Last column I discussed the jittertastic idea of caffeinated Ramen.
Before that, I reviewed “Cooking for Geeks.”
One might think I have a thing for food. Of course I do, which I think is fairly obvious, but I’m just coming out of the kitchen now to admit it: I’m a Food Geek. Cuisine Nerd. Hell, I am currently experimenting with the right amount of red pepper flakes to put in a soy dip.*
And know what, let’s admit it, cooking is for people like us. Geeks, nerds, otaku, fanboys and fangirls, wonks.
Oh sure you can think it’s for fancy-pants cooks and culture poseurs, but cooking is pure nerdfuel. Just think about it.
Cooking is science. Cooking is data and analysis and application as any good cook (pro or fan) knows. It’s understanding tastes and chemicals and things like the Maillard reaction**. Oh sure it may not feel like science, but that’s because a lot of this is visceral, or tradition, or just posed differently. But it’s science.
Cooking is experimentation. In a lot of cases it’s mad science***. It’s what ifs and maybes, combinations and tries, and strange groping towards a results. You can’t cook without just a bit of willingness to try something new and crazy.
Cooking is often about culture, and many an otaku knows what it’s like to fall in love with the cuisine of a culture. It’s about learning the hows and whys, the ingredients and traditions, the strangeness and the wonder about a culture’s food. It’s about diving in head first and truly understanding something****.
Cooking is about history, and my fellow geeks and nerds, we know how much that’s our territory. Cooking is about the why and how, and knowing what came before. It’s about how we got here and where we’re going, and a deep passion for that knowledge.
Cooking is, finally about technology, which is also the sphere of geeks and nerds. It’s about how we get that odd food, the right device, the proper technique – and sometimes combines with history and culture to mean doing things like making your own yakitori grill. We live in an age of automated mashed potato dispensers, for goodness sake, technology is making food even nerdier.
So be proud my fellow geeks and nerds, of your interest in cooking. It is about all the things we love. It is about all the things we are. It is about all that we do.
Let’s be proud.
Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach for professional and potentially professional geeks, fans, and otaku. He can be reached at http://www.stevensavage.com/
* The current recipe is 2 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, 1 Tbsp brown sugar
and 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes. I think it actually needs a bit more sugar, not red pepper, but am not sure.
** By the way, Louis Camille Maillard, a guy who’s work contributed to both diagnosing kidney disorders and understanding cooking, sounds like he was pure gentleman nerd all around.
*** Yummy, yummy, mad science.
**** Except Natto. I haven’t gotten anyone to understand that yet. But really, try it on toast with some pickled ginger.