Weird Science: Kitchen Edition

Are you the kind of person who follows recipes, or one who just puts everything in a pot to see what happens?

I’m the latter. I’ve been cooking meals for as long as I can remember, and for most of that time, I’ve been following my mom’s recipe format. And she was her mom, and her dad’s mom.

I’ve been allowed to make food for myself since I was tall enough to reach the stove. And the recipes were easy: Peanut butter and jelly on bread. Fried eggs. Milk over cracked wheat (neither of which I can eat now; alas!). No measurements needed, or at worst, it’d be a ratio: one can of juice concentrate to three cans of water. One scoop of cracked wheat and three scoop-fulls of water. Rice to my first knuckle, water to the second, and so on. 3-2-1 for cookies. (I’m not wrong; there’s a ratios site right here.)Even when I’d bake a cake mix, I’d eyeball the water and oil measures.

So it’s no surprise that my mom and grandmas bread recipe, IF written, goes something like this:

Mom’s Homemade Bread

  • Hot Water
  • Sugar
  • Yeast
  • Lots of Flour
  • Salt

    Fill a bowl halfway up with hot water. Dissolve some sugar. Add some yeast, then wait. When the yeast bubbles up, start adding flour to make a dough. Add salt to taste. Let it raise, then punch it down and form loaves. Make rolls with any extra. Bake the loaves and rolls in/on greased pans at 400 degrees, until it smells good and it sounds right when you tap the tops. Makes one or more loaves, and maybe some rolls, depending on how much flour and water you used.


Today I was on a Star Trek podcast that required a rank and division. After chatting with my friend for a while, I decided I’m the chief science officer of my kitchen, where many experiments have been conducted. Then I remembered this:

Remember kids, the only difference between screwing around and science is writing it down.

– Adam Savage

Perhaps I’m not very sciencey in my kitchen at all, then. More artistic than anything.

But it would be nice when someone says “Hey, how did you make this?” to be able to give a straight answer. So perhaps I’ll start writing things down, FOR SCIENCE, even if I just keep the “experiments” private until well tested 🙂

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