4-Hour Chef: The Simple Path to Cooking Like a Pro, Learning Anything, and Living the Good Life (英语) 精装 – 2012年11月20日
Enjoy a Sampler Platter of The 4-Hour Chef
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— Nick Kokonas, Co-Owner, Alinea, Next, The Aviary
“Wildly inventive.. [a] rangy, obsessive immersion in food and its many wonders. [T]he tools needed to learn to cook well can be deployed in every manner of endeavor, from skinning a deer to memorizing a deck of cards. The author distills them into minimal, learnable units and examines how to order the units so as to keep readers engaged in their endeavors. Ferriss is a beguiling guide to this process, at once charmingly smart aleck-y and deadly serious, and he aims to make readers knowledgeable and freethinking.” — Kirkus Reviews
Second disclaimer: I am NOT a Tim worshiper. The 4-Hour Workweek is a sometimes unethical pipe dream that a couple people writers imitating Tim have made money on. For most of us, it contains a couple tricks to be more efficient at our 9-5. The 4-Hour Body is a relatively interesting and fun book on fitness and diet experimentation. I learned a few tips and tricks from it and really enjoyed reading about his experiences. I have read most of Tim's blog and consider it a sometimes better alternative to "Life Hacker".
Those two disclaimers being said, this is a GREAT book if you come in with the right expectations. If you're looking for 600+ pages solely devoted to grocery shopping, prep, recipes, cooking and eating, you will not find it here. You'll find about 200-250 pages dedicated solely to such, and 200 more at least somewhat related--consisting of wilderness cooking and survival, great restaurants, 140 character recipes, and basic tools you need in the kitchen. At a macro level, the most useful cooking lessons are Tim's notes on equipment to have in your kitchen, his 10 easy recipes (most of which are really interesting/easy shortcuts), and the charts on spices that go with different countries. At a micro level, I picked up a few random tidbits from the 1/2-pagers on how to quickly defrost a steak, how to make the perfect cup of coffee, etc. The most important part of this section is that Tim teaches you HOW to cook, not just how to follow a recipe. The best part about his methodology is that he removes all roadblocks from the reader--the excessively expensive equipment, the hard to find ingredients, and the difficult cooking techniques are all put nicely out of mind with shortcuts and detailed pictures.
The rest of the book, in my opinion, is actually more interesting. The first section is about a hundred pages are worth the price of admission alone. It details a method to learn anything efficiently--Tim is merely using cooking as a MEDIUM to teach this method. I've started applying this first section to learning a number of skills already. As the middle sections are the ones devoted to cooking and wilderness survival that I detailed above, the appendix is related to random skills and interesting "life hacks" that you can learn quickly. Yes, these feel like last-minute additions but if one thing is clear Tim actually cares about his readers, why not throw in these interesting pages--they do not detract from the focus as they are part of the appendix.
If I can say one thing--buy this book. For me, I can see myself going back to it for years anytime I'd like to learn a new skill (be it with cooking or otherwise). If you want to learn HOW to cook taught in an unpretentious tone with easy to follow pictures, you'll find it here. If you're interested in shortcuts to learning complex skills, you'll find it here. If you just want to pick up a few cooking shortcuts, you will most definitely be delighted with this book. And lastly, if you are a fan of Tim and his other works, absolutely buy this book.
Lastly, a note on format, BUY THE HARDCOVER. I bought the Kindle as well since it was on sale for just $4.99 on Amazon and it does not even come close to comparing to the hardcover version. This book is meant to have pages cut out and marked up, its detailed color pictures to be seen, etc.
What I enjoyed:
-- Ferriss's storytelling. He has a nice way with words: "Mangalitsa acorn-finished woolly boar tasted just like acorns. I was chewing on fall, clear as crystal, in a sliver of cured ham."
-- His emphasis on the slow food movement and local, organic farming. (But strangely, his "Clean 15" foods include sweet corn, which is mostly genetically modified.)
-- His language hacking tips, which are gold. I've always wanted to master several languages and found his methodology solid and logical.
-- The 140-character Twitter recipes from almost every country in the world: fun, simple, and intriguing.
What I didn't like:
-- Ferriss's tangential teaching style. At one point he goes from braising to English's 100 most common written words to kickboxing to chess to tango spins in order to emphasize the importance of selection and sequencing. It didn't work for me, because I often lost track of the original concept.
-- His foray in into survival and hunting skills, just so you can make your own venison burger. (If you want some cricket protein bars, however, you'll need to mail order the crickets.) This section could have been a separate book and might have been fascinating as a metaphor/methodology for learning entrepreneurial skills.
-- His unrealistic (for the busy person) science experiments, such as making arugula spaghetti using a syringe and flexible tubing just to avoid that dreaded white flour. (Though some of his cocktails in the same section sound delicious.)
If I were to sum up this book in one word, it would be "manic": excessively enthusiastic and somewhat disorganized. Ferriss is obviously a curious and driven guy. I came away feeling he gets satisfaction from the ability to tackle and master anything, but not joy.
- The book claims it's not a book about cooking yet 80% of the content is food related. He talks a lot about meta-learning but doesn't really dive into learning types and just gives generic learning tips.
- The book reads almost like a magazine and jumps all over the place as you progress through.
- Random mens magazine style tips (how shoot a jumpshot??, Knifes, guns, camping etc) I feel like I'm reading a GQ magazine.
- Really big book, the formatting is good but some of the pictures looked very amateur.
- You can tell he didn't write a lot of content of the book. Ferris is the master of outsourcing yet he makes it seems like he is the jack of all trades.
- Tons of pages of recipes (I thought this wasn't a cookbook?)
...more later as I progress through the book.
Overall I would say that it is a very entertaining book but I didn't find it more educational than any magazine you can pickup off the newsstands.
I highly doubt he wrote or edited much of this mess. I suspect he dictated it as he was performing one of his hundred adventures. Then it was codged together by an offshore team. The same team that wrote the thousand 5-star reviews.
I suspect there's some important message in this hodgepodge, but I couldn't find it.