Retrospectacle: A Neuroscience Blog

Not sure if there’s any other watchers of the show “24” who read, but me and my friends usually get together on Mondays to watch it and enjoy some home cooking. We take turns cooking, and its my week this week. I was trying to think up something to whip up, and came across this website: Cooking for Engineers.

One thing I’d really love to be is a better cook, because I love to eat and eat out WAY too much. I liked their recipe for beer can chicken, which is an ingenious way to roast a chicken (and as evidenced by a taste test, doesn’t really even need beer). I also read about how to make butter and different USDA beef quality grades. Interesting stuff.

Now, what to make for dinner…..Hmmmm…..


  1. #1 Alon Levy
    March 26, 2007

    Yeah, I watch. My favorite character this season is hands down Assad. But I still think the best season was the first one, and the best part of the show was the first 4 or 5 episodes of the first season. That was before Jack transformed from a counterterrorist sleuth and a concerned father to an idealized patriot who offers to sacrifice himself for the good of the country four times per season.

  2. #2 Brian X
    March 26, 2007

    If you want to be a better cook, there’s a growing genre of cookbooks designed specifically for the geeky.

    For a basic howto, start with Alton Brown’s I’m Just Here For The Food (and its sequel, I’m Just Here For More Food, which is about baking). The Best Recipe series from Cooks Illustrated/America’s Test Kitchen is just incredible as general reference, even if it gets rather expensive collecting the books (the CI crew is extraordinarily prolific). Virtually anything by Julia Child is good, but I especially recommend Mastering the Art of French Cooking (I and II), as well as From Julia Child’s Kitchen, the companion book to the color French Chef series.

    As a general reference I like Joy of Cooking — just remember that a lot of beginning cooks find Joy to be rather intimidating, and make sure you look at both the 1997 and 2006 editions, as they’re very different. CookWise by Shirley Corriher is an exceptional book on applied kitchen science, and she happens to be one of Alton Brown’s personal heroes (she’s even been on Good Eats a couple of times). Finally, Harold McGee’s On Food and Cooking is a classic of food science writing — it isn’t a cookbook per se, but for a kitchen geek it’s essential reading.

    Also worth looking at: books by Howard Hillman, Russ Parsons, and the Einstein’s Cook books by Robert Wolke. Except for Julia and Alton, I’d stay away from most of the celebrity chefs at first unless they have a specific recipe you like (exception: anything by Sandra Lee. She’s everything you don’t want when you’re learning to cook.). Also, if you have a love of oddity, look at Hippocrene Books — they have a remarkable number of obscure ethnic cookbooks that no one else publishes anything about.

  3. #3 Eric Juve
    March 26, 2007

    And don’t forget “James Beardís Theory & Practice of Good Cooking”.

  4. #4 Rich
    March 26, 2007

    I watch 24 and read. These have been today’s least interesting facts. Thank you for listening.

    (I’m now about halfway through the third season, and I seem to be watching it at an average rate of an episode per month. My viewing of Veronica Mars and Battlestar Galactica seem to be at an equally slow rate recently too.)

  5. #5 Cameron
    March 26, 2007

    Favorite character this season would be Martha, in the den, with the paring knife.

  6. #6 Mustafa Mond, FCD
    March 26, 2007

    Not sure if there’s any other watchers of the show “24” who read,…

    So, in your opinion, this show appeals to a demographic which is illiterate? Harsh, Shelley, harsh.

  7. #7 Shelley Batts
    March 26, 2007

    I know better than to leave a subject ambigious from now on!

    Although knowing me and my friends, it *may* prove correct…

  8. #8 David Bruggeman
    March 27, 2007

    If you have cable (and the Food Network), I’d recommend Alton Brown’s Good Eats. It’s demo probably overlaps significantly with the visitors of Cooking for Engineers.

  9. #9 Mitch Harden
    March 30, 2007

    I found Craig Claiborne’s Kitchen Primer to be invaluable when I was starting out as a cook. It has a guide of how to set-up your kitchen, with lists separated into the basic equipment, and more advanced additions. All the recipes were for simple things, and then had variations that you could use to modify and make different dishes. My favorite creation that I made using the guidelines of the book was Vanilla Curry Chicken. Mmmm.

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