Four hours? A gimmick, to be sure, but a good one to lure you into this rangy, obsessive immersion in food and its many wonders.
We should become more conversant with the pot, the pan and all that issues therefrom, writes life-improvement guru Ferriss (The 4-Hour Body, 2010, etc.). You have so much to lose by not doing so. Eating well tones your body and mind, impresses people and increases your mating advantage. Even more, the 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. The author demonstrates how to hold a knife and cut an onion, but he also provides an engagement with the outdoors—how to build a shelter and butcher a kill, how to shop in Calcutta’s outdoor market and recognize a squirrel’s chirp (“akin to a Jack Russell digging through a chalkboard”). Ferriss also examines better eating through chemistry, which leads quite naturally to an extended encounter with Grant Achatz’s legendarily avant-garde cuisine—e.g., cigar-infused tequila hot chocolate. Ferriss is everywhere—preventing fat gain when you binge, poaching an egg, butchering a chicken, using liquid nitrogen, making a bacon rose—but is always focused on the main course: good eating.
A wildly inventive excursion through the creation of our daily bread—and our occasional carp à l’ancienne.