Cooking for Geeks

Cooking for Geeks cover


Woo-hoo! We just got Cooking for Geeks in the mail. You can view it as a cookbook that takes time to delve into the science of the recipes or a food science book with demonstrative recipes. Or maybe an introduction to everything that food geeks know about, but everyone else wishes they did. It also has a series of interviews with geeks, chefs and scientists– including us, but I’m not sure which of those categories we fit into. Regardless, we enjoyed talking with Jeff about the book and are happy to see it out in print!

The cover design with splatter marks and stains means less worry when it gets spilled on in the process of cooking (not that I’ve ever worried about that with any of my other cookbooks).

Cooking for Geeks inside


Most pages have ample room for margin notes, which is something I’m fond of for recipe alterations. It flops open on the counter well, too.

We got a nice shoutout from Jeff on NPR’s Science Friday last week for the laser cut pie crust from our Apple pie, which is featured in the book along with our electrocuted hot dogs. Thanks, Jeff, and congrats on getting the book out there!

Plum Chutney

Plums

Our neighbors stopped by with buckets (yes, buckets) of excess plums. Not that you’ll necessarily be so lucky, but if you should happen to find a nice supply of plums, here’s something awesome you can make with them: Indian style plum chutney. Perfect for topping your samosas or naan, and at least as easy as marmalade.

Plum Chutney (in bowl)   Plum Chutney (on Pappadum)

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HP Sauce

HP Sauce - 2

HP Sauce - 1


HP Sauce - 4


HP Sauce - 5

There. Fixed that for you.



HP Sauce is a popular condiment in the UK and Canada, though now made by Heinz (yes, that Heinz) in the Netherlands.


It says you can use it on pretty much anything– not sure that my printer will taste that much better with sauce on it, though.

Atomic Cookies!

Hydrogen_Density_Plots

The basic picture of the atom that many of us grew up with– that of little electrons orbiting the nucleus like so many planets orbiting the sun –turns out to be a little misleading. Reality is somewhat more complicated: a matter of wave functions, spherical harmonics, and ultimately probability clouds.



The chart above shows the appearance of a single hydrogen atom in a few of its lowest excited states.
In each of those states, the electron is found in a different orbital, some of which have unfamiliar shapes. But even the term “shape” is a little funny for something that you can’t hold in your hand. These are actually probability density plots, which show the likelihood of observing the electron in any one position at a given time– and more correctly, 2D projections of 3D probability densities.



So even the humble hydrogen atom can be a bit complex. Fortunately, we have advanced technology that can help us cut though the quantum mechanical haze: Cookies!

AtomicCookies 7

These are atomic spritz cookies, made by taking a fairly common cookie press and outfitting it with custom plates.

It’s not quite a trivial process, but the end result is pretty neat: you get to eat the atomic orbitals. Continue reading

Marmalade is way easier than it looks

Marmalade 01

 

While trying to figure out what to do with about 75 pounds of fruit that our citrus trees bestowed upon us in January, we came across an interesting fact: marmalade is really easy to make. People of older generations may know this already, but so far as we knew, marmalade was one of those mysterious things that strictly comes from a jar. It turns out that all you need is citrus fruit, water, sugar and some time on the stovetop.

 
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