chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh and a food columnist for The Washington Post. As an educator and lecturer, he enjoys a national reputation for his ability to make science understandable and enjoyable.
He is the author of Impact: Science on Society and Chemistry Explained, as well as dozens of scientific research papers. His latest book, the fourth
More about Robert L. Wolke...

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What Einstein Told His Cook (2 books)
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“When the combined taste, smell, and textural stimuli reach the brain, they remain to be interpreted. Whether the overall sensation will be pleasant, repulsive, or somewhere in between will depend on individual physiological differences, on previous experience (“just like my mother used to make”), and on cultural habituation (haggis, anyone?).” 0 likes
“As a matter of fact, with heating, you can coax more than two pounds (5 cups!) of sugar to dissolve in a single cup of water.” 0 likes
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