Bookmarked How to Cook Without Recipes by Glynn Christian (Portico)

Gone are the days when cooking skills were handed down through the family. Recipes, which were originally memory aids, have become a set of measures and rules to follow slavishly, whether we understand them or not. And while people have been inspired by up-beat and accessible celeb chefs, they're nearly all restaurant chefs rather than home cooks. The art of cooking, in short, has been lost. How to Cook Without Recipes is all about setting the home cook free. This wonderful little book will teach you to understand the recipes you follow, why they sometimes go wrong, and how to cook independently to make better use of them and invent their own. Glynn Christian begins by taking the reader on a fascinating journey through the history of recipes, and explains how a useful aide memoire became a set of shackles for would be cooks. He explains how to learn to taste, and to understand what ingredients go together, giving you the tools to create your own recipes. And if you still insist on using your cook books, he explains how to 'read' the recipes of the big names where you should take notice of them, and where you should do your own thing. How to Cook Recipes A cook book, in every sense, with taste.

Book cover of How to Cook Without Recipes

Referred to by Peter Hertzmann in a paper about food communication.

Bookmarked Introduction to Statistical Learning with Applications in R by Gareth James, Daniela Witten, Trevor Hastie and Robert Tibshirani (faculty.marshall.usc.edu)

This book provides an introduction to statistical learning methods. It is aimed for upper level undergraduate students, masters students and Ph.D. students in the non-mathematical sciences. The book also contains a number of R labs with detailed explanations on how to implement the various methods in real life settings, and should be a valuable resource for a practicing data scientist.

For a more advanced treatment of these topics: The Elements of Statistical Learning.

Slides and videos for Statistical Learning MOOC by Hastie and Tibshirani available separately here. Slides and video tutorials related to this book by Abass Al Sharif can be downloaded here.

book cover

I’ll note that the author has a downloadable .pdf copy of his text on his site.

Bookmarked Understanding Concept Modeling by Winston Perez (conceptmodeling.com)
Ideas and concepts are different. In fact, they operate in two separate, radically different worlds that few have been taught to distinguish. One carries the “surface layer” and “whole” of the idea. The other, deeper layer carries essence, the structure of essence. and the activity of essence. Concept Modeling is about the art, science and philosophy that is concept. It is the missing discipline and here is the place to learn about that discovery made on February 6, 1989 by Winston Perez.
Bookmarked Food As Power: an Alternative View by Jeremy Cherfas (ARROW@TU Dublin)
Abstract:

Lost, sometimes, in the more metaphorical interpretations of food and power is the basic crudity of food as stored energy. Muscles turn the chemical energy stored in food into mechanical energy, which enables work to be done. Power is the rate of doing work. Food, literally, is a store of power. In the wake of World War Two, Europe faced a shortage of coal and oil, the two most important sources of chemical energy that threatened to gum up the transport of goods from place to place. There was, however, no shortage of unemployed men. Geoffrey Pyke, the quintessential British boffin, pointed out that people are actually much more efficient than steam engines at converting chemical energy to mechanical energy. Pyke’s proposal, that trains could be moved by cyclo-tractors, locomotives powered by the muscular effort of twenty to thirty men, themselves powered by sugar, went nowhere. The paper looks at the background to Pyke’s proposal, its reception at the time and the future of food-powered machinery.

🔖 50 Ways to Cook a Carrot by Peter Hertzmann

Bookmarked 50 Ways to Cook a Carrot by Peter Hertzmann (Prospect Books)

Book cover featuring carrots

Peter Hertzmann's mission is simple - to make as many people as possible realise that if you can manage 50 ways of cooking one simple ingredient - the carrot - you can cook almost any dish, and cook it to perfection.

Every method presented in this book is approachable for both novice cooks and those with many years’ experience. He gives prescriptive advice, such as the salt concentration for pickling a carrot should be 3%, but his book is easy to put into action in the kitchen.

Some of the methods:

Simple slices — Matchsticks, julienne, or bâtonnets — Dicing — Roll cut — Grating carrots — Mandolins — Juicing carrots — Blending carrots — Immersion blenders — Processing carrots —

Making sauerkraut — A new-fangled pickling container — Salt fermented carrots — Miso-pickled carrots — Acid fermentation — Keeping pickles crisp — Acid fermented carrot pickles — Determining liquid quantity — Salt for acid pickling — Sugar for pickling — Pickling spices — Processing acid-fermented carrots

Modern, sous-vide cooking — Why sous-vide cooking works— Set-up your equipment — Choose your bag — Prepare your carrots — Cook your carrots

Peter Hertzmann is a passionate cook, and educator on food cooking, with years of teaching to his name. He is a professionally trained cook, completing ‘stage’ placements in several high end restaurants in France, then worked in restaurants, and produced complicated seven course menus as part of a team over many years. He has taught in prisons and colleges of further education. Peter lives in the USA and is a regular contributor to the Oxford Symposium on Food.

This should be released in mid-January 2020 in the United States. I can’t wait!

🔖 Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

Bookmarked Things Fall Apart (The African Trilogy, #1) by Chinua Achebe (Penguin Books)

Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read

Things Fall Apart
 is the first of three novels in Chinua Achebe's critically acclaimed African Trilogy. It is a classic narrative about Africa's cataclysmic encounter with Europe as it establishes a colonial presence on the continent. Told through the fictional experiences of Okonkwo, a wealthy and fearless Igbo warrior of Umuofia in the late 1800s, Things Fall Apart explores one man's futile resistance to the devaluing of his Igbo traditions by British political andreligious forces and his despair as his community capitulates to the powerful new order.

With more than 20 million copies sold and translated into fifty-seven languages, Things Fall Apart provides one of the most illuminating and permanent monuments to African experience. Achebe does not only capture life in a pre-colonial African village, he conveys the tragedy of the loss of that world while broadening our understanding of our contemporary realities.

h/t to Greg McVerry who mentioned it in passing.

🔖 Mind and Memory Training by Ernest Egerton Wood

Bookmarked Mind and Memory Training by Ernest Egerton Wood (Theosophical Pub. House (Reprint by Occult Research Press))

Saw a reference to this obscure memory text from the 50’s on the Art of Memory Forum. Looks interesting to check out for the state of the art then, particularly in comparison to Bruno Furst’s work, and who could resist the quirky book covers for this and its reprints?

🔖 Everyday Chaos: Technology, Complexity, and How We’re Thriving in a New World of Possibility by David Weinberger

Bookmarked Everyday Chaos: Technology, Complexity, and How We’re Thriving in a New World of Possibility by David WeinbergerDavid Weinberger (Amazon)

Make. More. Future.

Artificial intelligence, big data, modern science, and the internet are all revealing a fundamental truth: The world is vastly more complex and unpredictable than we've allowed ourselves to see.

Now that technology is enabling us to take advantage of all the chaos it's revealing, our understanding of how things happen is changing--and with it our deepest strategies for predicting, preparing for, and managing our world. This affects everything, from how we approach our everyday lives to how we make moral decisions and how we run our businesses.

Take machine learning, which makes better predictions about weather, medical diagnoses, and product performance than we do--but often does so at the expense of our understanding of how it arrived at those predictions. While this can be dangerous, accepting it is also liberating, for it enables us to harness the complexity of an immense amount of data around us. We are also turning to strategies that avoid anticipating the future altogether, such as A/B testing, Minimum Viable Products, open platforms, and user-modifiable video games. We even take for granted that a simple hashtag can organize unplanned, leaderless movements such as .

Through stories from history, business, and technology, philosopher and technologist David Weinberger finds the unifying truths lying below the surface of the tools we take for granted--and a future in which our best strategy often requires holding back from anticipating and instead creating as many possibilities as we can. The book’s imperative for business and beyond is simple: Make. More. Future.

The result is a world no longer focused on limitations but optimized for possibilities.

h/t Triangulation

Bookmarked How History Gets Things Wrong: The Neuroscience of Our Addiction to Stories by Alex Rosenberg (The MIT Press)

Why we learn the wrong things from narrative history, and how our love for stories is hard-wired.

To understand something, you need to know its history. Right? Wrong, says Alex Rosenberg in How History Gets Things Wrong. Feeling especially well-informed after reading a book of popular history on the best-seller list? Don't. Narrative history is always, always wrong. It's not just incomplete or inaccurate but deeply wrong, as wrong as Ptolemaic astronomy. We no longer believe that the earth is the center of the universe. Why do we still believe in historical narrative? Our attachment to history as a vehicle for understanding has a long Darwinian pedigree and a genetic basis. Our love of stories is hard-wired. Neuroscience reveals that human evolution shaped a tool useful for survival into a defective theory of human nature.

Stories historians tell, Rosenberg continues, are not only wrong but harmful. Israel and Palestine, for example, have dueling narratives of dispossession that prevent one side from compromising with the other. Henry Kissinger applied lessons drawn from the Congress of Vienna to American foreign policy with disastrous results. Human evolution improved primate mind reading―the ability to anticipate the behavior of others, whether predators, prey, or cooperators―to get us to the top of the African food chain. Now, however, this hard-wired capacity makes us think we can understand history―what the Kaiser was thinking in 1914, why Hitler declared war on the United States―by uncovering the narratives of what happened and why. In fact, Rosenberg argues, we will only understand history if we don't make it into a story.

hat tip Jeff Jarvis.

🔖 An Introduction to Complex Systems: Making Sense of a Changing World​ | Joseph V. Tranquillo | Springer

Bookmarked An Introduction to Complex Systems: Making Sense of a Changing World​ by Joseph V. Tranquillo (Springer)
This book explores the interdisciplinary field of complex systems theory. By the end of the book, readers will be able to understand terminology that is used in complex systems and how they are related to one another; see the patterns of complex systems in practical examples; map current topics, in a variety of fields, to complexity theory; and be able to read more advanced literature in the field. The book begins with basic systems concepts and moves on to how these simple rules can lead to complex behavior. The author then introduces non-linear systems, followed by pattern formation, and networks and information flow in systems. Later chapters cover the thermodynamics of complex systems, dynamical patterns that arise in networks, and how game theory can serve as a framework for decision making. The text is interspersed with both philosophical and quantitative arguments, and each chapter ends with questions and prompts that help readers make more connections.

🔖 How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States by Daniel Immerwahr

Bookmarked How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States by Daniel ImmerwahrDaniel Immerwahr (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

A pathbreaking history of the United States’ overseas possessions and the true meaning of its empire

We are familiar with maps that outline all fifty states. And we are also familiar with the idea that the United States is an “empire,” exercising power around the world. But what about the actual territories―the islands, atolls, and archipelagos―this country has governed and inhabited?

In How to Hide an Empire, Daniel Immerwahr tells the fascinating story of the United States outside the United States. In crackling, fast-paced prose, he reveals forgotten episodes that cast American history in a new light. We travel to the Guano Islands, where prospectors collected one of the nineteenth century’s most valuable commodities, and the Philippines, site of the most destructive event on U.S. soil. In Puerto Rico, Immerwahr shows how U.S. doctors conducted grisly experiments they would never have conducted on the mainland and charts the emergence of independence fighters who would shoot up the U.S. Congress.

In the years after World War II, Immerwahr notes, the United States moved away from colonialism. Instead, it put innovations in electronics, transportation, and culture to use, devising a new sort of influence that did not require the control of colonies. Rich with absorbing vignettes, full of surprises, and driven by an original conception of what empire and globalization mean today, How to Hide an Empire is a major and compulsively readable work of history.

hat tip: On the Media: Empire State of Mind

📑 Case Studies and Theory Development in the Social Sciences (my reading notes) | Raul Pacheco-Vega, PhD

Annotated Case Studies and Theory Development in the Social Sciences (my reading notes) by Raul Pacheco-VegaRaul Pacheco-Vega (raulpacheco.org)
While I would say that Alexander L. George and Andrew Bennett’s book “Case Studies and Theory Development in the Social Sciences“, is neither a new book nor an old one (it was published in 2004), it is definitely a classic and a must-read. Moreover, I’m a comparativist, and someone who undertakes systematic case study comparisons, so George and Bennett’s book is definitely my go-to when I want to revise my research strategy.   

Acquired Apostle: Travels Among the Tombs of the Twelve by Tom Bissell

Acquired Apostle: Travels Among the Tombs of the Twelve by Tom Bissell (Faber & Faber (2016))
The story of Twelve Apostles is the story of early Christianity: its competing versions of Jesus’s ministry, its countless schisms, and its ultimate evolution from an obscure Jewish sect to the global faith we know today in all its forms and permutations. In his quest to understand the underpinnings of the world’s largest religion, Tom Bissell embarks on a years-long pilgrimage to the apostles’ supposed tombs, traveling from Jerusalem and Rome to Turkey, Greece, Spain, France, India, and Kyrgyzstan. Along the way, Bissell uncovers the mysterious and often paradoxical lives of these twelve men and how their identities have taken shape over the course of two millennia. Written with empathy and a rare acumen—and often extremely funny—Apostle is an intellectual, spiritual, and personal adventure fit for believers, scholars, and wanderers alike.

Purchased at UCLA Store for $6.99+tax

Acquired The Witches, Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff

Acquired The Witches, Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff (Little, Brown and Company)

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Cleopatra, the #1 national bestseller, unpacks the mystery of the Salem Witch Trials.

It began in 1692, over an exceptionally raw Massachusetts winter, when a minister's daughter began to scream and convulse. It ended less than a year later, but not before 19 men and women had been hanged and an elderly man crushed to death. 

The panic spread quickly, involving the most educated men and prominent politicians in the colony. Neighbors accused neighbors, parents and children each other. Aside from suffrage, the Salem Witch Trials represent the only moment when women played the central role in American history. In curious ways, the trials would shape the future republic.

As psychologically thrilling as it is historically seminal, THE WITCHES is Stacy Schiff's account of this fantastical story-the first great American mystery unveiled fully for the first time by one of our most acclaimed historians.

Purchased at UCLA Store for $8.99+tax