When those of us who are old were in high school, the term geek was pejorative, branding someone as a social outcast.
These days, I walk around with my iPad or a laptop, and a phone that's smarter than I am. I write four blogs, with more in the works.
I've been caught checking email from inside my tent at a campground, at midnight. I stood on line at 6:00 yesterday morning, waiting to buy a new computer. And a fellow food blogger photographed me in the act of doing research on my smarter-than-I-am phone in the middle of a gourmet market.
I don't know if this makes me a geek, but I love to teach people how to wing it in the kitchen, by understanding why and how ingredients work together.
Thanks to Jeff Potter, who studied computer science and visual arts at Brown University here in Rhode Island, geeks who like to cook -- and cooks who are a little bit geeky -- now have a cookbook that speaks our language: Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks, and Good Food.
And I'm a couple of pages in the book.
I want you to know right up front that I'm not being paid to write this, nor was I paid to be in the book along with such cool geek-whisperers as author and New York Times columnist Harold McGee, Adam Savage of MythBusters, food engineer Ann Barrett, chemist Hervé This, Le Bernardin pastry chef Michael Laiskonis, and Nathan Myrhvold, former chief technology officer of Microsoft. (They weren't paid to rub culinary elbows with me, either.)
Without giving anything away, I just want to say that any book that asks (and answers) the question, "What's a spatchcock, and why would we want it?" is a book I want to read from cover to cover.
As you'd expect, there are chapters on Playing with Chemicals, and Fun with Hardware, but there's also a solid recipe selection and food you can cook without a laboratory in your kitchen.
Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks, and Good Food is more about how you approach cooking, and the suggested approach is with a bit of science in one hand, and a sense of adventure in the other. Along with the recipes, the book is packed with nuggets of information you'll be so glad to know. Perfect for beginning cooks to restaurant chefs, teachers, parents, and, of course, your slightly geeky friends.
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