Books in Scientia – That’s the Way the Cookie Crumbles

Title and author

That’s the Way the Cookie Crumbles by Joe Schwarcz


What’s it about?

It’s a collection of short articles about various aspects of everyday chemistry all smooshed into a book with a picture of a biscuit on the front… mmm, cookie…

What are the good bits?

Ummm, well I didn’t know anything about the chemistry of airbags, so that section was mildly intriguing to me. Explosive sodium azide (NaN3) decomposes on ignition to form nitrogen gas which is used to inflate the bag – TOTES NIFTY.

What are the not-so-good bits?

Unfortunately, most of it. The book is bland and written in a very condescending tone. Every single story ends with an annoyingly glib statement like:

“It almost makes polenta sound appealing” (Y U HATE POLENTA JOE? THAT BE SOME DELICIOUS CORNMEAL)

“A walk in the sunshine is a much more pleasant prospect” (than being force-fed fish oil – duh.)

“And we know what terrorists are capable of” (Gee, that’s cheery Joe. Post 9/11 much?)

“Maybe I should go and make myself some mashed potatoes” (alrighty then)

What does it say on page 210, line 23?

“Maybe you can find more information about this on the World Wide Web” REALLY? INFORMATIONS ON THE INTERNETS? THANKS JOE!

This is yet another one of the drippy closing lines that I’m talking about.

Who should read it?

Those with an interest in chemistry, as applied to everyday life BUT have only about a primary school level education in science AND have never read a popular chemistry book before.

How good is it?

I’m giving this book 1 out of 5 bottles of pyrophoric reagent.

1 pyrophoric