September 8, 2006

Introducing The Geeky Gourmet

I’ve always had a bit of a hard time figuring out what my occupation is, even when I had a conventional full-time job. For the past 15 years or so, I’ve worked with technology in various capacities—computer graphic artist, tech support drone, product manager, project manager, consultant, writer, and editor. The common thread seems to be that I enjoy, and am apparently pretty good at, explaining things. I can explain how to upgrade your computer’s operating system, or get your mouse driver or word processor to behave, or get rid of all that annoying spam, in simple language that even the least technically savvy person will understand.

In one sense, I’m a computer geek (and proud of it), but computers are just one small part of my life. I’m fascinated by all sorts of interesting things, most of which have nothing to do with technology. That’s why I started Web sites like Interesting Thing of the Day and SenseList, where I can write about a wider range of topics than what I normally get paid to cover. A lot of the posts on those sites involve food in one way or another, reflecting one of my great passions in life. I never wanted to be a professional chef, but I love eating and preparing good food. I have especially great respect for people who go beyond mere recipes, digging into the science behind the ingredients and cooking techniques—the chemistry, physics, and physiology of food. My heroes in the food world are people like Alton Brown, Harold McGee, and Shirley O. Corriher, and Cook’s Illustrated is one of my favorite magazines (right up there with Wired).

Little did I imagine a year ago that I’d be starting my own food blog. After all, what can I say about food and cooking that people far more qualified than I couldn’t? Then, with the encouragement of my publisher, I began writing Take Control of Thanksgiving Dinner, an experiment in which we’re taking our computer ebook model and applying it to the world of cooking. In that process, I discovered that I did have quite a few things to say that I wasn’t seeing anywhere else (that being the reason for the new book in the first place).

This blog will contain only the occasional recipe—I’m not as interested in recipes as I am in cooking technology. By “technology” I don’t necessarily mean gadgets, though I’ll certainly cover plenty of food-related gadgets here. Rather, I mean the techniques and science of making food—and making it taste good. Along the way, I’ll use this as a forum to talk about any other food-related topics that strike my fancy, which could mean restaurant reviews, commentary about the latest diet trends (and my own eating habits), book reviews, culinary news, and so on. Naturally, one topic that has become especially dear to me is that of preparing Thanksgiving dinner, so a number of posts will involve that meal in one way or another.

As time goes on, I plan to invite several of my colleagues from the computer world who also like to cook to join me as contributors to The Geeky Gourmet. So you’re bound to see a wide variety of opinions (perhaps even contradictory ones) here. I hope you’ll enjoy what you read.

Bon appétit!

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