Category Archives: Play with your food

3D printed cookie rollers

George Hart sent us a link to his incredible Escher cookie roller project. The project “provides a customizable method of producing cookies that are imprinted with an individual’s favorite frieze patterns and tessellations.”

He and co-consipirator Robert Hanson have provided software for generating STL files to produce 3D printed tessellated cookie or clay rollers, and they’ve even posted a few of their sample STL files.

The process of using an imprinted roller to create patterns on clay dates back to ancient times. Using modern tools including image processing software and 3D printers allows recreation of the ancient patterns, as well as the creation of completely new ones.

Help Bring PancakeBot to Bay Area Maker Faire


Miguel, the great guy behind PancakeBot, a CNC pancake printer made out of Lego, is running an Indiegogo campaign to help bring the whole family all the way from Norway to the Bay Area Maker Faire. We met Miguel at the New York Maker Faire last year, and got a chance to see PancakeBot in action.

Even if you can’t support the campaign, you should check out the video to see the machine in action, cheered on by enthusiastic young pancake aficionados. And come to Maker Faire in May, where we’ll hope to see Miguel and family with the awesome PancakeBot.

Improved Cucumber Martinis

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One of the finest cocktails that we have ever come across is the cucumber martini, a cocktail which– correctly executed–can be a bracingly refreshing blast of intense cucumber flavor, highlighting what is perhaps an under-appreciated member of the melon family.

Unfortunately, cucumber martinis often fail to live up to their potential, ending up as watery infusions that might be mistaken for scented mineral water. And that’s an injustice.

To set the record straight, here is how to make your own thoroughly-awesome cucumber martini. To go one step further, we present three distinct variations: the Sweet Vodka Cucumber Martini, the gin-based Savory Cucumber Martini, and the non-alcoholic Cucumber Fizzy. Continue reading Improved Cucumber Martinis

Winter Holiday Projects from Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories

Indian-style Cranberry Chutney

Cranberry Chutney 14

Or, How to make Indian-spiced cranberry sauce.

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, it’s the time of the year when fresh cranberries are in the stores, and it’s also the time of the year when we are looking for unusual flavor combinations for traditional ingredients. In that spirit, here’s a fantastic sweet, spicy and savory Indian-style cranberry chutney modeled after our favorite tamarind chutney recipe from the excellent Indian cookbook, Indian Home Cooking. Cranberries are tart like tamarind, so they work well here and bring a distinct new flavor to a familiar sauce.

Continue reading Indian-style Cranberry Chutney

Halloween Projects from Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories

The Great Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories Halloween Project Archive!

Halloween is one of our favorite holidays, and our collection of Halloween projects continues to grow. Every fall we update it to include our latest projects for the season. In the list that follows, we’ve organized dozens of our Halloween projects into categories: costumes, pumpkins, decor and food.

Continue reading Halloween Projects from Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories

Microwave Oven Diagnostics with Indian Snack Food

Appalams in the microwave

Microwave ovens are curious beasts. A super convenient method of warming up certain foods, for boiling a cup of water, melting a little butter, or reheating frozen leftovers. But all too often, those frozen leftovers end up scorching in places and rock-hard frozen in others. Is this just random? Is it really the case that microwaves cook the food from the inside out or left to right or back to front? Well, no, but the way that microwaves work can be mighty counter-intuitive.

Our own microwave oven is definitely one of those that likes to produce scalding yet frozen output. That isn’t necessarily such a big deal if you have patience to reposition a dish several dozen times in the course of a five minute warm up. But we recently (and quite unintentionally) came across a situation– while cooking, of all things –where the radiation pattern became clear as day.


As we have written about, we enjoy roasting papadums (a type of Indian cracker) on the stovetop. Appalams are a closely related cracker made with rice flour in addition to the usual lentil flour that can be cooked in the same ways, but just happen to be significantly more flammable.

Appalams on a plate

So, while you can (with great care and a nearby fire extinguisher) roast appalams on the stovetop, we decided to try out the microwave method. We put several of the appalams on a plate. They start out as plasticky brittle wafers like you see above.

And then, after 30 seconds in the microwave, here is what we saw:

Microwave #1

Holy crap!

As an area of the cracker cooks, it bubbles up in just a few seconds, leaving clear marks as to where there is microwave power and where there isn’t. For this particular microwave, Saturn-shaped objects will cook evenly.

Obviously what is happening is that there are two hotspots in this microwave: one in the center, and one offset from center which traces out a circle thanks to the rotating plate in the bottom.

We have access to four other microwave ovens. Are they all this bad? Continue reading Microwave Oven Diagnostics with Indian Snack Food