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Admit it: You feel a twinge of guilt when you subject a defenseless button mushroom to a bath in water. That’s something a good cook never would do, right? But why not? Former Washington Post columnist Robert Wolke has the answer to this and other kitchen conundrums you’ve always wondered about: What’s a “natural flavor?” Why are there separate measuring cups for liquids and solids? And why do we cook with wine?
Follow Wolke into the kitchen for a practical and entertaining demonstration that addresses a home cook’s most vexing questions—after which he’ll serve up some delicious and scientifically accurate dessert.
Wolke is a professor emeritus of chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh and author of What Einstein Told His Cook: Kitchen Science Explained. He will sign his latest book, What Einstein Kept Under His Hat: Secrets of Science in the Kitchen (W.W. Norton & Co.). Christopher Kimball of Cook’s Illustrated describes him as “a rare mix of lab-coat scientist and raconteur, as if Albert Einstein’s mother had married Rodney Dangerfield’s father.”
And those supposedly water-shy mushrooms? A brief, gentle wash is just fine, reassures Wolke.