Cooking for engineers

Date:October 8, 2004 / year-entry #361
Orig Link:
Comments:    22
Summary:All geeks who enjoy cooking (and who have cable television) worship Alton Brown's program Good Eats. It's the cooking show for engineers. And recently I discovered a cooking blog that is designed for engineers, named, not surprisingly, Cooking for Engineers. Marvel at the elegance and beauty of the recipe diagrams. I have no idea whether...

All geeks who enjoy cooking (and who have cable television) worship Alton Brown's program Good Eats. It's the cooking show for engineers.

And recently I discovered a cooking blog that is designed for engineers, named, not surprisingly, Cooking for Engineers. Marvel at the elegance and beauty of the recipe diagrams. I have no idea whether the dishes are any good, but the recipes themselves are works of art.

(And don't miss the analysis of orange juice shelf life.)

Side remark: I found it somewhat odd that many Slashdotters responded to my spam graph of a few days ago with remarks like "This guy needs to get a hobby." I guess they don't consider cooking, knitting, or studying German, Swedish, or Mandarin to be valid hobbies.

Comments (22)
  1. Man. I loved that spam graph!

  2. Raymond… Learning multiple foreign languages, knitting, cooking, and posting tons of interesting posts on your blog don’t count as hobbies. What you need to be doing is spending all day and night posting comments on Slashdot. Now that’s a hobby. ;)


  3. Rob says:

    At a recent conference I picked up Barham’s Science of Cooking (published by… Springer Verlag!).

    I absolutely love its detailed explanations of the physical and chemical processes underlying everyday kitchen adventures: e.g., how sugars and starches work, what meat proteins do exactly under different temperature ranges as you cook them, or why Maillard reactions are so incredibly important (and how to get them going faster). It’s the perfect high-detail companion volume to Good Eats. :)

  4. Miles Archer says:

    Try "Americas Test Kitchen" for a scientists view of cooking. They do double blind tastings of everything from chocolate to oyster sauce. And try recipies out multiple ways to find the best method to cook something.

    They have a web site and I think the show is on PBS.

  5. Matt G. says:

    The people that associate with Slashdot are some of the most close-minded, negative people I know of. The moderation system hurts as much it helps – groupthink is an easy way to get moderated up. Meanwhile, if you had invented a spoon capable of knitting German fleeces together and it ran embedded Linux they would think you were a true Renaissance man. Until they heard who your employer was….then you’d be Satan himself.

    Usually people who say things like "you need to get a x," don’t have x themselves. Freud was so dead-on when it came to the concept of projection.

  6. Adam B says:

    Regarding "America’s Test Kitchen", which is indeed a great show for those of us who enjoy the scientific method, it is an outgrowth of a equally good (if not better) magazine called "Cook’s Illustrated" that has been around much longer.

    Cook’s Illustrated consistently explains from a first-person perspective how they arrived at any given recipe, and what choices had to be made to fix problems that arose. They do blind tasting as well as objective testing of kitchen tools and techniques.

  7. I’ve found, walking the halls of the IT world, that many (not all, just many) avid SlashDotters only consider Slashdotting a worthwhile hobby. This may have been the problem you ran into.

  8. David Ascher says:

    Engineer cooks looking for a dead-tree publication could do worse than check out Cooks’ Illustrated ( They take a scientific approach to food and cooking, somewhat like a "consumer’s digest" for food. Their typesetting is elegant and spare, thanks to a no-advertising policy.

    (The recipes are, unfortunately, uneven in my experience).

  9. John Goewert says:

    Normal Slashdotter quote:

    I bet a recipe served a LAMP server would taste way better and be cheaper than a WIAA (Windows-IIS-Access-ASP, my own new anacronym) served one.

    But cooking is worthless and any hacker worth their salt only eats doublestuff oreos and mountain dew!



  10. Scott says:

    Cooks’ Illustrated has really nice illustrations too. Hand drawn and all.

    I don’t know if I buy their no-advertising rationale though. In particular, I don’t think they review enough products to make it necessary to have that independence. Yes, the magazine is much more of a work of art w/o garish ads, but it’s also rather pricey.

  11. I engjoy grilling, but I absolutely loathe cooking. There are more efficient methods of acquiring food than preparing it yourself (grilling is intrinsically valuable as an artform and, thus, requires no measurement of efficiency). However, this speaks to me (via…

  12. Fred says:

    I too study cokking and Mandarin, I like to combine the two by buying chinese cookbooks and then translating them. I haven’t felt adventurous enough to attempt to translate while stir-frying, though!

  13. I’ve had a subscription to Cooks Illustrated for about 6 years now, it’s amazing. Absolutely amazing.

    Their investigation on how to make the best hard boiled egg was fascinating. They spent 5 pages on it – think about that… :)

  14. Jon Potter says:

    Case modding is the only true hobby!

  15. Michael Yam says:

    I go to slashdot for an overview of technology news. The opinions there are mostly uninformed, although there are a few bright comments now and then. They pegged you wrong.

  16. Moi says:

    Real engineers don’t cook, they eat junk food.

  17. You should also check out Harold McGee’s books:

    On Food and Cooking

    the Science and Lore of Cooking

    is the one closest at hand. Again as intersting as Rob’s "Barham’s Science of Cooking" sounds.

  18. Anonymous says: » Cooking for Engineers

  19. Phil says:

    Also check out "Cookwise" by Shirley O. Corriher. She’s the "food scientist" that shows up frequently on Alton Brown’s "Good Eats". In some ways, that show is close TV relative of Shirley’s book.

  20. metamerist says:

    I’m too late to make any Barnham recommendations, but, if you didn’t notice, Ernie’s 3D Pancakes liked your spam graph:

  21. The difference between blogs and journals

  22. Kiri says:

    And of course, there’s Robert Wolke’s "What Einstein Told His Cook." Highly recommended!

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