"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.
Why Do I Do This Web Site?
January 05, 2006
The holidays are over and I am back in the office. This break must have been really good because I have forgotten how to do the little things, where to save a file, what to update next on the site, you know that sort of stuff. Things that no one else but you notice.
I took two weeks off, a long time for me. One of the things I like most about taking a holiday, besides the obvious fun with friends and family, is to gather my thoughts about where I have been and what I want to do next. Also, to figure out, of all the things humming around me, what's important and what needs my time.
One thought that crosses my mind is "Why am I doing this web site, Water and Wastewater.com". We are going into our 8th year now, over 250 newsletters published, 1,000 articles in the News Center, over 3,400 posts on the Help Forum, it just keeps adding up. I think to myself, "Does this do any good for anyone?".
Well I got my answer today in an email from a man named Jack Lee from China. Jack is a M&D Manager for a company, Tian Jin Jie Li Xing M&E Co., Ltd. I tried looking up his company on Google, but the there was no web site for the company, just a listing in another directory, a Chinese company directory. From the listing and the photo, Jack is involved with process instrumentation. (See Jack's smiling face above)
Jack writes to me in his email, "Thanks for your updated newsletter everyday. Happy new year!"
Ah, Jack is why I spend so much time and effort on Water and Wastewater.com. He loves the weekly newsletter, he most likely spends time on the web site and Jack could even be a member of the Help Forum. Well I hope so, because I will spend 30-40 mins trying to find his forum profile, and add a mini-version of his photo to his profile for everyone to see!
Eight years and a simple email breezes through my email box, brightening my day. Thanks Jack Lee and for that matter, thanks to all the "Jack Lee's" out there who visit and use our web site.
Happy New Year to you too!
Water and Wastewater.com