Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

>This is also a great of example of how really smart people with deep knowledge in one domain can totally fail real-world skills.

This is a common sentiment, but what I think isn't so common is to observe that the "real world" is a euphemism for domains where people do not share and preserve accurate information in an easily digestible fashion. It's not really more "real", it's defined in my opinion by being more hostile to copying as mis/disinformation protects social roles.

My opinion is foremost in my mind from spending a lot of time practicing cooking rice, browning meat, and working on my car since "social distancing" has been a thing.

If you're curious enough to read a 900 page book containing very accurate information about the specific processes that occur when preparing most foods then On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee[0] is the book for you. It's not for everyone but I give you my guarantee as an internet stranger that you'll love it.

[0] https://www.amazon.com/Food-Cooking-Science-Lore-Kitchen/dp/...

Thanks, I may.

I have "Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking" and was unimpressed. The idea of thinking in ratios is useful, but not the oversimplification to a few prototypes. You could look at a recipe as something with a whole bunch of ratios and valid ranges, and document the effects of variation and so on. It would be a much bigger book and not "this little volume contains all the secrets to everything".

Edit: by the way, what is with the Amazon pricing? Hardcover is $25; "mass market paperback", new is $901! Not to mention, the featured hardcover price is noticeably more than the specific new hardcover price of $20.

Amazon sellers use a lot of automated bots which automatically adjust their prices in apparent competition with each other [1]. You can find used copies of rare books that are priced at thousands of dollars. In this particular case, you're looking at a Chinese edition, which is presumably out of print.

On Food and Cooking is a fantastic book, by the way. A real classic that every food enthusiast should have on their shelf. I recommend the hardcover version.

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/15/technology/amazon-used-pa...

I wasn't quite as unimpressed with ratio as you seem to have been, but I do think that there is really enough information there for a pamphlet not a complete book. Being able to think of doughs and batters as a state-space of flour/fat/liquid is conceptually useful. In general you might pick up on this from experience cooking, but it's rarely elucidated.

> "real world" is a euphemism

True. I think it is easy to fall into that trap, which after consideration is what I've sort of done.

That's an interesting view about it being hostile to copying. I suppose it often is because it needs practical experience. I often hear that "real world" term used to prop up the status of uneducated people by making their knowledge seem superior and inaccessible to educated people since they can't compete on conventional valuable knowledge such as scientific, engineering, or business.

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact