Jeff “Cooking for Geeks” Potter’s Book Tour

Jeff Potter poses with his book, Cooking for Geeks, at HacklabTO

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!

Cover of "Cooking for Geeks"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:

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!

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


Tonight at HacklabTO: Cooking for Geeks!

Cover of "Cooking for Geeks"

If you’re in or around Toronto’s Kensington Market area tonight, you might want to drop by the Hacklab (170a Baldwin Street, above Graffiti’s) to see O’Reilly author Jeff Potter as his book tour for Cooking for Geeks stops at Toronto’s downtown hackerspace. He’ll be there, talking about his book and possibly treating us to a demo or two, and I’ll be there, helping to host the event. Jeff says he’ll have a number of books on him for sale – but note that it’s first come, first serve, and I’m buying one!

Here’s a video of the author showing you how to make ice cream in 30 seconds (with liquid nitrogen!):

The event starts tonight (Monday, September 20th) at 7:00 p.m. – be there!

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


What’s Up This Week

This certainly isn’t all that’s going on this week, but this is all the after-work stuff that I’ll be up to…

Monday, July 26th: Tweetgasm 1.0 at the Gladstone Hotel

Poster for "Tweetgasm v1.0" at the Gladstone Hotel: "The Gladstone Hotel presents its first Tweetup - Monday July 26, 2010 - 7 p.m. till 12 a.m. (4 the early birds) - Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen Street W. - Melody Bar - No Cover - DJs Joe Blow and Sigourney Beaver"

The folks at the Gladstone Hotel are launching Tweetgasm, a monthly series of Tweetups at the Melody Bar where everyone’s invited to “dance, drink, eat and meet”. The event will be hosted by the following local Twitter personalities:

It’s at the Melody Bar in the Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen Street West (just east of Dufferin/Gladstone) on Monday, July 26th and runs from 7:00 p.m. to midnight.

Tuesday, July 27th: Developer Lunch at Sky Dragon Restaurant

"Developer Lunch": Photo of bamboo steamer containing 4 siu mai

Every now and again, local software development guy with a videocamera Kristan “Krispy” Uccello calls a gathering of Toronto’s programmers for a nice dim sum lunch. That’s the Developer Lunch, and there’s one happening on Tuesday!

It’s at Sky Dragon Restaurant, top floor of the Dragon City Mall, SW corner of Dundas and Spadina, on Tuesday, July 27th and runs from 12:00 noon to about 1:30 p.m..

Wednesday, July 28th: BIXI Bash Launch Party at the Gladstone Hotel

Row of Montreal Bixi bikes in their docking station

When I was in Montreal earlier this summer, I took Montreal’s BIXI bike system for a spin and loved it. I also noted that BIXI was coming to Toronto, and it’s happening at last. What better way to mark the event with a party: the BIXI bash? There’ll be free food and entertainment, as well as a chance to take a BIXI bike for a spin (having ridden one myself, I can report that they’re great city bikes).

It’s at the Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen Street West (just east of Dufferin/Gladstone) on Wednesday, July 28th and runs from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m..

Thursday, July 29th: Loser Karaoke at Tequila Sunrise

loser karaoke

After a little dinner engagement, the Ginger Ninja and I will probably make our way down to Tequila Sunrise to catch the weekly Loser Karaoke event. Loser Karaoke isn’t about being the best singer, it’s about wanting to sing in front of a friendly and appreciative crowd. Loser Karaoke is also a regular gathering of Toronto’s social media and web development crowd, so if you’re looking for work or networking opportunities, you might want to drop by.

It’s at Tequila Sunrise, 212 Adelaide Street West, just west of University), on Thursday, July 29th and runs from about 10:00 p.m. until they close the joint.

Friday, July 30th: “Stumbling Distance with Joey and Wendy”, Grendel’s Den, Harvard Square (Cambridge, Mass.)

grendels den

The Ginger Ninja and I are spending the long weekend in Boston and parts surrounding, and we want to catch up with our friends in the area! So we’re declaring a gathering at our favourite Harvard Square hangout and inviting whoever wants to catch up with us for a drink, dinner, conversation or impromptu accordion performance.

It’s at Grendel’s Den, 89 Winthrop Street, Cambridge, MA, on Friday, July 30th and running from 5:30 p.m. to about 1:00 a.m. Join us!

It Happened to Me Toronto (a.k.a. Accordion City)

A Last Minute Sweetup (Saturday, June 26th)

come to the sweetup

Yes, the G20 conference with the protests that go along with it have turned downtown Toronto into “Torontonomo Bay” and the weather’s been bouncing between rainy and gloomy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a nice Saturday evening in Accordion City! The Missus and I have decided to hold a meetup at Sweet Flour Bake Shop (2352 Bloor Street West, just east of Jane) – a sweetup, as she calls it – to enjoy some frozen yogurt and made-to-order cookies.

sweet flour interior

Sweet Flour’s specialty is made-to-order cookies in no time at all. You pick the dough and the “mixins” – from chocolate chips to nuts to fruit to smashed-up Snickers bars – and they’ll bake it into a custom cookie for you in a couple of minutes. There’s also  frozen yogurt, and you can take the mixins for cookies and have them as toppings. They also have other stuff – check out their site for details.


We’re going to be there tonight (Saturday, June 26th) at 8:00 p.m. and we’d like you to join us! See you there!

Life Toronto (a.k.a. Accordion City)

Don’t Forget About FailCamp Toronto 3 – Tuesday, Sept. 29!


FailCamp Toronto 3 is 10 days away! Come join us in our “celebration of fail”. We’ll share stories about the times when things went pear-shaped, got SNAFUed, or just plain failed — and just as important, the lessons we learned from them. And unlike many failures, FailCamp’s admission is free.

For more details about FailCamp, see the FailCamp registration page or this earlier article.

Toronto (a.k.a. Accordion City)

SciBarCamp: March 15th and 16th

Here’s a photo to remind you that SciBarCamp — the unconference where scientists, technologists, artists and other thinkers come together for a weekend of exchanging knowledge and ideas — is just over a month away:

Storefront in London: “Let’s fill this town with scientists”
Photo by Matt “Black Belt” Jones.
Click the photo to see it on its Flickr page.

For more details about SciBarCamp, visit: