Hungry Scientist: nerdy cookbook for kitchen hackers

Ivan writes to tell us about Patrick Buckley and Lilly Binns's new book,The Hungry Scientist Handbook: Electric Birthday Cakes, Edible Origami, and Other DIY Projects for Techies, Tinkerers, and Foodies :"It's for gadget-loving gastronomes. For people who really love to play with their food, who make their kitchen into a lab and a workshop. Your brother, your mother, your kid neighbor. Hell, it's for anyone. Cryogenic martinis, modular pecan pie, glowing lollipops, pomegranate wine, edible lingerie, and much, much more. Twenty completely ridiculous, totally fabulous, oddly educational, and sometimes even useful projects that may blow up your kitchen and will definitely blow your mind."

Pomegranate Wine: Yeast + sugar = booze. Every self-respecting kitchen chemist should be able to implement this crucial piece of alchemy. (It's also a boon if you ever find yourself in jail – stuff your pockets with Fleischmann's before you're sent up.) This recipe uses antioxidant-rich pomegranates, but pretty much any fruit juice will work. Just don't expect to get soused immediately: Fermentation, distillation, and aging can take a month or more.
Wired: The Hungry Scientist Handbook: A Lab in Every Kitchen, Amazon: The Hungry Scientist Handbook: Electric Birthday Cakes, Edible Origami, and Other DIY Projects for Techies, Tinkerers, and Foodies (Thanks, Ivan!)

See also: Smart coasters detect hot or cold beverages, created by Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories


  1. Meh.

    I do a fair amount of avant-garde cooking — I have an entire shelf in my kitchen filled with chemicals. So I was excited when a friend brought me an ARC of this.

    Unfortunately, it does not live up to its billing. There were few recipes in it that I would actually try, and very little science of any sort. Also, I had seen a few of the recipes before.

    Hungry Scientist did not join the hundreds of other cookbooks in our living room. Instead, it joined the great Park Slope book circuit.

  2. Try Cooks Illustrated magazine instead. They cook things tons of times, getting replicable recipes, describe the steps and missteps, rate ingredients, and tell you why something works.

  3. At Burning Man this year a nearby camp had converted a DHL truck into an ice cream truck and was serving cryogenic ice cream (dairy mix + whatever ingredients + liguid nitrogen + stirring). It was fun to try different flavors. Oreos + bacon chunks + Scotch whisky was pretty awesome.

  4. I will have to read this, if just for the giggles. And I’m pretty much a hacker when it comes to butchery. Not terribly precise in the breakdown of the primal cuts…

  5. Currently reading McGee’s “On food and cooking”. Now that is a food book for scientists. Truly a book of power! As a computer scientist, it reminds me most of “Numerical Recipes”, but instead of being about numbers it is about food. Already I have performed a number of interesting experiments on the previously mysterious world of vegetables.

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