"Cooking For Engineers" Blog Opens Art of the Kitchen to Analytical Minds
March 09, 2006
I was scanning Blogline’s list of most popular (subscribed to) blogs, when I came upon Cooking For Engineers, an exceptionally well done site by Michael Chu, an engineer living in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Chu's home page declares, "Have an analytical mind? Like to cook? This is the site to read!" And well-read it is. Technorati lists Cooking For Engineers at number three in the top ten food blogs.
Chu started Cooking For Engineers in June 2004 as a place where he could store and share the recipes that he likes to use. "Basically, I started the site as a place to store all the food related stuff that I didn't want to have to carry around in my brain, but I would want to reference later."
Good Enough to Make Me Love Brussels Sprouts
So how good is an engineer at sharing cooking tips with the world? Good enough to completely change my mind about Brussels sprouts, probably the vegetable I most detested before reading Chu's secret to cooking them right. In his introduction to Recipe File: Braised Brussels Sprouts Chu wrote:
"Why did everyone complain about these wonderful tasting vegetables and why was it the butt of many jokes in American family sitcoms? I'm not sure, but I think it might have to do with overcooking (which can release noxious smells). Forget the Brussels sprouts of your past and try this fast, simple, and flavorful preparation."
Overcooking. That's the simple answer to why I'd never found the appeal of this little cabbage. As luck would have it, just minutes after reading Chu's article, I walked into the kitchen and found my wife starting to cook Brussels sprouts. I hurriedly shared with her the news that overcooking must have been the culprit over all these years in my inability to share her enthusiasm for this one vegetable. So she handed me the fork and as she walked away said, "fine, you watch them."
"Cooked just right," Chu wrote, "the Brussels sprouts should be sweet and nutty with a slight hint of bitterness (but not even close to the bitterness of many other vegetables such as bok choy). Remove from the water and toss in 1/2 Tbs. butter and season with fresh ground black pepper to taste. The addition of butter helps augment the nuttiness of the Brussels sprouts."
The result was just amazing. It was delicious, and I can’t wait to try them again, just to make sure this wasn’t a fluke.
Michael Chu is a computer engineer. He has worked as a network engineer, software programmer, PDA hardware designer, computer vision researcher, and, most recently, notebook hardware application engineer. He holds a Bachelor of Science from the College of Engineering at University of California, Berkeley in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.