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The 4-Hour Chef - Review

The Simple Path to Cooking like a Pro, Learning Anything, and Living the Good Life

by Timothy Ferriss
(Amazon Publishing, 2012)

The 4-Hour Chef by Timothy Ferriss

How to Meta Learn Anything

Before it gathers any more dust on our desk, we've decided to finally tackle The 4-Hour Chef, bestselling author Timothy Ferriss' ambitious "Simple Path to Cooking like a Pro, Learning Anything, and Living the Good Life." "Simple" it is not; hence the dust gathering. It was simply too daunting a task to delve into it!

The title page proudly boasts that "If you crossed Jason Bourne with Julia Child, you'd end up with Tim Ferriss." Or, in our own words: if you mashed up David Foster Wallace with Maxim magazine, on Ritalin, for the short-attention-span Generation I, you'd get this very meta oeuvre, which covers, in no particular order: how to make kale chips; how to hand-catch a pigeon; how to build a shelter in the wild; how to prevent fat gain when you binge; and how to infuse bacon with bourbon.

The book is exploding with information. We could never fathom reading the whole massive undertaking from front to back, but then we discovered there's method to the madness. It's divided into five sections, Meta Learning; The Domestic; The Wild; The Scientist; and The Professional, but we still get lost. Instead we prefer opening pages at random, digesting bits (skewering squirrels?) in no particular order.

Ferriss' cookbook cum survival guide cum mega lesson for speed learning anything is one of the wildest books we've come across (with the exception of Infinite Jest. Google it.). But after playing with it for a while, we got really excited about garbage can clam bakes, foraged city park meals, starting a fire, julienning veggies and hunting.

So despite the fact that at first glance we couldn't stomach the vastness that is The 4-Hour Chef, you can now count us converted fans of Ferriss' fabulously outlandish yet imminently useful bible of kitchen and other crazy wisdom.

by Sylvie Greil

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(Updated 03/05/13 KNF)

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