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by
Helen Smith

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December 2, 2012 - 11:40 am

I just started reading Tim Ferriss’s The 4-Hour Chef: The Simple Path to Cooking Like a Pro, Learning Anything, and Living the Good Life. If you have read other books by Ferriss, you will know that his style is manic, amusing and full of possibilities. That’s how I felt as I paged through his newest book.

He starts the book, not by teaching you how to cook but teaching you how to learn. Want to learn swimming? Don’t look to Michael Phelps. Try Shinji Takeuchi who learned to swim at 37. Takeuchi learned to swim not by sheer horsepower, like Phelps, but by effortless propulsion. Those people who are natural talents are not the way to learn, the ones who taught themselves despite having less talent can break the code down for the rest of us. I guess Ferriss is the reader’s guinea pig as he gleans what he can from the best in the culinary field to teach the reader how to cram 6 months of culinary lessons into 48 hours.

I must say that the recipes in the book sound exciting but I am not sure how tasty they are. On page 412, there is a recipe for Bacon-infused bourbon that is downright funny-looking with a bacon strip sticking out of glass of bourbon for guests at a cocktail party. Does this sound tasty to you? I don’t know. He not only teaches you how to make Vietnamese venison burgers but shows you in a section before what it is like to hunt and kill a deer with full photos. He also has a section on “how to Gut and Cook Tree Rat (or fish).” He has some simpler recipes for desserts or how to hard or soft-boil eggs for those of us with simpler culinary appetites (or who are just bad at cooking).

The book is a fill 667 pages of entertainment, weirdness and learning in addition to cooking. It is worth a read if you have the time.

Helen Smith is a psychologist specializing in forensic issues in Knoxville, Tennessee, and blogs at Dr. Helen.
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