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Food and Drink

"The 4-Hour Chef" by Tim Ferriss: The Education of a Culinary Idiot

FerrissNew from #1 New York Times best-selling author Timothy Ferriss, The 4-Hour Chef isn’t just a cookbook. It’s a choose-your-own-adventure guide to the world of rapid learning.

A lifelong non-cook, Ferriss takes you from Manhattan to Okinawa, Silicon Valley to Calcutta, unearthing the secrets of the world’s fastest learners and greatest chefs. He uses cooking to explain “meta-learning,” a step-by-step process that can be used to master anything, whether you're searing a steak or shooting three-pointers. That is the real “recipe” of The 4-Hour Chef.

Featuring tips and tricks from chess prodigies, world-renowned chefs, professional athletes, master sommeliers, supermodels, and everyone in between, this “cookbook for people who don’t buy cookbooks” is a guide to mastering cooking and life.

Here's an excerpt to give you a taste of what Tim Ferriss is cooking.

1979, AGE TWO
I eat my first handful of crickets à la front yard. Life is good.

As a rat-tailed townie in East Hampton, New York, I work at high-priced restaurants catering to the rich and famous. For every Billy Joel who smiles and tips $20 for coffee, there are 20 wannabes with popped collars asking, “Do you know who I am?” I learn to hate restaurants and, by extension, cooking.

To avoid starvation, I buy my first microwave.

Subsisting on microwavable Lean Cuisines, I start watching the Food Network for one to two hours a night to decompress from my startup. Half-asleep one evening, I overhear Bobby Flay say, “Take risks, and you’ll get the payoffs. Learn from your mistakes until you succeed. It’s that simple.” I type this up and put it on my desk for moral support during moments of self-doubt. There will be many.

The 4-Hour Workweek
is published after being turned down by 26 publishers. I’m still enjoying the Food Network six years later, but I still haven’t made a single dish.

My friend Jesse Jacobs, a former sous-chef, wants to catch up on business and insists we cook dinner at my place. I respond that he’ll cook and I’ll handle wine. Pointing at the large Le Creuset pot he brought, he starts us off:

“Put in the veggies and potatoes. No need to cut them.” Ten seconds later, check.
“Pour in some olive oil and salt and pepper, and mix everything around.” Ten seconds later, check.
“Now put them in the oven.” Check.
“We’re done."

I can’t believe it. “That’s it?” I ask, incredulous.

It’s one of the most delicious meals I’ve had in years. Inspired, I decide to give cooking another chance.

JUNE 2010
Overwhelmed by contradictory advice, poorly organized cookbooks, and unhelpful instructions (e.g., “cook until done”), I throw in the towel yet again.

APRIL 2011
I meet my girlfriend, Natasha, who learned how to cook by imitating her grandmother. She decides to teach me how:

“Smell this. Now smell this. Do they go together?”
“No. Gross.”
“OK, now smell this and this. Do they go together?”
“Great. That’s cooking.”

I commit to writing a book on learning, using cooking as a vehicle. Fun! My girlfriend can help!

Over the course of one week, I ask my girlfriend “Is this basil?” 20 times. I want to punch myself in the face 20 times. Crisis of meaning. Revisit Bobby Flay quote.

In a hotel in Chicago, I replicate a two-Michelin-star entrée (sea bass, Ibérico ham, watercress, butter, and olive oil) in my hotel bathroom sink with next to nothing: scalding-hot tap water, Ziploc bags, and a cheap Polder thermometer. All is not lost.

I hit the inflection point. At the Polaris Grill in Bellevue, Washington, I am suddenly able to see food in HD—as if someone had handed me prescription glasses and corrected lifelong blurred vision. I can clearly “see” paring through taste and smell, I can tell if the steak is 100% grass-fed or grain-finished, I correctly guess the origins of the Dungeness crab and the wine and the cooking methods for the scallops and pork chops. The waiter asks if I’m a chef (answer: no), and the executive chef comes out to introduce himself. It is otherworldly.

NOVEMBER 24, 2011
I cook Thanksgiving dinner for four people. Graduation day. As a lifelong non-cook, I feel on top of the world.

I start eating crickets again, this time roasted. I’ve rediscovered the wonder of food…and the childlike curiosity I thought I’d lost.

—Timothy Ferriss

The 4-Hour Chef is now available on Kindle and in print.

Guest Blogger: Eric Asimov, on "How to Love Wine"

How to Love WineEric Asimov is the chief wine critic of the New York Times, where his weekly column appears in the Dining section. He is also the author of, How to Love Wine.

Many Americans consider wine to be something reserved solely for special occasions – dinner parties, a religious observance, maybe to lift up a Saturday night. Nothing’s wrong with that. If you rarely drink wine, a bottle with a meal will always signal the extraordinary nature of the moment. But for me, no meal is complete without wine. I think of it as a staple, as necessary to my dinner table as bread or salt.

In that sense, I like to think of wine as something that’s thoroughly ordinary, as unremarkable as the container of grapefruit juice always in my refrigerator door. No doubt this sounds a trifle deflating, and perhaps at odds with the reams of literature that have made the case for wine’s wondrous qualities. But only by coming to think of wine as customary fare can one truly grasp what makes it exceptional.

Indeed, the things that seem to set wine apart – the cost, for one thing, along with the connoisseurship it invites and, of course, the alcohol – all argue for the pedestal that seems to accompany every bottle. That pedestal grows even higher when you throw in the unfortunate custom of wine magazines to rate each bottle on the 100-point scale, and the ostentatious descriptions meant to convey what’s inside. Add the burden of lifestyle – an emblem of gracious living? a symbol of status? – and you can see how quickly wine loses its quotidian sense.

Yet, it’s precisely the daily, humdrum exposure to wine that strips away the hype and reveals exactly the qualities that in turn make it so singular a beverage.

It’s not the complexity, the myriad aromas or the flavors that so transport the authors of tasting notes. At least, not at first. The crucial point about good wine, even in its more humble forms, is the way it improves what it touches. When it has a place on the nightly dinner table, the combination of good wine and good food achieves a synchronicity that is far more than the sum of its parts. Wine is convivial, contributing to warmth and congeniality among family and friends around the table. It’s even, in moderate quantities, quite healthy.

When you are used to having wine on the table night after night, it quickly loses the scary ability to cause anxiety. Instead, it becomes familiar, friendly and inviting.

I’d like to make a pitch for the ordinary wine. By ordinary I certainly don’t mean mediocre. I mean great wines that are comfortable in their modesty, ensemble players that do not require the spotlight. These wines fade into the tableau of the table, yet they excel as well, not by dominating a meal but by effortlessly harmonizing with it. These wines do not demand attention, yet they seamlessly enhance any meal. They don’t cost a lot, and they can be consumed nightly.

In this way, drinking wine becomes unremarkable and easy, an ordinary pleasure rather than something rare and rarified. While we understand, appreciate and pay homage to successfully ambitious wines, we fall in love with these ordinary pleasures, which improve life every day.

Falling in love with wine like this reveals not only the magic of daily bottles, it crystallizes the majesty of those exceptional bottles, the ones that inspire contemplation, reverie and poetry. In this way, embracing the ordinary reveals the extraordinary.


October's Kindle Books for $3.99 or Less

For great books at a low price, browse this month's 100 Kindle books for $3.99 or less, a diverse offering available all month. These deals expire on October 31, 2012. Here's a selection of our favorites from October's great collection:


Literature & Fiction 

When It Happens to You: A Novel in Stories by Molly Ringwald, $3.99

When It Happens to You--A Novel in Stories by Molly Ringwald

General Nonfiction 

All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew, $2.99

  All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew

Kids & Teens 

The Secret Zoo by Bryan Chick, $1.99

  The Secret Zoo by Bryan Chick

Mysteries & Thrillers

77 Days in September by Ray Gorham, $1.99

  77 Days in September by Ray Gorham


Wild Montana Sky (The Montana Sky Series) by Debra Holland, $1.99

  Wild Montana Sky (The Montana Sky Series) by Debra Holland

Science Fiction & Fantasy 

American Gods: The Tenth Anniversary Edition (Enhanced Edition) by Neil Gaiman, $3.99

American Gods--The Tenth Anniversary Edition (Enhanced Edition) by Neil Gaiman

Biography & Memoir 

The Master of Disguise: My Secret Life in the CIA by Antonio J. Mendez, $0.99

The Master of Disguise--My Secret Life in the CIA by Antonio J. Mendez

September's Kindle Books for $3.99 or Less

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For great books at a low price, browse this month's 100 Kindle books for $3.99 or less, a diverse offering available all month. These deals expire on September 30, 2012.

Literature & Fiction 

John Dies at the End by David WongJohn Dies at the End by David Wong, $3.99

A book with a cult following for a reason, David Wong has managed to channel the Lovecraft horror tradition, inject it with humor, and produce a markedly more terrifying result.  



General Nonfiction

AWOL on the Appalachian Trail by David MillerAWOL on the Appalachian Trail by David Miller, $2.99

In 2003, software engineer David Miller left his job, family, and friends to fulfill a dream and hike thru-hike the Appalachian Trail, the entire 2,172 miles from Georgia to Maine.



Kids & Teens 

Touch of Frost by Jennifer EstepTouch of Frost by Jennifer Estep, $2.99

Gwen Frost can know any object's history just by touching it. But after she has a magical meltdown, the 17-year-old girl is sent to Mythos Academy, a school catering to people like her.



Mysteries & Thrillers

Wahoo Rhapsody by Shaun MoreyWahoo Rhapsody by Shaun Morey, $1.99

Captain Winston Weber makes an honest living running fishing charters between Mexico and California. He has no clue his first mate, Weevil Ott, is smuggling marijuana inside the tuna stacked in the boat’s hold, until drug-lord goons come calling.




Touch of a Thief by Mia MarloweTouch of a Thief by Mia Marlowe, $3.99

Lady Viola Preston is London's most talented criminal, but she's careful to wear gloves when she steals jewels: touching a gemstone with her bare skin yields disturbing visions--visions almost as unsettling as the cool-eyed stranger who catches her red handed.



Science Fiction & Fantasy 

I Am Legend by Richard MathesonI Am Legend by Richard Matheson, $2.99

Robert Neville witnessed the end of the world: the entire population obliterated by a vampire virus. Somehow, Neville survived, and he must now struggle to make sense of everything and protect himself against the vampires who hunt him constantly. 



Put 'em Up! by Sherri Brooks VintonPut 'em Up! by Sherri Brooks Vinton, $2.51

Preserving is back, and it's better than ever. Flavors are brighter, batch sizes are more flexible, and this handy book will guide you through the modern methods that make preserving safer and easier.


Be sure to browse August's entire selection of 100 Kindle Books for $3.99 or Less to discover great fiction and nonfiction titles catering to all tastes.

Note: Deals expire on the last day of each month. Individual books may have additional territory restrictions, and not all deals are available in all territories.

One Big Deal for a Limited Time


The Big Deal is back. More than 500 Kindle books are now available for as low as $0.99, including literature, nonfiction, thrillers, romance, cookbooks, books for kids and teens, and more. Shop for yourself, or give Kindle books--delivered when you want--to anyone with an e-mail address. (No Kindle required. Books can be read on Kindle or one of our free reading apps.) But hurry--these deals expire on August 23.

The Big Deal's diverse range of categories includes:

Literature & Fiction as Low as $0.99

Literature and Fiction as Low as $0.99






Romance as Low as $0.99

The Big Deal--Romance as Low as $0.99


Nonfiction Books as Low as $0.99

Nonfiction Books as Low as $0.99






Biographies & Memoirs as Low as $0.99

 Biographies and Memoirs as Low as $0.99






Teen Books for $2.99 or Less

The Big Deal--Teen Books for $2.99 or Less





Children's Books, $2.99 or Less

The Big Deal Children's Books, $2.99 or Less






Health, Mind & Body Books: $3.99 or Less

Health, Mind & Body Books $3.99 or Less

August's Kindle Books for $3.99 or Less

100 Kindle Books for 3.99 or Less banner


Looking for great books at a low price? Browse this month's 100 Kindle books for $3.99 or less, a diverse offering available all month. These deals expire on August 31, 2012.

Literature & Fiction 

The Magic Kingdom by Stanley ElkinThe Magic Kingdom by Stanley Elkin, $2.99

Written with deadpan humor and poignancy, this striking and honest portrayal of life and death follows a grieving father's epic trip to Disney World with seven terminally ill children.



General Nonfiction

Desert Solitaire by Edward AbbeyDesert Solitaire by Edward Abbey, $2.99

First published in 1968 and written while Abbey was working as a ranger at Arches National Park outside of Moab, Utah. It's a rare view of one man's quest to experience nature in its purest form.


Kids & Teens 

Favorite by Karen McQuestionFavorite by Karen McQuestion, $1.99

After young teenager Angie Favorite narrowly escapes a kidnapping attempt, the culprit's mother seeks to apologize. Angie allows the gesture and learns this woman may hold the key to her mother's disappearance.


Mysteries & Thrillers

Solo by Jack HigginsSolo by Jack Higgins, $1.99

This classic thriller follows piano virtuoso and skilled assassin John Mikali. After he kills a young woman while fleeing a murder scene, the woman’s father, a British special-forces soldier, seeks vengeance and begins hunting down Mikali.


Science Fiction & Fantasy 

Anno Dracula by Kim NewmanAnno Dracula by Kim Newman, $3.99

Acclaimed novelist Kim Newman explores the darkest depths of a reinvented Victorian London in his best-selling novel, a vampire tale that deftly combines horror, politics, mystery and romance.



Biographies & Memoirs

Heart in the Right Place by Carolyn JourdanHeart in the Right Place by Carolyn Jourdan, $2.99

Carolyn Jourdan, an attorney on Capitol Hill, thought she had it made, but when her mother has a heart attack, she returns to the mountains of Tennessee where her father is a country doctor. With great humor and great tenderness, Jourdan shows that some of our biggest heroes are the ones living right beside us.



The Healthy College Cookbook by Alexandra NimetzThe Healthy College Cookbook by Alexandra Nimetz, $2.51

Written by students for students, this collection offers hundreds of simple and healthful alternatives to dreary cafeteria fare. Even the most discerning young palates are sure to appreciate these tried and true recipes.


Be sure to browse August's entire selection of 100 Kindle Books for $3.99 or Less to discover great fiction and nonfiction titles catering to all tastes.


Note: Deals expire on the last day of each month. Individual books may have additional territory restrictions, and not all deals are available in all territories.

July's Kindle Books for $3.99 or Less

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It's the middle of summer, and July's selection of 100 Kindle Books for $3.99 or Less promises to help you make the most of the season. Here are some of our favorites:


Literature & Fiction 

Night of Knives by Ian C. EsslemontNight of Knives by Ian C. Esslemont, $2.99

The small island of Malaz is a sleepy backwater port, expect when the Shadow Moon appears. It's an occasion that brings forth demon hounds and other, darker things.



History and Biographies & Memoirs 

Born on the Fourth of July by Ron KovicBorn on the Fourth of July by Ron Kovic, $2.99

Kovic's best-selling anti-war story features a new introduction that puts his powerful and moving Vietnam War experience in a contemporary context.



Mysteries & Thrillers 

Box Nine by Jack O'ConnellBox Nine by Jack O'Connell, $1.99

Gritty narcotics detective Leonore Thomas, with a few addictions of her own, wages war against a deadly new stimulant that induces giddiness, confidence, and sexual euphoria—with a side effect of murderous rage



The Frog Prince by Elle LothlorienThe Frog Prince by Elle Lothlorien, $1.99

Sex researcher Leigh discovers the handsome “someone” at her great aunt’s wake is Prince Roman Habsburg von Lorraine of Austria. What will she do with this European noble living in self-imposed exile in Denver, Colorado?


Kids & Teens 

Garbage Pail Kids by Art SpiegelmanGarbage Pail Kids by Art Spiegelman, $3.99

Garbage Pail Kids - a series of collectible stickers produced by Topps in the 1980s - combined spectacular artwork and over-the-top satire. This collection includes 206 rare and hard-to-find images.


General Nonfiction 

Lives of the Trees by Diana WellsLives of the Trees by Diana Wells, $1.99

Diana Wells has a remarkable ability to dig up curious and the captivating facts and stories about our deep-rooted relationship with trees, reminding us of just how innately bound we are to these protectors of our planet.



We Are All Weird by Seth GodinWe Are All Weird by Seth Godin, $2.99

This book is a refreshing celebration of choice and recognizing that everyone deserves the dignity and respect that comes from being heard.



Cooking/Home & Travel 

Veggie Burgers Every Which Way by Lukas VolgerVeggie Burgers Every Which Way by Lukas Volger, $2.24

Whether you already subsist on veggie burgers or just enjoy them occasionally, Volger's cookbook is the one you'll use over and over again.


Be sure to browse July's entire selection of 100 Kindle Books for $3.99 or Less to discover great fiction and nonfiction titles catering to all tastes.


Note: Deals expire on the last day of each month. Individual books may have additional territory restrictions, and not all deals are available in all territories.

Noah Gordon’s "The Winemaker" Debuts in English

For the first time ever, Kindle owners can read seven titles by internationally best-selling author Noah Gordon, including his long-awaited novel The Winemaker.

The Winemaker by Noah GordonAlready an international best seller, The Winemaker is now available for the first time in English. Also, it’s available as an e-book before its traditional print publication.

Gordon, a master of historical fiction, takes readers to the vineyards of 19th-century Spain, where he portrays the life of a vintner—the grapes he grows, the wine he makes, the women he loves—and his struggle against an evil that seeks to destroy him.

The Winemaker is a classic Gordon novel in the depth of its research, the beauty of its descriptions, and its epic story arc.

The Physician by Noah GordonSix other Gordon classics join The Winemaker on Kindle, including The Physician, the start of the well-loved Cole Family trilogy. This sweeping tale of an 11th-century British man who travels to Persia to learn healing arts was voted “one of the ten best-loved books of all time” at the 1999 Madrid Book Fair.

The two other Cole Family titles for Kindle include Shaman, which won the James Fenimore Cooper Prize for historical fiction, and the contemporary Matters of Choice. In The Rabbi, The Death Committee, and The Jerusalem Diamond, Gordon explores histories both vast and personal.

Whether you’re a longtime fan or new to Gordon’s work, these e-books make a wonderful addition to any library.

In this video, watch Gordon describe his passions for both medical and historical fiction, as well as his near brush with a career as a doctor.

“I could think of absolutely nothing finer in the world than to become a writer,” Gordon says.

Fortunately, he followed that dream.


June's Kindle Books for $3.99 or Less

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Start your summer reading off right with the exciting titles in June's selection of 100 Kindle Books for $3.99 or Less. Here are few we don't want you to miss:


Literature & Fiction 

The Long Way Home by Karen McQuestionThe Long Way Home by Karen McQuestion, $2.99

Brought together by a chance meeting, Marnie, Laverne, Rita, and Jazzy head out on a road trip from Wisconsin to Las Vegas to support Marnie as she tries to reunite with Troy, the boy Marnie raised as her own and has been separated from since her boyfriend's death.



Mastering the Grill by Alison MikschMastering the Grill by Alison Miksch, $3.99

Grilling is a science, and it's only when you understand the science of grilling that you can transform it into an art. In addition to hundreds of tips and techniques, this ultimate guide is packed with how-to illustrations, mouthwatering photographs, and 350 surefire recipes.


Biographies & Memoirs 

Waiting for Daisy by Peggy OrensteinWaiting for Daisy by Peggy Orenstein, $2.99

Peggy Orenstein's widely hailed and best-selling memoir of her quest for parenthood begins when she tells her new husband that she's not sure she ever wants to be a mother; it ends six years later after she's done almost everything humanly possible to achieve that goal.  


Kids & Teens

Nickel Plated by Aric DavisNickel Plated by Aric Davis, $1.99

This edgy thriller introduces Nickel, a canny, precocious anti-hero the likes of which young-adult readers have never seen. At just 12-years-old he's blackmailing adults with souls as evil as the devil and working as a private investigator.


More Great Deals

Fury of Fire by Coreene CallahanFury of Fire by Coreene Callahan, $1.99

A clandestine race of dragon-shifters lives among us, and these half-dragon, half-humans are sworn to protect humankind at all costs. An extraordinary blend of action, fantasy, and steamy romance, Coreene Callahan brings to life a dangerous new world that explores the meaning of honor and the nature of true love.


Be sure to browse June's entire selection of 100 Kindle Books for $3.99 or Less to discover great fiction and nonfiction titles catering to all tastes.

Note: Deals expire on the last day of each month. Individual books may have additional territory restrictions, and not all deals are available in all territories.

May's Kindle Books for $3.99 or Less

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From great literature to inspiring cookbooks, May's selection of 100 Kindle Books for $3.99 or Less has something for everybody. Here are a few of our favorites:


Literature & Fiction

CursesCurses! by J.A. Kazimer, $3.99

This hilarious and witty romp through the twisted fairy-tale world of New Never City follows "ugly stepsister" princess Asia as she tries to figure out who killed her sister, Cinderella. Asia enlists the help of the villainous R.J., a.k.a. Rumplestiltskin, who's suffering from a curse to only do good deeds.


Mystery & Thrillers

KaleidoscopeKaleidoscope by Darryl Wimberley, $1.99

Jack Romaine's addiction to speakeasies and cards turns him into an unwilling recruit for a Cincinnati gangster wanting to recover his stolen cash and railroad bonds. The trail leads south to Kaleidoscope, a "beddy" for freaks when carnival season over. Unfortunately, Jack's competition is a sadistic killer.


Biographies & Memoirs

As Seen On TVAs Seen On TV by Lucy Grealy, $2.99

Whether she's discussing promiscuity, The New Testament, or learning to tango, Lucy Grealy's writing seduces and surprises at every turn. Wit, unflinching honesty, and peerless intelligence are the hallmarks of this essay collection.



Holy WarsHoly Wars: 3000 Years of Battles in the Holy Land by Gary L. Rashba, $3.99 

Today's Arab-Israeli conflict is merely the latest iteration of violence in the Holy Land. Gary L. Rashba sheds light on this unending history of conflict by focusing on pivotal battles to describe the region's 3,000 years of war, from the Israelites' capture of Jericho to Israel’s assault against Lebanon.


Kids & Teens

What Color is My WorldWhat Color Is My World? by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, $3.99

Basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar champions a lineup of little-known African-American inventors in this lively, kid-friendly book. Filled with engaging profiles, Abdul-Jabbar gives a nod to the inventors whose perseverance made our world safer, better, and brighter.


More Great Deals

Fast, Fresh and GreenFast, Fresh, and Green by Susie Middleton, $3.99

This go-to reference for all things vegetable holds more than 100 recipes for appetizers, snacks, entrees, and side dishes. Perfect for vegetarians, vegans, and omnivores alike, the book also features a veggie shopping guide.


Be sure to browse May's entire selection of 100 Kindle Books for $3.99 or Less to discover great fiction and nonfiction titles catering to all ages.


Note: Deals expire on the last day of each month. Individual books may have additional territory restrictions, and not all deals are available in all territories.