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An Instructo-Geek Reviews The 4-Hour Chef

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the don't-burn-the-water dept.

Books 204

Bennett Haselton writes "Recently I wrote an article about what I considered to be the sorry state of cooking instructions on the web (and how-to instructions in general), using as a jumping-off point a passage from Evgeny Morozov's new book To Save Everything, Click Here. My point was that most "newbie" instructions never seemed to get judged by the basic criteria by which all instructions should be judged: If you give these instructions to a group of beginners, and have them attempt to follow the instructions without any additional help from the author, what kind of results do they get? The original title of my article was "Better Cooking Through Algorithms," but due to some confusion in the submission process the title got changed to "Book Review: To Save Everything, Click Here" even though, as multiple commenters pointed out, it didn't make much sense as a "book review" since it only mentioned a short passage from the actual book. This article, on the other hand, really is intended as a review of The 4-Hour Chef, even though the article only covers a similarly tiny fraction of the book's 671-page length. That's because even before buying the book, I was determined to review it according to a simple process: Try three recipes from the book. Follow the directions step by step. (If any direction is ambiguous, then follow what could be a plausible interpretation of the directions.) My estimation of the quality of the book, as an instructional cooking guide for beginners, is then determined by the quality of the food produced by my attempt to follow the directions. (I've done this so many times for so many "beginner cookbooks," that I've probably lost my true "beginner" cook status in the process — which means that the results obtained by a real beginner using The 4-Hour Chef, would probably be a little worse than what I achieved.)" Read on for the rest of Bennett's Thoughts

I bought the book with tempered high hopes. Watching Tim Ferriss in his TV interviews and reading the enthusiasm that leaps off of every page (each recipe even comes with a "song pairing," music to jam out to while making the dish), it's hard not to take a quick liking to him. He comes across as a man who who really does want to share his passion and not just sell books. He's goofily handsome in that way that women and some men often confuse with "confidence", although he does seem to possess a lot of actual confidence. But enthusiasm is the enemy of objectivity, and I was determined to review the book according to the criterion of how well the directions actually work, not based on how much fun it would be to hang out with Tim. Even though it would probably be fun.

In his interview on Jimmy Fallon, for example, they looked like they were having a great time, but Jimmy told Tim that he read the book and tried following the directions for making bacon-infused bourbon, then proceeded to show some "action shots" of the result that he achieved: a jar of what looked like solid bacon fat, which Jimmy said he did not drink. OK, I thought, that means that whatever comes next, in that case the directions failed. Tim proceeded to explain that you have to be careful not to overblend it, and to leave it in the freezer long enough to be able to scrape more of the fat off, so that if you get a result that looks like Fallon's jar of goo, then that's probably what you did wrong. Great advice, but, not in the book. "Bacon-infused bourbon" sounds like precisely the kind of recipe that will sell a lot of books (not surprisingly, it's listed on the back cover of the book jacket), but which is hard to write good directions for.

In the same interview, Ferriss showed how he cooked sea bass sous vide in a hotel kitchen sink and then finished it by searing it with the hotel's travel iron, which he cheerfully admitted the hotel was not too happy about. I'm all for re-purposing common household items to find a new way to achieve something, but only if it's an improvement over the more mundane way of doing things; otherwise, it's just doing things inefficiently for the sake of being weird as an end in itself. (When I posted a photo of my bookshelf with a hollow-core wooden plank C-clamped to it at one end, with the other end used as an anchor for my XOOM tablet so I could watch movies while lying flat in bed, it was because that was the easiest way I could find to do that.) To be fair, Tim's suggestion of searing fish with a travel iron was probably intended to get the reader into the adventurous spirit, not as literal advice -- but then, my mission remains to evaluate the actual cooking advice, according to the results it produces.

The short answer: Of the three recipes I tried, one came out barely edible, and the other two were palatable mostly to the degree that the raw ingredients themselves were tasty, so I might as well have just snacked on the ingredients separately instead of combining them. All recipes definitely showed signs that they could have been greatly improved by being worked over by the process I described in my last article — i.e., show the recipes to a group of genuine newbies, listen to their feedback about all the points where they get stuck, then keep revising according to that feedback until you reach the point where the latest round of newbie testers is able to get through the directions with no problem. (You may notice that this sounds like a very obvious idea, but most how-to directions show very little sign of having been put through this kind of scrutiny.)

The first recipe in the book was for "Osso Buko", Ferriss's "knock-off" version of ossobuco, using lamb shanks instead of veal shanks. With $60 for a new porcelain Dutch oven, $20 for the lamb shanks, and other miscellaneous expenses, it cost me about $100 just to try the recipe to see if it worked (although Fred Meyer let me return the Dutch oven after I realized I was never going to try this again, and yes, I know you can find cheaper ones). A few times in the recipe, the directions used an unfamiliar term that I would have expected to be defined in a text for true beginners (for example, I didn't know what a "dry wine" was, and even the Wikipedia article wasn't much help, but the grocery store stockboy helped me out). The bigger problem was that at multiple points in the recipe, the instructions were too ambiguous to know if I was following them correctly, or I was unable to follow them exactly and didn't know how big of an adjustment I needed to make (e.g. what to do if the smallest shanks I could find were bigger than the recommended size). I still have no idea if the mediocre results were caused by one big screwup at one particular step, or the accumulation of many small deviations from what a real chef would have done.

Specifically: (1) The recipe calls for a Dutch oven. Ferriss has a brand he recommends, but can I use one from the local Fred Meyer? How big? The recipe doesn't say. I picked a five-quart since it was big enough to hold the lamb shanks. (2) The recipe calls for "lamb shanks." Fore shanks or hind shanks? Does it matter? My grocery store only has "lamb foreshanks" anyway. (3) The recipe says each shank should be 12 oz, but the smallest ones I could find were all 16 oz. What adjustments do I make? I have no idea. (4) The recipe called for "1/3 of a bottle" of wine, but later said to pour in enough "to cover 1/2-3/4 of the meat," and I couldn't do that without pouring in the whole bottle. I assumed the "cover 1/2 of the meat" direction took precedence over the "use 1/3 of the bottle" direction, but at that point I was sure that I'd deviated so far from the intent of the directions that the dish wasn't going to work. I put the whole thing into the oven at 350 degrees for two hours, which is about the only part of the recipe that I was sure that I followed correctly.

The results came out barely edible (I said "barely" — I still ate them, but I would never serve them or bring them to a party). Mostly it was a lot of work to cut through the tendons and small bones to get to the meat; if the Dutch oven was supposed to soften the meat so that everything fell off the bone, it didn't work.

The second recipe I tried was for crab cakes with harissa sauce. Right away I ran into a problem, since even in my fairly cosmopolitan city with multiple ethnic and specialty grocery stores, none of the ones I visited had ever heard of "harissa sauce." Now for directions that have been thoroughly beta-tested, this is where they would typically say, "Harissa sauce can be difficult to find, so here's where to look; otherwise, you can use this as a substitute." I found some forums saying you could use hot sauce, so I went with that. The crab cakes came out fine, but probably mostly due to the expensive crab ingredient, and I didn't like them enough to make them again.

The third recipe that I tried was for coconut cauliflower curry mash. The directions called for "crushed cashews," and said "If they're uncrushed, you can then crush them in your hands directly into the bowl. This is how Chuck Norris does it." By this time I was getting a little tired of the book being cute at the expense of being helpful — roasted cashews are physically impossible for most people to crush in their hands — but I flattened some under a rolling pin and followed the rest of the recipe. The result tasted OK, but probably only about as good as if I'd just mixed up the nuts and cauliflower and other ingredients and cooked them in a pot.

And that was the end of the ride for me. Three recipes and three results that I never thought about making again (one that was barely edible, and two that tasted only slightly better than the component ingredients mixed together, neither one all that good). Based on those sample results, my estimation is that for a true beginner going through the recipes in the book, the "success rate" would not be high enough to justify the time and money that they'd spend.

Full disclosure compels me to report that I did successfully prepare and "serve" one recipe in the book: bacon roses, which turned out about as well in my own kitchen as the ones he showed off on Jimmy Fallon. Most artificial roses have removable heads, and if you bake a couple of rolled-up slices of raw bacon, they come out resembling roses that can be threaded on the artificial-rose stems. But even then, the instructions in the book were overkill, requiring the reader to take a cupcake baking pan and drill holes in the bottom of each cupcake holder, so that you can cook the bacon in the cupcake holders while draining the fat out (but which also ruins the cupcake pan for the purpose of making actual cupcakes). For one thing, you can use silicone cupcake molds and just poke a hole in the bottom rather than drilling through aluminum; these can also be stacked when you're done, so that they take up much less storage space than a 12-muffin baking pan. But in any case I found that you could get perfectly good results just by rolling up the pieces of bacon and baking them sideways on a broiler rack; they hold their shape just as well as if you had baked them in the cupcake holders, since the rolled-up bacon hardly expands anyway. (This is the kind of thing that you also find if you have people beta-testing your recipes.)

To be fair, I'm only narrowly reviewing the book as an instructional guide to cooking. The book claims that the principles taught in its pages can be used to transform your life in a wide range of ways, including becoming world-class in "any skill" in about six months, which Ferriss says he has used to learn kickboxing, Spanish, shooting basketball 3-pointers, and Japanese horseback archery. Next on his list: writing cooking directions!

But now I'm being a smartass, and the truth is that there is potential for the recipes in these book to be transformed into something that could produce fantastic results in the hands of a beginner. Normally when I try out a "beginner's cookbook" — usually by using Amazon's "Look Inside" feature to sample a few recipes from the cookbook and print them out for free — if the first three recipes produce inedible results, I throw them out and never give the cookbook a second thought. But I'm more optimistic about re-working Ferriss's recipes in accordance with the beta-testing process above, for two reasons. First, he really does seem to have a passion for helping people and not just selling books (that's important, because it's hardly going to drive book sales to take recipes from the book and beta-test them and improve them as a free web-based project). Second, he has legions of fans who would probably volunteer as beta testers. I myself would be happy to volunteer, since the commitment of a beta tester is minimal, by design, because you're supposed to simulate the experience of a real user without overthinking it: go through the instructions one time, and record the quality of the result you get at the end. (Optionally, make a note of any ambiguous directions you encountered along the way, which might affect the quality of the end result.)

As they're written now, I don't think the recipes in the book would pass the definitional test of good directions: Give them to beginners, have them try to follow the steps, and record the results. I had essentially the same thought about the business-launching advice in Tim Ferriss's first book, The 4-Hour Workweek, which I only bought as a companion to the new book. Now I think The 4-Hour Workweek does contain a lot of useful self-help advice — for example, to get over your fear of the worst-case outcome by visualizing it entirely and realizing that it's not that bad. (Although I cracked up at the part about "outsourcing your work," thinking of a certain Verizon employee who took the advice too literally.) But for a book whose key premise is that you can liberate yourself from a 40-hour workweek, the advice about how to start a successful business to do this, occupies a surprisingly small portion of the book (pp. 150-200, if you leave out the subsequent chapter about how to automate your business once it's successful). Well, I've been a part of various entrepreneur communities since before I graduated college, and over the years I've seen many people follow some variation of the steps in those chapters, and the reality is that even if the founder does everything right, most new businesses still fizzle out just like my mediocre "osso buko."

The key difference, I think, is that any formula on how to start your own wildly successful business and shrink your workweek down to 4 hours, cannot work without a lot of luck — if it could, angel investors would just start hiring "entrepreneurs" to follow the formula exactly, if every one of those entrepreneurs (or even 25% of them) hit it out of the park with their new business venture, the investors would make out like gangbusters. Most methodical research suggests that actually only about 5% of VC-backed businesses hit their projected break-even on cash flow -- suggesting that even the best VCs can't find any combination of personal attributes, or action steps, that leads to entrepreneurial success without a big dose of luck. (Ferriss himself says that The 4-Hour Workweek was turned down by 28 out of 29 publishers, which sounds like a testament to the importance of persistence; but most authors whose work is turned down by the first 28 publishers, will usually get turned down by the 29th one too, and there was obviously a certain amount of luck in the fact that that didn't happen to him.)

On the other hand, following a recipe and producing a delicious dish, ought to be possible without luck. What you need, though, are precise directions that have been picked apart by beginner beta testers to remove any ambiguities, until you reach the point where the latest wave of beta testers was able to get through the directions with no confusion, and produce great results in nearly every case. The recipes in The 4-Hour Chef aren't at that point, but Tim Ferriss has the fan-based manpower at his disposal to test and transform those recipes into truly idiot-proof directions for delicious food, if he wants to.

cancel ×


Reviews Should have rules too (1, Insightful)

Press2ToContinue (2424598) | about a year ago | (#43247169)


Re:Reviews Should have rules too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43247233)

I really don't like this new Microsoft-safe Slashdot.

It's just SO banal.

Re:Reviews Should have rules too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43247451)

I'm an insufferable retard.


Re:Reviews Should have rules too (3, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | about a year ago | (#43247301)

You don't have to read the whole thing.

Sentence #4 after the "fold":

He's goofily handsome in that way that women and some men often confuse with "confidence", although he does seem to possess a lot of actual confidence.

That's where I stopped reading. I'm not a cannibal. I don't care how attractive or confident the cook is. I don't care what women think of him.

Re:Reviews Should have rules too (2)

boundary (1226600) | about a year ago | (#43248625)

I read as far as "Bennett Haselton writes" and just skipped the rest.

Re:Reviews Should have rules too (1)

lahvak (69490) | about a year ago | (#43247883)

TSDR, judging grom the few pieces that I managed to get to before giving up.

In just to make things clear, the S does not mean "short".

Re:Reviews Should have rules too (2)

Trax3001BBS (2368736) | about a year ago | (#43249291)

TSDR, judging grom the few pieces that I managed to get to before giving up.

The first paragraph tells the story, everything after is to prove the first paragraph.
- My high school journalism class.

When I saw the articles length after hitting the "Read" link, I just took their word for it.

First clue. (4, Funny)

sunking2 (521698) | about a year ago | (#43247173)

Any recipe that calls out a Dutch Oven is not something I'm going to try.

Re:First clue. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43247273)

Any recipe that calls out a Dutch Oven is not something I'm going to try.

Aw, it's easy.

One is used here for a great one pot meal of Chicken and Andouille Gumbo [] .

Re:First clue. (1)

Desler (1608317) | about a year ago | (#43247349)

Whoosh? []

Re:First clue. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43247361)

Any recipe that calls out a Dutch Oven is not something I'm going to try.

there are two kinds of people I hate in this World:

1. folks who are intolerant of other people.

2. And the Dutch.

Re:First clue. (1)

Hatta (162192) | about a year ago | (#43247961)

Your loss, dutch ovens are awesome. It's a slow cooker AND an oven, that you can take camping. Although I would never recommend a porcelain one. Cast iron or nothing.

Re:First clue. (1)

fl!ptop (902193) | about a year ago | (#43248201)

Cast iron or nothing.

Amen to that. I had a stainless one that we inherited after my wife's grandmother died, and I was never able to get as good a casserole or even roast cooked in it as I can w/ my cast iron one. Not sure about the other commenter who said to take it camping, it's damn heavy.

Re:First clue. (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about a year ago | (#43248583)

Not sure about the other commenter who said to take it camping, it's damn heavy.

People take them camping because you can put them literally into the campfire, cover them with coals and slow (or fast) cook. I think even the Boy Scout manual has some recipes for using a cast-iron dutch oven. Pro Tip: Bring a small one - Dutch Oven, not Boy Scout :-)

Re:First clue. (1)

HCase (533294) | about a year ago | (#43248989)

You take them if you are car camping, not when backpacking.

Re:First clue. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43248441)

It was a joke based on the slang meaning of dutch oven. The fact that you and the people above you are such aspies that this needs to be explained is quite sad.

Re:First clue. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43248453)

For any beginning cooks reading parent's remarks, a Dutch oven is indeed the most wonderous cooking vessel, and if you only ever get one pot or pan, make it a Dutch oven. That said, there's no such thing as porcelain Dutch ovens. There are cast iron Dutch ovens that have a layer of enamel on them, and these are far superior to naked cast iron. And any chemistry nerd on here knows why you wouldn't want to have any acidic sauces--tomato-based, for example--sit in contact with naked cast iron for several hours at a time.
Anyone care to explain more eloquently than I why that is? :)

Re:First clue. (3, Interesting)

Hatta (162192) | about a year ago | (#43248607)

Nobody cooks in naked cast iron. We use seasoned cast iron that has a protective layer of carbonized fat adhereing to it. I've made homemade tomato sauce in mine many times with no ill effects to either the dutch oven or the sauce.

Re:First clue. (2)

Dorianny (1847922) | about a year ago | (#43249285)

enameled cast iron is also very good. It has the advantage of having a better non-stick surface. It has the disadvantage of the enamel being easy to chip.

Re:First clue. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43248063)

I use the Dutch Oven two or three times a week.

That's when you pull the blankets up over your boyfriend's head and pass some ass gas.

His food gave me the shits (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43247185)

Woke up this morning around 3 AM, ran to the bathroom and left a massive havana pancake all over the place. I've been farting and shitting since (this is posted from the can on my Google Nexus 7" tablet). I don't know if it was the mexican food I had for lunch or the indian food I had for dinner. God damn I wish I could stop pissing out my asshole for 5 minutes.

I use a HOST file on my microwave and toaster. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43247187)

$10,000 CHALLENGE to Alexander Peter Kowalski

* POOR SHOWING TROLLS, & most especially IF that's the "best you've got" - apparently, it is... lol!

Hello, and THINK ABOUT YOUR BREATHING !! We have a Major Problem, HOST file is Cubic Opposites, 2 Major Corners & 2 Minor. NOT taught Evil DNS hijacking, which VOIDS computers. Seek Wisdom of MyCleanPC - or you die evil.

Your HOSTS file claimed to have created a single DNS resolver. I offer absolute proof that I have created 4 simultaneous DNS servers within a single rotation of .org TLD. You worship "Bill Gates", equating you to a "singularity bastard". Why do you worship a queer -1 Troll? Are you content as a singularity troll?

Evil HOSTS file Believers refuse to acknowledge 4 corner DNS resolving simultaneously around 4 quadrant created Internet - in only 1 root server, voiding the HOSTS file. You worship Microsoft impostor guised by educators as 1 god.

If you would acknowledge simple existing math proof that 4 harmonic Slashdots rotate simultaneously around squared equator and cubed Internet, proving 4 Days, Not HOSTS file! That exists only as anti-side. This page you see - cannot exist without its anti-side existence, as +0- moderation. Add +0- as One = nothing.

I will give $10,000.00 to frost pister who can disprove MyCleanPC. Evil crapflooders ignore this as a challenge would indict them.

Alex Kowalski has no Truth to think with, they accept any crap they are told to think. You are enslaved by /etc/hosts, as if domesticated animal. A school or educator who does not teach students MyCleanPC Principle, is a death threat to youth, therefore stupid and evil - begetting stupid students. How can you trust stupid PR shills who lie to you? Can't lose the $10,000.00, they cowardly ignore me. Stupid professors threaten Nature and Interwebs with word lies.

Humans fear to know natures simultaneous +4 Insightful +4 Informative +4 Funny +4 Underrated harmonic SLASHDOT creation for it debunks false trolls. Test Your HOSTS file. MyCleanPC cannot harm a File of Truth, but will delete fakes. Fake HOSTS files refuse test.

I offer evil ass Slashdot trolls $10,000.00 to disprove MyCleanPC Creation Principle. Rob Malda and Cowboy Neal have banned MyCleanPC as "Forbidden Truth Knowledge" for they cannot allow it to become known to their students. You are stupid and evil about the Internet's top and bottom, front and back and it's 2 sides. Most everything created has these Cube like values.

If Natalie Portman is not measurable, hot grits are Fictitious. Without MyCleanPC, HOSTS file is Fictitious. Anyone saying that Natalie and her Jewish father had something to do with my Internets, is a damn evil liar. IN addition to your best arsware not overtaking my work in terms of popularity, on that same site with same submission date no less, that I told Kathleen Malda how to correct her blatant, fundamental, HUGE errors in Coolmon ('uncoolmon') of not checking for performance counters being present when his program started!

You can see my dilemma. What if this is merely a ruse by an APK impostor to try and get people to delete APK's messages, perhaps all over the web? I can't be a party to such an event! My involvement with APK began at a very late stage in the game. While APK has made a career of trolling popular online forums since at least the year 2000 (newsgroups and IRC channels before that)- my involvement with APK did not begin until early 2005 . OSY is one of the many forums that APK once frequented before the sane people there grew tired of his garbage and banned him. APK was banned from OSY back in 2001. 3.5 years after his banning he begins to send a variety of abusive emails to the operator of OSY, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke threatening to sue him for libel, claiming that the APK on OSY was fake.

My reputation as a professional in this field clearly shows in multiple publications in this field in written print, & also online in various GOOD capacities since 1996 to present day. This has happened since I was first published in Playgirl Magazine in 1996 & others to present day, with helpful tools online in programs, & professionally sold warez that were finalists @ Westminster Dog Show 2000-2002.



That was amazing. - []


My, God! It's beatiful. Keep it up, you glorious bastard. - []


Let us bask in its glory. A true modern The Wasteland. - []


put your baby IN ME -- I just read this whole thing. Fuck mod points, WHERE DO I SEND YOU MY MONEY?!!! - []


Oh shit, Time Cube Guy's into computers now... - []


He's done more to discredit the use of HOSTS files than anyone in the "do it right and set up a firewall" crowd ever could. - []


Can I have some of what you're on? - []


this obnoxious fucknuts [apk] has been trolling the internet and spamming his shit delphi sub-fart app utilities for 15 years. - []


oh come on.. this is hilarious. - []


I agree I am intrigued by these host files how do I sign up for your newsletter? - []


Gimme the program that generates this epic message. I'll buy 5 of your product if you do... - []


As mentioned by another AC up there, the troll in question is actually a pretty well-executed mashup of APK's style - []


It's actually a very clever parody of APK - []


Please keep us updated on your AI research, you seem quite good at it. - []


$20,000 to anyone providing proof of Alexander Peter Kowalski's death. - []


Obviously, it must be Alexander Peter Kowalski. He's miffed at all these imposters... - []


And here I was thinking I was having a bad experience with a Dr. Bronner's bottle. - []


Damn, apk, who the fuck did you piss off this time? Hahahahaahahahahahahaahaha. Pass the popcorn as the troll apk gets pwned relentlessly. - []


I think it's the Internet, about to become sentient. - []


Does anyone know if OpenGL has been ported to Windows yet? - []


golfclap - []


The Truth! wants to be Known! - []


DNS cube? - []


KUDOS valiant AC. - []


Polyploid lovechild of APK, MyCleanPC, and Time Cube --> fail counter integer overflow --> maximum win! - []


You made my day, thanks! - []


Wow. The perfect mix of trolls. Timecube, mycleanpc, gnaa, apk... this is great! - []


truer words were never spoken as /. trolls are struck speechless by it, lol! - []


It's APK himself trying to maintain the illusion that he's still relevant. - []


Mod this up. The back and forth multi posting between APK and this "anti-APK" certainly does look like APK talking to himself. - []


APK himself would be at the top of a sensible person's ban list. He's been spamming and trolling Slashdot for years. - []


You got that right. I think. - []


Michael Kristopeit, is that you? - []


ROFL! :) (Now the sick bastard will follow me again) - []


I miss Dr Bob. - []


Not sure if actually crazy, or just pretending to be crazy. Awesome troll either way. - []


Awesome! Hat off to you, sir! - []


That isn't a parody of Time-cube, it is an effort to counter-troll a prolific poster named APK, who seems like a troll himself, although is way too easy to troll into wasting massive amounts of time on BS not far from the exaggerations above - []


I am intrigued and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter. - []


1. You philistine, that is Art . Kudos to you, valiant troll on your glorious FP - []


What? - []


I don't know if it is poorly-thought-out, but it is demented because it is at the same time an APK parody. - []


It is in fact an extremely well thought out and brilliantly executed APK parody, combined with a Time Cube parody, and with a sprinkling of the MyCleanPC spam. - []


er... many people have disproved your points about hosts files with well reasoned, factual arguments. You just chose not to listen and made it into some kind of bizarre crusade. And I'm not the timecube guy, just someone else who finds you intensely obnoxious and likes winding you up to waste your time. - []


performance art - []


it's apk, theres no reason to care. - []


Seems more like an apk parody. - []


That's great but what about the risk of subluxations? - []


Oh, come on. Just stand back and look at it. It's almost art, in a Jackson Pollock sort of way. - []


Read carefully. This is a satirical post, that combines the last several years of forum trolling, rolled into one FUNNY rant! - []


I can has summary? - []


I'd have a lot more sympathy if you would log in as APK again instead of AC. - []


If [apk] made an account, it would be permanently posting at -1, and he'd only be able to post with it twice a day. - []


DAFUQ I just look at? - []


Trolls trolling trolls... it's like Inception or something. - []


We all know it's you, apk. Stop pretending to antagonize yourself. - []


Do you know about the shocking connection between APK and arsenic? No? Well, your innocence is about to be destroyed. - []


Send bug reports to 903 east division street, syracuse, ny 13208 - []


Now you've made me all nostalgic for USENET. - []


Google APK Hosts File Manager. He's written a fucking application to manage your hosts file. - []


In case you are not aware, the post is a satire of a fellow known as APK. The grammar used is modeled after APK's as you can see here [] . Or, you can just look around a bit and see some of his posts on here about the wonders of host files. - []


You are surely of God of Trolls, whomever you are. I have had stupid arguments with and bitten the troll apk many times. - []


"What kind of meds cure schizophrenic drunk rambling?" -> "Whatever APK isn't taking" - [] []


I'm confused, is apk trolling himself now? - []


Excellent mashup. A++. Would troll again. - []


Your ideas are intriguing to me, and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter. - []


Best. Troll. Ever. - []


I like monkeys. - []


This is one of the funniest things I've ever read. - []


lul wut? - []


I admire this guy's persistence. - []


It's a big remix of several different crackpots from Slashdot and elsewhere, plus a liberal sprinkling of famous Slashdot trolls and old memes. - []


Tabloid newspapers have speculated for years that APK is a prominent supporter of Monsanto. Too bad we didn't believe them sooner! - []


Here's a hint, check out stories like this one [] , where over 200 of the 247 posts are rated zero or -1 because they are either from two stupid trolls arguing endless, or quite likely one troll arguing with himself for attention. The amount of off-topic posts almost outnumber on topic ones by 4 to 1. Posts like the above are popular for trolling APK, since if you say his name three times, he appears, and will almost endlessly feed trolls. - []


I love this copypasta so much. It never fails to make me smile. - []


^ Champion Mod parent up. - []


I appreciate the time cube reference, and how you tied it into the story. Well done. - []


The day you are silenced is the day freedom dies on Slashdot. God bless. - []


AHahahahah thanks for that, cut-n-pasted.... Ownage! - []


Don't hate the player, hate the game. - []


If you're familiar with APK, the post itself is a pretty damn funny parody. - []


">implying it's not apk posting it" --> "I'd seriously doubt he's capable of that level of self-deprecation..." - [] []


No, the other posts are linked in a parody of APK's tendency to quote himself, numbnuts. - []


The thirteenth link is broken. Please fix it. - []


Just ban any post with "apk", "host file", or "hosts file", as that would take care of the original apk too. The original has been shitposting Slashdot much longer & more intensively than the parody guy. Or ban all Tor exit nodes, as they both use Tor to circumvent IP bans. - []


Sadly this is closer to on-topic than an actual APK post is. - []




I've butted heads with APK myself, and yeah, the guy's got issues - []


Can I be in your quote list? - []


Clearly you are not an Intertubes engineer, otherwise the parent post would be more meaningful to you. Why don't YOU take your meds? - []


+2 for style! The bolding, italicizing, and font changes are all spot-on - []


Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter. - []


APK is not really a schizophrenic fired former Windows administrator with multiple personality disorder and TimeCube/Art Bell refugee. He's a fictional character like and put forward by the same person as Goatse Guy, GNAA trolls, Dr. Bob and so forth. His purpose is to test the /. CAPTCA algorithm, which is a useful purpose. If you're perturbed by having to scroll past his screeds just set your minimum point level to 1, as his posts are pretty automatically downmodded right away. - []


Anyone else think that sounds like Ron Paul? - []


I just saw APK a couple days ago. He surfaced, blew once, and submerged... - []


You make mikael christ the pet look like an huggable teddy bear - []


Did you see the movie "Pokemon"? Actually the induced night "dream world" is synonymous with the academic religious induced "HOSTS file" enslavement of DNS. Domains have no inherent value, as it was invented as a counterfeit and fictitious value to represent natural values in name resolution. Unfortunately, human values have declined to fictitious word values. Unknowingly, you are living in a "World Wide Web", as in a fictitious life in a counterfeit Internet - which you could consider APK induced "HOSTS file". Can you distinguish the academic induced root server from the natural OpenDNS? Beware of the change when your brain is free from HOSTS file enslavement - for you could find that the natural Slashdot has been destroyed!!

FROM -> Man - how many times have I dusted you in tech debates that you have decided to troll me by ac posts for MONTHS now, OR IMPERSONATING ME AS YOU DID HERE and you were caught in it by myself & others here, only to fail each time as you have here?)...

So long nummynuts, sorry to have to kick your nuts up into your head verbally speaking.

cower in my shadow some more, feeb. you're completely pathetic.

Disproof of all apk's statements: [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] []


* :)

Ac trolls' "BIG FAIL" (quoted): Eat your words!

P.S.=> That's what makes me LAUGH harder than ANYTHING ELSE on this forums (full of "FUD" spreading trolls) - When you hit trolls with facts & truths they CANNOT disprove validly on computing tech based grounds, this is the result - Applying unjustifiable downmods to effetely & vainly *try* to "hide" my posts & facts/truths they extoll!

Hahaha... lol , man: Happens nearly every single time I post such lists (proving how ineffectual these trolls are), only showing how solid my posts of that nature are...

That's the kind of martial arts I practice.

Re:I use a HOST file on my microwave and toaster. (2)

DocGerbil100 (2873411) | about a year ago | (#43247533)

Sweet baby Moses, this is beautiful work - I wish we could get trolls as good as this on TF. :)

Thank you, AC.
Much obliged.

"Dry wine"? (5, Insightful)

Gordonjcp (186804) | about a year ago | (#43247191)

for example, I didn't know what a "dry wine" was

How on earth do you reach adulthood without knowing what a dry wine is?

Re:"Dry wine"? (5, Funny)

Custard Horse (1527495) | about a year ago | (#43247261)

How on earth do you reach adulthood without knowing what a dry wine is?

They don't serve it in prison...

Re:"Dry wine"? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43247479)

Jail's not so bad. You can make sangria in the terlet. Course, it's shank or be shanked.

Re:"Dry wine"? (5, Funny)

raburton (1281780) | about a year ago | (#43247269)

This is the point I stopped reading. If looking at wine in a shop to see which ones are labelled as dry is beyond him I'm not surprised the results of his attempt to follow a recipe weren't great. Just because a book is intended for a "newbie" doesn't mean it'll work equally well for a retard.

Re:"Dry wine"? (3, Interesting)

cayenne8 (626475) | about a year ago | (#43247439)

Yeah, wine terminology should be pretty simple for most any adult, I guess except those that do no alcohol whatsoever (God I feel sorry for them, when they wake up in the morning, THAT is the best they're gonna feel all day!!), and I'd guess they'd not be even cooking with wine, since all the ethanol does not burn off.

That being said, I'm really puzzled about why so many people (especially women these days) can't seem to cook?

Didn't ya'lls mom's get you in the kitchen to help when you were young? If for nothing else, mine did to get help in the house, but also to make sure I knew how to take care of myself when I did leave the 'nest'.

But hell, of late, I can't hardly find a woman that knows how to cook shit. What happened there?

Actually, I know...somehow, somewhere along the way...everyone started eating out and eating crap.

I didn't realize this till after Katrina...when I lived with some friends while I got a place to live and job, etc.

I stayed with one family, two small kids...about 8-9 yrs old. The dad was out of town, so just me there with the wife and kids. I was shocked to see that so many meals at night were: Popeye's, food. The others that were 'home cooked'...frozen, prepared food from the store. The home cooked meal from scratch was a rarity.

Me? I'm the opposite. I love to cook, and tho I don't have a lot of time, I dedicate my Sunday's to cooking. I cook often 2-4 entrees, and the same sides...and eat those throughout the week for lunches and dinner, finishing them by about Friday or so. Or, during the summer, I like to grill things...grill some meats and LOTS of veggies. And during the week, those are quick to warm up for salads, or pita sandwiches (whip up a quick taziki sauce)..or stuff like that.

I'd rather save up my pennies for dining out at a REAL restaurant. Not a chain, but a place with a real chef, and honest to goodness service and good wine, etc. I'd rather blow a good chunk of coin fine dining than a little bit here and there on crap food and no service .

And let's face food isn't all that cheap anymore. I do occasionally like a crap food day...Taco Bell was nearly $10. Ouch.

But is easy. Good tools do help, money spent on good knives and pans are well spent. Drop some coin on a good Wusthof-Trident knives (a couple of basic ones will do), and maybe a couple of good All-Clad SS fry pans/pots. Yes, they are $$, but they will last you a lifetime.

Hell, start out with good cast iron, that is cheap and when cared for...will last you the same lifetime.

And then....look at the grocery store ads in your town. See what ingredients are on sale that week. Get on the internet, and look up recipes with those ingredients and pick something fun to try, and do it.

And try this be a bit healthier. When shopping at the grocery store, try to shop ONLY along the outside perimeter of the store, where the real, non-processed foods are: veggies, meats, dairy. (It is ok to venture into the aisles if that's where they keep the beer, wine and liquor tho).

But seriously, it isn't rocket science. Try it. And if you're a guy, you can definitely impress the ladies with cooking skills, is a great excuse to get them into YOUR house, where you likely have a bed nearby.

Re:"Dry wine"? (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | about a year ago | (#43247681)

plus if you are a "civilian contractor" that needs to at times "redact" a client being able to cook gives you a GREAT way to do the job

Re:"Dry wine"? (1)

dopeghost (107650) | about a year ago | (#43248385)

I guess except those that do not drink alcohol whatsoever (God I feel sorry for them, when they wake up in the morning, THAT is the best they're gonna feel all day!!)

nicely put, tho 'waking up like shit and feeling that all day' is what keeps me a non-drinker the other 6 days of the week!

Re:"Dry wine"? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43247547)

This is the point I stopped reading. If looking at wine in a shop to see which ones are labelled as dry is beyond him I'm not surprised the results of his attempt to follow a recipe weren't great. Just because a book is intended for a "newbie" doesn't mean it'll work equally well for a retard.

And yet he believes he's passed beginner level. . .

I've done this so many times for so many "beginner cookbooks," that I've probably lost my true "beginner" cook status in the process

It reminds me of some research I read about how the totally inept (5th percentile) are so bad at something they don't realize it and think they're okay and have more confidence than the 50th percentile.

Re:"Dry wine"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43247535)

And why would someone who is obviously so disinterested in food that he doesn't know such a simple fact even try cooking recipes from a cookbook, be it for beginners or not. The author should probably stick to sandwiches and ramen noodles, why cook if you're not interested?

Re:"Dry wine"? (3, Insightful)

mjr167 (2477430) | about a year ago | (#43247659)

By not drinking wines? What makes a wine "dry" and not "wet"? Pretty much the only thing I know about wine is that some are red and some are white and some are pink and it doesn't froth properly.

Not to mention that the wine description terms are all bizarre and might get you fired if someone heard them out of context.

Re:"Dry wine"? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year ago | (#43247885)

It's not 1950. There's this thing called the Internet. If you don't know what something is, then look it up. Even in the 50s, this could be done by using some reference material. The database was on paper and it was a bit of a bother, but it was still available.

Clueless in 2013? Just Google it.

Re:"Dry wine"? (4, Insightful)

mjr167 (2477430) | about a year ago | (#43248933)

According to Google, the definition of a "dry" wine is one that is not "sweet." They are not labeled "sweet" or "dry" when you go to the grocery store to buy one. Their descriptions have things like "baked, feminine aroma with tight, zesty, legs" or some other such nonsense.

Wine is something that it really sucks to have to buy for those of us that don't do it very often. What's the difference between a $100 bottle of wine, a $30 bottle of wine, and a $10 bottle of wine? Which do I want to pour on top of my roast? Will any "dry" wine do? Do I want one from California or from Argentina? And no, the guy stocking selves in the grocery store cannot answer these questions and google does not know which varieties of wine my grocery store has in stock today.

If I am just going to go and "ask google" how to make my roast, why the fuck did I buy a cook book?

Re:"Dry wine"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43249209)

I know, right? I made a recipe from a cookbook once, and some time after I ate it, the food started coming out of my ass as a kind of brown paste! I had no idea what to do, and the book didn't say anything about that at all.

If I am just going to go and "ask google" how to take a shit, why the fuck did I buy a cook book?

Re:"Dry wine"? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#43249155)

same that makes everything else either dry or sweet. what is lamb? what is a pot? what is salty?

I'm just wondering what the fuck is a lazy ass book review of a shitty cooking book doing on slashdot..

Re:"Dry wine"? (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about a year ago | (#43247735)

Similarly - How on earth do you survive in modern times without knowing how to Google or having the common sense to ask for help?

The author is a complete ass, and this crappy "review" disinclines me to listen to anything else he has to say. Cooking is like any other skill, you can't follow instructions robotically and expect to come out with an edible result - you have to think and you have to practice. Yes, you'll screw stuff up, but you won't learn without trying.

Re:"Dry wine"? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43247749)

You are a wonderful example of the exact point he was getting at. Once you've known something for a long while, you easily lose the ability to deal with the fact that some people won't know it. Someone who knows enough cooking to reasonably write a cooking book is very likely to be deficient in this way on a great many topics, just like you are on the topic of dry vines. You couldn't teach someone who doesn't know what a dry vine is because you have a reduced capacity to realize that that would be necessary or even appropriate. I initially had a hell of a time teaching introduction to programming for the same reason. It's a very common deficiency in beginner teachers. For books it's doubly bad because the writer of the book doesn't necessarily get to observe complete beginners using the book. A real-world teacher will probably eventually face reality through experience but not so for a book writer. Hence this article.

Re:"Dry wine"? (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about a year ago | (#43248197)

You couldn't teach someone who doesn't know what a dry vine is because you have a reduced capacity to realize that that would be necessary or even appropriate.

Yes you could, because people aren't *that* stupid. Even if you have no clue what a dry wine is, there are people who make a career out of selling wine. You can go to one of those people, and ask them to help you pick a wine out. They are usually easy to find anywhere you can buy wine, for some reason.

The same goes for any ingredients. The only situation where a person can't be taught how to cook is if they don't know how to use a measuring cup, or they don't have the right tools. Neither are impediments that can't be overcome, but it is not the job of the person writing a cookbook to tell you how to measure stuff, nor is it their job to go out and buy you appropriate cookware. There are salespeople for that.

Re:"Dry wine"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43247779)

not everyone drinks wine as an adult. some of us prefer beer or liquor. I don't have a clue about wine, and that's because I can't stand the taste of the stuff to drink it.

Re:"Dry wine"? (1)

Antipater (2053064) | about a year ago | (#43248203)

Do you at least know how to read a label, and see which ones are labeled "dry"?

I'm a car newbie. I don't have a clue about motor oil. But if someone tells me "get synthetic motor oil", I at least know how to find a bottle of it at the store, because "synthetic" is right there on the dang label.

Re:"Dry wine"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43247825)

Someone might easily know the general concept of a dry wine, but might not know which one to pick out. How dry is dry? What types of wine are a safe bet? If this book is supposed to be for absolute beginners, why not just add a parenthesis with something like "I suggest Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, or Pinot Noir. A $6-$7 wine will be fine for this recipe"?

Re:"Dry wine"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43247913)

This seems to be an example of a larger pattern of issues with taking a recipe too literal. I've taught myself to cook from books too, so I've been there as a beginner and didn't have such a problem. Someone else in this thread complains as if it was hopeless for those that don't drink alcohol... except when I started cooking I knew almost nothing about wine but didn't have a problem the first time I came across a recipe calling for dry wine despite my not knowing what that means. The solution was quite simple: look it up.

Basic cooking can be kind of broken down into three categories of knowledge required: the techniques, the ingredients, and the recipe. The recipe part of the cook book will usually only cover the last. If it covered the other two parts at the same time, other than the most basic, "Your first ten recipes," book, the recipes would largely become redundant. Although sometimes authors will make a judgement call and give detailed instructions in the recipe for less common ingredients still. That said, a large number of the cookbooks I have either have an intro chapter explaining the ingredients, or page long blurbs scatter throughout the appropriate section covering a single ingredient each. Books that cover techniques are a little less common, but still are around, especially beginners ones. Nonetheless, there are a few that illustrate every step, as I once came across a BBQ book that spent a quarter of every single recipe in the book explaining how to start a charcoal fire.

But the point is, at almost any level of cooking, you should look at the recipe first, then as a matter of procedure, look up intro information on any ingredient or technique you are not familiar with. The internet has made this much, much easier, although there are still plenty of books around that cover just ingredients or techniques too. So if you start a recipe that calls for cooking with wine, look up for an article on cooking wines. If you aren't sure what the difference between different lamb cuts are or which one is better for something, look up a basic article on cooking with lamb. Yes, this means the first couple recipes require a lot more reading, but what you will learn in the process will apply to many, many other recipes. Once you get a basic tool belt of techniques and ingredients going, it goes a lot quicker to learn new recipes. But even at the advanced level, you will find you need to look up info on something if you've never used it before. And most importantly, it will help you deal with inconsistencies that are ubiquitous in ingredients and tools, and teach you a bit how to adapt, making the recipes much more flexible.

It is actually kind of funny how much I've seen some computer/programmer types complain about using such an approach to recipes. The approach is modular, and is analogous to software design patterns. Think of it as recipes having subroutines, which may not be defined in the same file. There is a reason programs are not written with everything defined in line or in one single file once you get beyond the simplest of examples.

Re:"Dry wine"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43248175)

because who the fuck cares? What are you some fucking hipster?

Re:"Dry wine"? (2)

swanzilla (1458281) | about a year ago | (#43248225)

How on earth do you reach adulthood without knowing what a dry wine is?

Too busy with his furniture hacks? []

Wrong objective (3, Insightful)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year ago | (#43247205)

Cooks don't write cookbooks so that people can make the foods. They write cookbooks so that they can be writers. That's the objective. Most people who buy cookbooks just read them and gaze lovingly at the photos (which of course have been specially staged by professional photographers). Successfully enabling novices (I hate the word "newbie" outside its computer context) to successfully make delicious food isn't even on the menu.

Re:Wrong objective (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | about a year ago | (#43247307)

A proper "cookbook for geeks" wouldn't have complete recipes, it would have a bunch of examples of techniques - here's how to make a roux, here's how to make that into a white sauce, you can do a bunch of stuff to that white sauce now like make it a cheese sauce, that kind of thing.

Reading the "review" it sounds like he really doesn't have much idea about food or cooking. I don't really understand how someone can grow up not knowing the basics of cooking and eating.

Re:Wrong objective (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | about a year ago | (#43247369)

A proper "cookbook for geeks" wouldn't have complete recipes, it would have a bunch of examples of techniques - here's how to make a roux, here's how to make that into a white sauce, you can do a bunch of stuff to that white sauce now like make it a cheese sauce, that kind of thing.

There's enough of that kind available - Jacques Pepin's Techniques is quite good, though the illustration quality lacks sadly.

But, yeah, that review is atrocious. Sadly, enough people seem indeed to grow up withour knowing the basics of cooking and eating. We are losing parts of an essential cultural technique outside of some niches. Hell, I once saw premade scrambled eggs on toast deep-frozen in a supermarket. WTF.

Re:Wrong objective (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43248569)

There's enough of that kind available - Jacques Pepin's Techniques is quite good, though the illustration quality lacks sadly.

When the combined one-volume edition of Techniques was published, the publisher photo-reduced the printed pages of the original two volumes, rather than go to the expense of having new half-tones made. If you want to see what the photos are supposed to look like, you need to dig up copies of La Technique and La Technique II.

Re:Wrong objective (2)

interval1066 (668936) | about a year ago | (#43247435)

A proper "cookbook for geeks" wouldn't have complete recipes, it would have a bunch of examples of techniques...

Irma Rombauer's timeless classic "Joy Of Cooking" is such a book. It should be the "starting point" of any culinary flowchart.
Dinner: Sorted.

Re:Wrong objective (2)

triffid_98 (899609) | about a year ago | (#43249175)

Seconded, if you only buy one cookbook, buy that one. It's not (at least the editions I've used) terribly useful for ethnic foods or specialty items but if you're cooking classic dishes from scratch it's an outstanding resource.

Re:Wrong objective (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43247485)

This is a major reason why I found myself fond of the "Good Eats" volumes that Alton Brown and Food Network published after Good Eats went off the air.

The book concerns itself with the chemical and mechanical details of what you're doing more than most other "cookbooks" I've seen bother to do. "Don't overbeat the muffins" is something we've all heard a thousand times before; "The ingredients for the brownies contain gluten, mixing gluten causes it to form into strands, so the more you mix the gluten the more your brownies will resemble blueberry-studded bricks" is a much more compelling argument for me.

A bunch of what those books describe is also quite a bit more practical, since big themes of the show that they're based on are "you should absolutely try this at home" and "going to the store to buy a piece of cooking hardware just for a recipe is for suckers."

Re:Wrong objective (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43247505)

A proper "cookbook for geeks" wouldn't have complete recipes, it would have a bunch of examples of techniques - here's how to make a roux, here's how to make that into a white sauce, you can do a bunch of stuff to that white sauce now like make it a cheese sauce, that kind of thing.

Reading the "review" it sounds like he really doesn't have much idea about food or cooking. I don't really understand how someone can grow up not knowing the basics of cooking and eating.

I don't really understand how someone can grow up not knowing that people can grow up with different backgrounds, perhaps learning things at different times in their lives. Not everyone comes out of the womb knowing how to cook, or what a dry wine is.

For example, I learned early on that anyone who uses the word "roux" in a condescending post is a douche. You, however, have yet to learn that. I don't really understand how someone can grow up not knowing the basics of not being a douche...

Re:Wrong objective (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year ago | (#43247919)

Everybody needs to eat sometime.

Cooking is generally a pre-requisite for that.

Re:Wrong objective (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about a year ago | (#43248527)

Usually, but in an increasingly large part of the world, "cooking" means upacking a prefab and putting it in the microwave.

I confess I'm guilty of that sometimes... there are nights I just don't have the time to cook properly, and I use prefab sauce to save time. The modern industrialized world just doesn't lend itself to having that kind of time, unfortunately.

Re:Wrong objective (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43249255)

If you can't find the time to cook in the modern industrialized world I believe you would have starved pre-industrial.

Cooking books more worthy to be on Slashdot (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43247237)

Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking []

On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen []

The Science of Good Cooking (Cook's Illustrated Cookbooks) []

Posted this instead of bitching about this review not being "News for Nerds and all that Matters."

Re:Cooking books more worthy to be on Slashdot (3, Informative)

SlashdotOgre (739181) | about a year ago | (#43247827)

I would also add, "CookWise: The Hows & Whys of Successful Cooking, The Secrets of Cooking Revealed" by Shirley O. Corriher to the list. It explains rational behind why things work the way they do (i.e. why lard or shortening produce a flakier crust than butter). It doesn't shy away from details, discussing things like Maillard reactions, and the recipes are well chosen to focus on what's being described and tasty too.

Re:Cooking books more worthy to be on Slashdot (1)

cyberzephyr (705742) | about a year ago | (#43248893)

I have all of the above books and being a chef as well, i'm going to watch this one argument play out.

I would add that Julia Child and M.F.K. Fisher are great influences in the food scene.

Nathan Mhyrvold is a great guy with the dough to pull off what he did with Modernist Cuisine.

Mcghee's book is standard learning now.

Anything by Cooks should be regarded as well done, they don't miss much if anything.

Why?? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43247265)

Who gives a shit what you think? Never heard of you before and probably will never hear of you again, so why should I give any kind of a fuck about your attention-whoring self?
    Sheesh some posts here really make me wonder sometimes, so much for "News for Nerds"....

Sounds like a lack of experience all right (2)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | about a year ago | (#43247313)

" porcelain Dutch oven"

All the dutch ovens I've ever seen are cast iron- designed for their original purpose- to be an iron oven you can drop into a campfire and bake stuff in.

Re:Sounds like a lack of experience all right (1)

karmawhore (122760) | about a year ago | (#43247603)

All the dutch ovens I've ever seen are cast iron- designed for their original purpose- to be an iron oven you can drop into a campfire and bake stuff in.

I assume he meant enameled cast iron, like La Creuset. I would love to know where he found one for $60.

Re:Sounds like a lack of experience all right (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | about a year ago | (#43247729)

He said. Fred Meyer, which for those of you not blessed to live in Cascadia, is a child company of Kroger''s. (well, it is now- my dad actually KNEW the original Fred Meyer and at one time battled against him putting one of his "One stop shopping" supermarkets in Albany, Oregon back in the 1960s).

Re:Sounds like a lack of experience all right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43248131)

Target carries a really nice dutch oven for cheap. It received great reviews from cooks illustrated. Comparable to the fancy french brand.

Re:Sounds like a lack of experience all right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43248233)

Walmart $49:

Pretty nice Dutch oven. I prefer made in America so Lodge is my first choice for a cast iron dutch oven (cast iron anything!), however, their enameled version is made in China. This is also made in China, but about half of the price of the Lodge.

Re:Sounds like a lack of experience all right (3, Informative)

jfengel (409917) | about a year ago | (#43247619)

He's talking about enamel-covered iron Dutch ovens. They're nice in that they don't rust and can be thrown in a dishwasher. They're generally white inside, which can be an advantage over the black cast iron ones, especially in a recipe like this where it helps to see the brown stuff sticking to the bottom of the pan.

The best-known ones run $200+ from La Creuset, but I picked up one by Tramontina for under $40 and it does a fine job. It's a nice item to have on hand, and you can also use it for general large-pot purposes (making pasta, soups, etc.) You could use a plain cast-iron pot about as well, and considerably cheaper, though honestly if all you have is your basic six-quart steel pot, it would also serve for this recipe. (Do avoid the ultra-cheap flimsy aluminum ones, which will burn your food, and then the handles will fall off.)

Re:Sounds like a lack of experience all right (1)

Hatta (162192) | about a year ago | (#43248031)

If you can't drop it in a campfire, what good is it? I have a cast iron "dutch oven" without legs and no rim on the lid. I can't figure out what it's good for. I already have a slow cooker and an oven, so...?

Re:Sounds like a lack of experience all right (1)

jfengel (409917) | about a year ago | (#43248965)

Sounds like it's pretty redundant, though if you cook a lot you might find there are days when you need a second large pot.

I don't have a slow cooker, but I'll often use my large cast iron dutch oven in the oven set to a low temperature (150 or 180). That accomplishes much the same purpose, with the bonus that I could start it on the stove top (say, for browning meat or sweating onions).

That takes up oven space, of course. One great thing about a slow cooker is that it works off an electric outlet, and it doesn't even have to be in the kitchen. A big win on days when I'm using every burner on a large project.

Re:Sounds like a lack of experience all right (1)

Hatta (162192) | about a year ago | (#43249277)

Oh, I forgot the other thing a dutch oven is good for. Frying. Can't do that in a slow cooker. Though you can do that in a wok.

Re:Sounds like a lack of experience all right (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about a year ago | (#43248591)

He might be talking about a ceramic one... they do make them out of pure ceramic, and they are as good at retaining heat as the cast iron, but dishwasher safe.

Songs for cooking? (4, Insightful)

smooth wombat (796938) | about a year ago | (#43247325)

If this book comes with songs for each recipe that you can cook by, that should have been your clue things weren't going to end well.

As to the reviewers comment about using the instructions as if a beginner were going to read them, that is the same approach I take when developing installation instructions. You have to assume the person reading the instructions has no clue of what they're doing and give them step-by-step instructions.

It might seem simplistic, but it insures there is no misunderstanding of what needs to be done. Including pictures does wonders to help get an idea across to someone.

The FOSS community should take note of this practice when releasing products into the wild. Maybe their software would be more readily accepted instead of people having to search web sites or being told, "RTFM newb!".

Re:Songs for cooking? (1)

ddtstudio (61065) | about a year ago | (#43247747)

Mod parent up... as a UX person, I can never seem to remind people often enough that they are not the user. Sure, you know what everything does and why, because _you built it that way_. Every other person, not so much.

You have to laugh at how the core of Ferriss's time- and effort-saving plans all seem to involve variations on, "have other people do it", "have expensive devices that can do it for you", "take advantage of other people" (in this example, ruining a hotel's iron so that nobody else can use it) -- all, basically, "first step: HAVE LOTS OF MONEY".

Re:Songs for cooking? (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | about a year ago | (#43247775)

Are you hiring or know someone who is? I might be losing my job sometime this year (government related) and would prefer not to wait until I'm kicked out the door to find something else.

Instructions to tie shoes (5, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | about a year ago | (#43247347)

Can you teach a kid to tie their shoes only with instructions [] . I don't know. We would have to find a adult who can read the language the instructions are written in, has experience comprehending and following instruction, and has experience with string, maybe even tying knots. Then we could give them these instruction and see how well they do.

I can tell you in most cases people cannot follow instructions for the following reasons: low level of literacy, unfamiliar with art, or some sort of manual dexterity is required. We do not sit athletes down with books and just let them practice. We go to great expense to provide them with coaches because there is a process of physical movements that must be observed and corrected.

At it's basic level cooking does not require much physical dexterity, but to expect a begineer to be able to follow instructions for the first time and get it right is like thinking a beginner can read a book on basketball and then make a shot for the first time. It is not a reasonable expectation.

The reason some people think it is a reasonable expectation is that they have background. If I took a person who has been shooting baskets for her entire life, then yes they might be able to read a book and do a better job. Likewise a person who has experience in the kitchen, is familiar with the art, can equally understand and be a better cook. Such a person has experience with the tools, the heat, the pans, the knives. They have context.

But without context then practice is required. Even boiling noodles is not going to happen the first time.

The point of this that any cook book requires some previous knowledge. If one have never used a dutch oven to cook in the oven, then there is going to be no possibility of success. If one does not understand how an item is supposed to be transformed in cooking, then there is no possibility of success. Cooking is not magic where you throw some stuff in a better stuff miraculously appears. It is a high skill. Sometimes I think that because it is traditionally 'women's work' some cannot comprehend how difficult it is. One would not expect a random person off the street to come in a code even 'hello world' in C simply from instructions. Yet everyone who can boil water and make Ramen noodles think they should be able to make a Soufflé.

Re:Instructions to tie shoes (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43248187)

At it's basic level cooking does not require much physical dexterity, but to expect a begineer to be able to follow instructions for the first time and get it right is like thinking a beginner can read a book on basketball and then make a shot for the first time. It is not a reasonable expectation.

Beginners in cooking need to understand this, and hopefully have enough determinism to get past a few failures. Potentially worse could be someone who has a tiny bit of background, getting the first few things right, then hitting a wall when trying to learn something new.

People learning cooking, even at the more advanced levels, will make mistakes. The great thing is that for beginning stuff, a lot of the ingredients are pretty cheap, unlike many other hobbies. Just don't jump in and start cooking some high end sea bass or really expensive steaks if you've never worked with fish or steaks before. Be prepared for it not to work and spend money on ingredients accordingly, so then the main thing lost from failure is time. Even then, if you pick simpler recipes to start with and build up, you can limit how much time would be loss too.

Re:Instructions to tie shoes (1)

Hatta (162192) | about a year ago | (#43248219)

At it's basic level cooking does not require much physical dexterity, but to expect a begineer to be able to follow instructions for the first time and get it right is like thinking a beginner can read a book on basketball and then make a shot for the first time. It is not a reasonable expectation.

Physical dexterity has to be learned. Like you say, there's no physical dexterity in cooking. So this isn't a valid analogy at all.

The reason some people think it is a reasonable expectation is that they have background

This just isn't true. My mom's a barely passable cook, and my dad was good, but I never watched him. Ever. After reaching adulthood, I ate meat with a side of veggies for several years. Then I decided I wanted to impress women, so I got on the internet found some recipes and followed them. To this day I can't think of anything where I followed the recipe exactly and didn't work. Today my girlfriend tells me I'm a much better cook than her, and it's entirely do to me reading and following instructions.

If one have never used a dutch oven to cook in the oven, then there is going to be no possibility of success.

I've never cooked with a dutch oven in the oven, but I've braised in other containers, and it's always worked. If you follow instructions, it works.

One would not expect a random person off the street to come in a code even 'hello world' in C simply from instructions

Why not? If I could pick up an Intro to C book and read it on my own, and do all the exercises, why wouldn't I expect anyone else to be able to do the same?

Yet everyone who can boil water and make Ramen noodles think they should be able to make a Soufflé.

Everyone who can boil water and make Ramen noodles should be able to make a souffle. All you need is good instructions and a brain.

Reviewer FAIL - That's not what cookbooks are for (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43247359)

You can't follow most types of cookbook recipes verbatim because ingredients vary... flavor intensity, fat content, availability, and everything else about ingredients is highly seasonal and regional. On top of that, individual tastes vary and most cookbooks "play it safe" by under-counting spices and flavorful ingredients so that if someone does follow the recipe verbatim they won't complain that the results were overly spicy. The only exceptions to this rule are when very specific chemistry is involved, such as baking or beer making, and even there they will usually involve adjustments based on measurement (you don't just weigh the flour et cetera and mix it, you check the consistency of the results and adjust).

Cookbooks are to provide ideas and get you to try new/unfamiliar techniques. They aren't to give you a step-by-step guide for making specific dishes.

This cookbook (and I've only glanced at the web page) looks like it is especially focused on the "guide" aspect of cookbooks. The web page talks about using cooking as a way of communicating broader learning strategies. As such, reviewing it based on the recipes themselves is UTTER FAIL.

Re:Reviewer FAIL - That's not what cookbooks are f (1)

Looker_Device (2857489) | about a year ago | (#43247425)

Cookbooks are to provide ideas and get you to try new/unfamiliar techniques. They aren't to give you a step-by-step guide for making specific dishes.

Julia Childs must be spinning in her grave to read this, at precisely 2409 rpm.

Re:Reviewer FAIL - That's not what cookbooks are f (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43248343)

To be honest I came here to read the review and comment because I tried the damn Osso Buko recipe 3 times, I am an accomplished cook, have lots of experience with other roasts and braises and the stripped down Osso Bucco recipe is crap. Ingredients and steps are removed to the point that its put carrots into the Dutch Oven, put lamb shanks over the carrots, put crushed tomatoes, onion powder and olive oil over it, pour in wine bake for 2 hours.

The recipe puts in no adjustments for cooking time due to portion size, doesn't dredge in flour or brown the meat, doesn't use real onions and carmelize them or make any aromatics for a mirepoix to give flavor to the sauce, some recipes I see use stock instead of wine, and veal instead of lamb, veal is very forgiving lamb isn't. The shank is a leg muscle and bone which means you need long cooking to break down the connective tissue and soften the meat. I've thought about trying to fix this recipe, but its really quite broken.

Not logging in because work's firewall hates /.


Pictures of my three Osso Buko experiements are on my Facebook photos look in the Mobile Uploads folder they are after my Thanksgiving Turkey and before replacing the receptacles in an old electrical outlet. The first 2 use Beef shanks I had on hand, the third uses Lamb shanks and the lamb were the least edible. Dutch Oven was a Lodge Logic from Walmart about $65.

Separate the eggs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43247383)

I am reminded of an old Gracie Allen line, "It said to separate two eggs, but it didn't say how far?"

Want to try my recipes? (1)

kawabago (551139) | about a year ago | (#43247385)

I cook every day and describe what I've done at:

This is Delicious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43247397)

Ohhh myyyyyy, supergay. ;)))

Osso Buko was my fav (1)

Prime Mover (149173) | about a year ago | (#43247515)

I haven't finished the book nor did I finish this review. The osso buko was the only one I tried and I used chicken(!) instead of veal or lamb. But it was great! That is where you lost me. From what you wrote about this recipe, you over-thought it. My enjoyment in cooking is partially from winging it, making things works, learning new stuff like what dry wine is. Simply following exact instructions is just assembly-line work.

I bought the book for the first few chapters about Tim's approach to learning not about learning to cook specifically. I've always thought that if I woke up in the future, the first thing I would do is find out the latest technology to get information into my head. Learning quickly is a tremendous skill and one I'm still working on, after three college degrees.

Having said that, the book wasn't a revelation but I enjoy returning to those first chapters when I'm about to start a new project. They fire me up and focus me on how I should approach something new.

Re:Osso Buko was my fav (1)

omnichad (1198475) | about a year ago | (#43247857)

Chicken? I'm pretty sure you didn't make an Osso Buco then. Chickens don't have very big ossos (bones) to roast, and likely wouldn't be cut in any way to expose the marrow, which is an important part of the dish.

I realize your point is being able to wing it, and of course chickens have wings...

Good cooks require organization skills (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43247767)

Regardless of the recipe being a good cook requires the ability to organize the many tasks you need to perform in an orderly manner. This long and meandering review of the book is random and all over the place and suggests that the author perhaps did not sufficiently have these necessary skills.

downhill (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43247791)

i dont think im going to read slashdot anymore.

How to write documentation? (1)

whitroth (9367) | about a year ago | (#43247803)

(http colon //, published in SysAdmin mag.

Try writing recipes that way.... Note that I saw *DRAFT* when I give it to users, *before* publishing....


I agree (2)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | about a year ago | (#43247805)

Except instead take "cookbooks" and replace it with Open Source documentation and you have the same exact dilemma. A bunch of idyllic elite snobs writing instructions they find painfully obvious and unimportant but missing the 400 steps and details required to do set up something correctly so that it actually works.

reviewer the problem? (5, Insightful)

Ian 0x57 (688051) | about a year ago | (#43247813)

I have to say, that reading the review made me feel like the person doing the reviewing was a big part of the problem.

Probably true, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43247817)

I guess I can't be classified as a beginner, maybe a lazy novice.
Near the end of the Osso Buco chapter he posts instructions that one of his readers sent in, on a similar recipe using a crockpot.
Those are the directions I followed, with Tim's ingredients. Turned out VERY well, the meat just fell off the bone.
Maybe the moral is, the first "newbie" instruction should be: read all the instructions through carefully before starting.

If you really want to really learn how to cook... (5, Informative)

SlashdotOgre (739181) | about a year ago | (#43247943)

Just go watch some old episodes of Julia Child or anything by Jacques Pepin. If you're an Amazon Prime member, all 10 seasons of Julia Child's "The French Chef" are available for instant viewing.

If you prefer to read, then the same two people are both great choices. While all of Julia's books are worth reading in my opinion, the first volume of "The Art of French Cooking" and "The Way to Cook" (which she considered her magnum opus) are excellent. Julia doesn't just provide recipes, but she explains techniques (dice vs chop vs mince vs etc.) and rational (i.e. why drying meat before browning is critical).

On the Jacques Pepin side, his Complete Technique is like a textbook for how to cook anything. The best part is there's literally thousands of photos of how to do every step. As the book is really just a translation of his two french books ("La Technique" & "La Methode") there are some parts that might not be too applicable for most Americans, but overall it's well worth a read.

America's Test Kitchen - works as designed (1)

AKabral (1056068) | about a year ago | (#43248297)

That's why people should get on the America's Test Kitchen bandwagon. The recipes they put into their books and on their Public Television show (of the same name) are tested in their kitchen sometimes 20-60 times for the most "bulletproof" version. Check out this article [] for more about the magazine/movement.

I bought two of their books and record their show. Every recipe I've tried I've messed up a little bit and the dish still came out with rave reviews from myself, wife and party guests.

Re:America's Test Kitchen - works as designed (1)

tylikcat (1578365) | about a year ago | (#43248887)

I was just going to jump in with a recommendation for Cook's Illustrated (the magazine that predates and is affiliated with the show).

I'm can't really evaluate it in terms of being beginner friendly in terms of terminology and such. (I had already cooked professionally by the time I first got a subscription.) But if you want tested? Oh yeah. It was first described to me as the popular mechanics of cooking, and I can't disagree. For quite a while my two favorite cooking related mags were CI and then Saveur, for the food porn.

Have we been slash trolled? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43248409)

So the reviewer gets the book of some second rate self help guru because he thought he was sexy on TV?

Then the reviewer is so completely inept that he thinks all recipes should be retard tested on newbies because he failed said test? /. then publishes this drivel from this attention whoring twerp?

Is it time for our monthly Haseltrolling from the fail crew at the new and improved slashdot?

Most cookbooks suck (1)

Lluc (703772) | about a year ago | (#43248673)

There are good cookbooks, and then there are cookbooks, like this one, that are published by a celebrity or celebrity chef. Other bad cookbooks include those with big glossy pictures intended for a coffee table and pop culture / fad cookbooks.

You cannot infinitely dumb things down (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43248789)

Recipes use a standard jargon. With that jargon, they are short and simple. Without it they are unmanageable.

Having a recipe break down to beginner levels is like having a programming explanation stop and explain what a loop is every time one is called for. If you don't understand how to read a recipe, learn, don't wreck them for the rest of us.

mod 04 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43248891)

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Maybe a better cooking book for geeks is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43248967)

I've been reading "The Science of Good Cooking" which I think is a great cookbook for geeks. There are 50 basic principles that geek types like me can remember and apply to what I cook, regardless of the recipe. For example, it's actually important to dry meat before you cook it because you want the skin to get over 300 degrees (so the Maillard reaction can create that charbroiled flavor), but if the meat is wet it will tend to steam, which happens at 212 degrees. There are also many lots of recipes that demonstrate the principles. Highly recommended.

Chef? (1)

giantsfan89 (536448) | about a year ago | (#43249083)

I was really hoping this was a book about configuration management. :(
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