What Einstein Told His Cook: Kitchen Science Explained
© 2002 Richard Wolke
What did Einstein tell his cook? ..I still don’t know. I have learned, however, that it is possible to make a jello out of champagne; that concrete sidewalks, even during a Houston summer, are unlikely to warm up to the precise temperature needed to fry an egg; why bottled Coca-Colas can go flat, despite being sealed (the plastic allows Co2 to escape); and why carmelized onions are called that when they’re fried into delicious brownness. What Einstein Told His Cook consists wholly of question-and-answer, the question being those lobbed at the author. The format reminded me strongly of Ask a Science Teacher, but with an adult audience. In that book, the Q and A was relieved every so often with DYI science experiments; here, variety is added with interesting recipes, including one for champagne jello. The author brings a strong sense of humor to the table, and is writing for a completely lay audience – -though he does have more technical explanations in parentheses, for readers who have a little more background reading pop science books. Although not as substantive as I’d hoped, What Einstein Told His Cook is nonetheless completely entertaining, and there’s more than enough chemistry here to make it a serious read, too. There is an book on the complete science of booking, but it’s a thousand page mammoth called The Food Lab. I didn‘’t know it existed until it appeared on a friend of mine’s wedding registry.