Discussion Thread

  • 1.  Engineering Food to Perfection

    Posted 12-10-2020 10:42 AM

    When people think of Engineers they don't typically think of food.

    You typically think of people developing plans, sticking to timelines, and following design rules. When broken down it sounds an awful lot like cooking.
    I wanted to start a fun thread about how engineering relates to cooking and how our education and background teaches us the skill to be awesome Chefs!

    Feel free to post any must-have recipes!



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    Daniel Bressler EIT, A.M.ASCE
    Junior Engineer
    Brooklyn NY
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  • 2.  RE: Engineering Food to Perfection

    Posted 12-14-2020 02:53 PM

    I like to tell civil engineers that if you can batch concrete you can bake. One of my favorite things to do is bake for each person's birthday in our group at the office. It is a fun way to use one of my hobbies to keep spirits up and people feeling appreciated.

    These Snickerdoodle Bars are a fan favorite at the office:

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup butter (softened)
    • 1 cup granulated sugar (regular white sugar)
    • 1 cup brown sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 Tablespoon vanilla
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
    • additional cinnamon and sugar mixed to lightly cover the top before baking
    Directions
    1. preheat oven to 350 F
    2. grease a 9x13 pan
    3. in a large bowl cream together the butters and sugars
    4. mix in the eggs and vanilla
    5. mix in the dry ingredients 
    6. press the mixture into the greased 9x13 (may need to grease your hands to press it in)
    7. sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture to lightly cover the top
    8. bake for 25-30 minutes



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    Heidi Wallace EI,P.E.,M.ASCE
    P.E.
    Tulsa OK
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  • 3.  RE: Engineering Food to Perfection

    Posted 12-19-2020 05:53 PM

    Hi Daniel, thanks for the fun and thought provoking post. I can think of a number of analogies, but one that I'll share is the concept of Front End Loading. It's the upfront work planning and preparation that makes all the difference for a successful outcome. This includes the a good recipe or understanding of the science behind creating great flavors, selection, sourcing and quality of the ingredients and some basic kitchen skills. If you get this wrong, it's hard to turn things around once you get to the actual cooking (execution) phase.

    Regards,

    Mitch



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    Mitch Winkler P.E., M.ASCE
    Houston, TX
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  • 4.  RE: Engineering Food to Perfection

    Posted 12-29-2020 06:52 PM

    Hi Daniel, 

    I absolutely love this topic! One of the silver linings of the work from home for me was the elimination of my commute time which I promptly used for miscellaneous apartment tasks as well as time to make breakfast most mornings!

    I would like to focus on another part of engineering that I have related to my cooking - the iterative design process! One of the most popular items I have made is skillet breakfast potatoes and while I found a recipe I keep to in terms of the cutting and cooking directions, I have started to experiment by adding things like peppers and onions to change it up a bit. 

    While not exactly the same, this makes me of some alternative analyses that I have completed for projects in the past. Just because the base or primary structure is remaining the same, there are many parts of a project (like in my case retaining walls), that you can look at a few plausible alternatives that you can present to the client.  



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    Danielle Schroeder EIT, A.M.ASCE (She/her)
    Associate Engineer
    Pennoni Associates
    Philadelphia PA
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