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The 4-Hour Chef – The Coolest Cookbook I’ve Ever Read

“Life is short, life is temporary, maybe this is a little morbid, but over the years I have had close friends pass away. Time is short on this planet, the best way to get the most enjoyment out of life is to increase your ability to learn, sharpen the saw and learn as much as you can and teach others how to learn too.”

These were the closing thoughts from my conversation with Tim Ferriss, the author of the coolest cookbook I’ve ever seen or read called The 4-Hour Chef… I know this is a bold statement coming from me, being an organic living enthusiast and considering the fact this cookbook contains all sorts of tactics that are not Food Babe approved! (When you get to the chapter with the “Vermonter” you will know what I mean). Am I biased about Tim’s writing? Well – in short you probably could say I am. I’m absolutely fascinated and an avid practitioner of the principles in his previous books 4-Hour Work Week and 4-Hour Body. I’ve bought countless copies to give to friends and family and continue to do so. The unconventional wisdom Tim teaches us is so freaking powerful (do hear my enthusiasm yet?), one that I adhere to and wish more people would embrace.

Through his best selling books, Tim demonstrates to us why we only need to know the most important 2.5% about any topic in order to get 95% of the results we want. People always wonder how I can travel the world, maintain a full-time job, follow through on my passion for food activism and live a healthy lifestyle all at the same time… Using Tim’s methodology of living life now has given me the life I want without the sacrifice. Now imagine – if you can do this too and learn anything you want (including how to cook) without the painstaking time it typically takes to master a new skill … this what Tim shares with us in his new book.

Tim purposely designed The 4-Hour Chef to be more than just a cookbook, “It’s a guide for learning, this is the cookbook for people who don’t buy cookbooks.” Tim figured out why most people put down a cookbook at the bookstore, and designed his book accordingly. The book is meant to be read like an encyclopedia – picking up and reading chapters as you wish or by “choosing your own adventure” like Tim likes to call it. I love the fact that he intentionally included a guide to buying produce to teach people how to safely choose organic foods vs. conventional. Tim expressed to me why this was so important – there are “so many ways to be conned” at the grocery store and “42 different pesticides on average can be found on the dirty dozen list.” I couldn’t agree more and hope to see more cookbooks take the time to explain how to buy produce organically. He emphasizes the fact “You are what you eat, and what you ate, ate.” Being a supporter of local and small food producers, Tim believes the “unregulated production of food is extremely dangerous” especially considering the “use of antibiotics in meat production.”

I asked Tim when was the last time he ate fast food. He had a hard time remembering when – but said “there is no Chez Panisse Express in the airport” and spending extra money by ordering off the menu or asking for extra vegetables while traveling should be considered your “six-pack tax or cellulite on-the-ass tax.” I couldn’t help but chuckle at this statement – but he’s right, eating well may cost you more, but is totally worth it.

As I read through the book, I found out Tim and I have way too many things in common – the love of eating exotic dishes while traveling, Francis Mallmann (The chef behind 1884, which is my favorite restaurant in the whole world), Flour + Water in San Fran, ABC Kitchen in NYC, fascination with sharks, and our favorite edible flower “nasturtium” (which I found out his girlfriend introduced to him) – the list goes on. But this is not why I think this is the coolest cookbook ever written. It’s cool because Tim deconstructed a very valuable skill – cooking – and makes it available to all of us in a fun, interactive and amusing way. Reading Tim’s books has always left me with a grin on my face – they are wildly entertaining.

Asking Tim what chef he would like to have dinner with the most, he first explained to me the difference between a “Celebrity Chef,” and a “Chef Celebrity” – the latter being more valuable because they became famous after being a chef. He thought for a minute and said Jamie Oliver would be his pick. Good choice!

Many of the recipes Tim included in The 4-Hour Chef are adapted from very famous chefs and various notable people from around the world. One recipe I am excited to make this week is David Blaine’s (the Magician) daily morning juice. Also, there are recipes that Tim accredits he learned from other life hackers – like this one – called the “Eggocado,” which I jumped at the chance to make as soon as I read about this idea in his book.

All you have to do is whip one egg with a little salt, pepper, chili powder, lime juice and zest and pour it in each half of an avocado and bake it at 425 degrees for 16-18 mins. What turns out, is a creamy, decadent way to enjoy an egg and avocado at the same time. I chose to devour mine on top of a bed of arugula. Brilliant, just brilliant. I never would have thought about baking an avocado.

Originally I had planned to be in San Francisco and meet Tim in person, but I had to change my travel plans to make time for Mississippi. Luckily, I still had the exciting opportunity to meet Tim over an hour long video skype session to discuss his new book. At the end of our conversation, he wanted to make sure I mention he is offering you the chance to speak to him as well.

For anyone who buys 3 copies of The 4-Hour Chef on Amazon, he is conducting a 2 hour exclusive live Q&A session. Tim says he plans on opening up a bottle of wine and answering what ever questions he is asked…It should be a riot!

All you need to do is send your Amazon receipt to [email protected] to get the invitation.

I’ve already bought a few extra copies today to give out as gifts… The 4-Hour Chef makes a beautiful present – the (~1500) photos are incredible.

I’m so curious, what’s the coolest cookbook you’ve ever read?

Food Babe

P.S. Be sure to check out Tim’s “Health Boosters” on Dr. Oz (which aired today). Tim shares some incredible tips that I’m using tonight to cook dinner!

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26 responses to “The 4-Hour Chef – The Coolest Cookbook I’ve Ever Read

  1. this is very cool and exciting…can’t wait to read these books! thank you again for all the information you put out there and HAPPY THANKSGIVING to you all and all your family.

  2. The coolest cookbook/nutrition book i read was Plan-D The amazing anti-diet that will change your life forever by Dee McCaffrey, CDC. This woman lost 100 pounds in 12 months by taking all processed food out of her diet. She has a great story and i think you will enjoy her book. This book has change the way i eat and see food…especially processed/junk food.

  3. I will certainly take a look at his cook book for myself and a few family members. I’m normally not a cook book person but this sounds very interesting. I’m just not a “follow the recipe” kind of cook unless I’m baking and then……maybe 🙂 I’m always looking for new ideas and tips to keep things creative in the kitchen.

  4. the coolest cookbook i ever read and still have and keep rereading is…Ten Talents…The seventh day adventists put it out ..Not really being into organized religions I read it anyways…It is so cool and definately the way to eat….

  5. Oh yeah .I am in Canada so have a really great thanksgiving holiday and thanx for all the interesting and exciting articles you write

  6. Vani, your writing is almost as beautiful as you, which is a helluva high bar.

    My concern about baking avocados and egg yolks is that heat damages the fatty acids, although avocado fat is mostly monounsaturated, which is more heat-stable than polyunsaturated. I make this negative comment only because you are committed to spreading truth, and believe this bad news to be true. I’d cook fatty foods as a treat, not a frequent practice.

    As always, thanks for the book recommendation.

    1. Peter – Thanks for the compliment… I’ve never thought of myself as a writer, it doesn’t come easy for me at all. I learned english from my two immigrant parents and I am constantly made fun of for my grammar.

      Thanks for pointing the fact out about cooking avocado. I was a little skeptical about this before I tried it too… looking for research on the topic, I couldn’t find anything concrete and decided to try it anyways because it looked so neat …

      1. I see no errors in your grammar. Perhaps your teasers are desperate to find something about you to tease. Pity the jealous less-fortunate.

  7. Hi Food Babe!

    Can’t wait to buy The 4-Hour Chef! Sounds fabulous!!
    Another excellent cookook is Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon Morell with Mary G. Enig Ph.D.

    Quite probable that you’ve got this one, but if not, it’s awesome too! She refers to yesterday’s nutritionists as politically correct nutritionists and ‘Diet Dictocrats’. Love it! Jamie O. gives it ‘two thumbs up’!
    Thanks, Food Babe! I so look forward to your emails….keep ’em comin’!
    Diane Smith

  8. I saw his segment on Dr Oz last night, hubby was really intrigued too:). I’m buying at least one for myself! I think I have 1/2 an avocado totally making for breakfast!
    So love reading your posts/blog!
    Thank you for your time!

  9. Hi Vani,
    I really enjoy your website! Thank you for sharing your insight. I was wondering if you have heaerd anything about men who have a higher risk of prostate cancer (family history) should decrease their intake of linoleic acid or omega 6 fatty acids (chia seeds, flax)? Supposedly they can increase the risk of prostate cancer. I would appreciate any insight you might have

    Right now I am enjoying Natural Lifestyle Cooking by Ernestine Finley. Everything I make is very tasty

  10. I’d seen the avocado egg bake once before but yours looks tastier – think I’ll try it this weekend! I too love Jamie Oliver because of his efforts to teach kids and families to eat more healthily )my passion these days 🙂 )

  11. I LOVE the 4 Hour Work Week and even held a seminar for my employees using the principals so I am certain I would love this book too! 🙂

  12. Food Babe!

    Thank you so much for the very kind words, and it was great chatting with you!

    Wishing you and yours all the best for 2013 🙂


  13. I love avocados. Their fat is very stable at high temperatures. I buy avocado oil (pricey but great) for things that need high temps. No smoke.

    My favorite cookbook ever was The Grains Cookbook by Bert Greene. He was a man with a true sense of flavor… an artist with ingredients. Not fancy, but flavorful. It has one chapter on each grain, and stories to go along with each chapter. What a storyteller!

    I learned a lot from the book… I had never heard of quinoa before, or amaranth. I didn’t know much about most grains. Recipes I’ve repeated often from the book were an amazing pumpkin cornbread and a tuna coleslaw with caraway seeds and wild rice. Seriously wonderful.

    It’s dated 1988 but it can be found through – (He also put out a book called Greene on Greens which intrigues me.)

  14. Hi Vani,
    We spoke at the Food and Water Watch meeting a few weeks back. I mentioned the 4-hour work week and you brought up an additional book that was along the same lines. I can’t remember what it was to save my life 🙂 Please help! Thanks, Meredith.

  15. I follow your suggestions with fervor! Now I’d like a suggestion: a great cookbook to give as a gift to a young couple with young (toddlers) children. Need to get these kids off to a great start in life:) Is the 4-hour Chef your recommendation or is there another that ‘speaks’ to feeding children?

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