Last night, I caught Jeff Potter’s presentation in support of his book, Cooking for Geeks, at HacklabTO, a hackerspace in Toronto’s Kensington Market. Like most authors, he’s been touring around, promoting the book, but unlike most authors, he’s avoided the usual venues. Rather than talking at bookstores or pubs, he’s been holding his book gatherings in cosier settings such as living rooms and spaces like the Hacklab.
Cooking for Geeks is written with a specific sort of person in mind: one who likes to know how things work. It’s for the science buff who wants to know more than just how to cook the perfect steak, but why that method works. It’s for the tinkerer who wants to convert ordinary kitchen instruments into really cool cooking devices, either because s/he can’t afford those devices or because s/he’s driven to tinker. It’s about giving people the right mental models to understand the processes that happen when we take ingredients and turn them into dinner.
Jeff opened his presentation with a “What Type of Cook are You?” test borrowed from Brian Wansink, author of Mindless Eating, which help you better understand the way you see food and your approach to cooking. It turns out that I’m a hybrid of Type A (the “comfort food” sort of person) and Type D (the “experimental” sort of person). I’m the sort of person who often – but not always -- follows the “Law of the Precious and Rare” at restaurants, ordering the thing I can’t get or make at home, or the dish that I haven’t had in ages.
Jeff’s presentation was eye-opening and even inspirational. Leigh Honeywell, who was also there, was so inspired by the part about sous-vide cooking and how you can put together your own immersion cooker by hacking a slow cooker’s thermostat that she’s sourcing the parts as I write this. Perhaps we’ll have tasty sous-vide steaks at Hacklab next week! Thanks, Jeff!
If you missed last night’s presentation and you’re in Toronto, you’re in luck. Jeff’s doing his presentation today (Tuesday, September 21) in two places, and he’s got books for sale as well. He’ll be at:
- LinuxCaffe (326 Harbord Street – a short walk south of Christie Station) at 2:00 p.m.
- Camaraderie (the co-working space – 102 Adelaide Street East, 2nd floor) at 7:00 p.m.. To attend the event at Camaraderie, please RSVP here.
Bonus! I bought an extra copy of Cooking for Geeks and had Jeff autograph it. I’m going to give it away in a contest of some sort – I just haven’t decided what sort of contest, Watch this space!