What Einstein Told His Cook: Kitchen Science Explained

Many have pointed out the similarity between the science of chemistry and the art of cooking. I'm sure that there is a lot of truth in that; some of the best amateur chefs I know are professional chemists. I don't happen to know any professional chefs who are amateur chemists, but Robert Wolke comes pretty close to that. He is Professor Emeritus of chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh, but also a syndicated food columnist. "What Einstein Told His Cook" contains nothing I could find about general or special relativity, gravity, the photoelectric effect, or Brownian motion. Could it be that the publisher was trying to cash in on Einstein's name recognition? Heavens! - must be the first time that's happened! This is a cookbook that will appeal to those who want to know how microwave ovens work, or how to cook an egg on an SUV. The focus of this question-and-answer book is at least as much on the food as the science, and the recipes look pretty good (I didn't cook any of them). For the person perhaps more interested in the science than the food, there is another recent (2001) book in this genre, "The Science of Cooking" by Peter Barham, and the first that I know of, the 1981 book "The Cookbook Decoder", by Arthur E. Grosser, that was given to me by a great chemist-cook and colleague, Professor Jane Miller.

Pick Attribution: 

Robert L. Wolke

Publication Date: 
Tuesday, January 1, 2002