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6001 Food Facts and Chef's Secrets

1 rating: -5.0
A book by Dr. Myles H. Bader

"6001 Food Facts & Chef's Secrets" is not a cookbook but a unique kitchen reference book with over 6000 usable entries in every area of cooking, household hints, chef's secrets to their recipes, & current health facts related to protecting … see full wiki

Tags: Books, Cooking
Author: Dr. Myles H. Bader
Genre: Cooking
Publisher: Northstar Pub
Date Published: October 01, 1995
1 review about 6001 Food Facts and Chef's Secrets

Risible tripe

  • Jul 9, 2003
Rating:
-5
Pros: Amusement at combination of ego and illiteracy necessary to put one's name to this.

Cons: Riddled with errors, no editing to speak of, community fund-raising cookbooks more professional and useful

The Bottom Line: Absolute trash -- amateur vanity publishing riddled with errors and absurdities, some potentially dangerous. Avoid unless you're in need of a cruel but hearty laugh.

You may enjoy this book for a wee while; keep your eye on recycling bins in your neighbourhood for it. Even the illustrations, which are completely gratuitous, are a laugh riot -- reminiscent of what people doodled while bored in grade six; no sense of perspective with a bizarre indecision between a cartoonish style and a realistic one. (And each one, true to its immature style, is signed and dated, no matter how trivial. One is tempted to write and ask if it is possible to purchase original artwork from the book and await what I'm sure would be a serious reply.)

This does the world of self-publishing no favours. 'Zine publishers are far more skilled with desktop publishing, anybody able to design a book cover should also know which way up apostrophes are normally placed, and... It's a disaster as a book. I admit to not having counted, but there aren't 6 001 hints -- there are incessant duplications, some verbatim, some not, and then some contradictory "facts."

Reading through it, I was snooty enough to rely on my own judgment to denounce it as so error-riddled as to be dangerous (this is true; there are some "hints" that are mostly invitations to botulism). For the purposes of this review, I checked what I'd denounced with at least two sources, the primary ones being Hering's Dictionary of Classical and Modern Cookery, an exhaustive summary of 16 000 receipts and cooking styles with a primarily European/Old World slant, and Barron's The New Food Lover's Companion, 2nd edition, "comprehensive definitions of over 4 000 food, wine and culinary terms," a more modernised and Americanised reference. (Persons in the habit of giving me seasonal gifts should note that I lack a Larousse Gastronomique. Though any generic cookbook and a mediocre reference dictionary would be sufficient to trash "Dr" Myles H. Bader's food "facts.")

At no point does the sub-literate tone of the book stop interfering with its content. Inconsistent confusion with your/you're, it's/its and "its'" and other grammatical errors that should have been corrected in...grammar school do not let up. "Breath" is confused with "breathe" and vice versa. ("Vice versa" turns into "visa versa" in the book.) I tried to figure out what was going on. It does not seem to be a problem of dyslexia. Or ESL; growing up bordering Quebec and being, like most of my peers, bilingual but not very good at it, I am used to the written quirks of people who did not grow up with English as a first language. This is almost surely not the case here. Do not be fooled by the "Dr" preceding the author's name; it is possible to get through university without real literacy. People like Myles Bader offered me a bit of extra spending money in school: you-know-who edited, if not wrote, their papers. Feigning literacy is not always as difficult as it seems.

This is not just relentless pedantry (granted, it is that as well, but); a good number of the hints are rendered unintelligible thanks to the mangled language. There is scarcely a single chemical spelled correctly -- watch out for that "glycynhizic acid" in licorice! -- hardly useful if you want more information on the topic. "Effect" and "affect" are confused; "efficiency" replaces "efficacy." This is disastrous when he tries to impart medical information; mind what he says about antibiotics at your peril. Some of the information is not only unexplained (no sources are given with the "facts") but inexplicable:

Colas have a higher physiological dependence than smoking and alcohol and is harder to give up.

'Colas is harder' to quit than smoking -- a curious assertion. On supermarkets:

Most weekend specials start midweek.

At this point one starts to wonder if the same illiteracy that prevents Bader from writing clearly also prevents him from understanding what he reads. I have already taken a shot at him for the absurd ego required to put this sort of trash on the market, and it appears he really is a jerk. On restaurants:

If you have a question regarding substitutions, talk to the manager directly and don't deal with the waitress.

No explanation is given for this admonition to be rude, and how the manager enters into it, I have no idea; the business is with you, the server, and the cook. Being vegetarian and (by odd coincidence) having a lot of vegetarian friends, and having worked in a restaurant and (as most people probably do) having friends who have or do work in the restaurant industry, I am far too familiar with asking for substitutions. I would sink into the ground if dining with somebody who insisted on seeing the manager to find out if a dish could be made with mushrooms in lieu of ham, etc. He would also have you "ask for a straw for all beverages served in a glass." I don't think Bader spends much time in restaurants most people like to eat in.

I also don't think he eats very much or very well. Years ago I came across a little snippet in the news about how the majority of people had approximately eight dishes that they stuck with for any given meal, and rarely if ever deviated from these relatively few selections. This struck me as a bit odd, but, looking around, it seems to be true. Despite a lot of kitchen experimentation, I am prone to sticking with a relatively small number of familiar dishes when lazy. If nutritionally balanced this is fine, but definitely not for people writing massive tomes about food.

Offensively, there is an appendix -- labelled "Appendix A" even though it is the only one -- on "Food Terminology." It makes for bizarre reading. He does manage to get "chop" -- "to cut foods into pieces, large or small" -- correct, but stumbles even with "cream" -- "to blend shortening and sugar against the sides of a bowl or with a beater until creamy" -- and then botches every more obscure term he runs into. Fifteen pages of terminology should not try to run the gamut from "dice" to "bigarade," especially when "bigarade" has not been previously mentioned, and he has no idea what it means.

This is at least consistent with the disaster that is the book as far as "facts" go. In Bader's world, vermicelli is "also called spaghetti." He is almost criminal with disinformation and misleading entries; under "toxic teas": jimsonweed, whose side effects often include "death," is listed alongside senna, which is a fairly standard-issue laxative. Yet jimsonweed's effects are only "blurred vision problems, hallucinations." It is toxic, and has no antidote, but Bader makes it sound like it might be a fun time, or at least better than a senna ("may cause diarrhea") tea.

By "Chapter 39: Vegetarian Facts" one is more than ready to note that the paper is at least soft, and that the book belongs next to the toilet for emergency use when out of bog roll. He has desperately confused "vegan" and "vegetarian," believes a "pesco-vegetarian" diet includes not just fish but chicken, and...

Most vegetarian foods contain too much sodium. When preparing vegetarian foods, try to omit the soy sauce which seems to be the high sodium source.

???

Though, thankfully, a "fact" is that "they" have "a lower overall incidence of cancer." I have never heard this before, and suspect it would be much, much more widely advertised if it had been proven. Still, judge for yourself how much of "6001 Food Facts and Chef's Secrets" you would like to mind. (I have not managed to review the "chef's secrets" since I found none. The advice was what you might offer to a small child assisting in the kitchen: cut things in equal sizes so they'll cook at the same rate, rinse off overly salted items, or just plain silly: use an electric knife to cut sandwiches so the filling doesn't spill out...?)

It is best not to eat potato skins in any form.

Shredded grapefruit will be a great addition to any fish salad.

Blueberries and blackberries are better if cooked...

To save leftover wines, freeze them in your ice cube trays.

Place a hot dog in plastic wrap, then put it into a thermos of soup or coffee.

A small amount of baking soda applied to your armpits will replace your deodorant.

Butter stores in the refrigerator for only two weeks.

A peanut butter sandwich without jelly will last for 2-3 days without refrigeration.

Reindeer meat should be avoided if imported from Finland due to radiation contamination as a result of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

One of the easiest ways to singe a fowl is to saturate a wad of cotton with rubbing alcohol. Place it on the end of a short wire, and light it. This will never leave any black marks.

Recommended:
No

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