Monday, November 14, 2005

Cooking for Scientists

I've always said - never trust a scientist who cannot cook. The processes involved in the lab and in the kitchen are so amazingly similar, it's difficult to fathom that someone who is adept at one cannot do the other. Of course, interest, exposure, and practice are key to both experimental science and cooking, but those scientists who say they love to eat, yet claim no skills in the kitchen - I'm not so sure about them. For example, take my friends, Anne and Jutta - both are excellent scientists who are very skilled cooks.

My beloved scientist-boss had us over for a party this past Saturday night, and boy, was it full of epicurean debauchery to prove my point! She had created a gorgeous buffet of delicious offerings - veggie and chicken enchiladas and poached salmon with a bean & corn relish. She also served crab cakes that were really made out of crab (unlike many restaurant versions that are more like bread crumb cakes with a dash of crab). Everything was spectacular, so much so that my friend's wife was genuinely surprised by how my boss manages everything from her high-powered lab leadership position to producing delicious, healthy meals. The veggie enchiladas had a strong flavorful mushroom scent to them and the texture contrast of the cheese filling and the full-bodied mushrooms was absolutely delicious. With my appetite, I'm sure it's not difficult to imagine how I was the last one to finish eating and how I had seconds of each dish...

The evening showcased one of the greatest thing about the lab I work in now - how international our group is. We've got Chinese, Japanese, Australian, German citizens in the generally foreign-unfriendly environment of the Big Lab. In addition, we had fellow scientists from Norway and Belgium. Jutta brought a little bit of German spirit to the party with her delicate German Black Forest Chocolate Cake. The balance of cream, sugar, and the fruity sourness of the cherries highlighted her skills as baker!

We also had a Belgian beer tasting as the entertainment for the evening!

To contribute a little taste of Japan, I made some modified California rolls with canned crab in avocado-wasabi-mayonnaise and cucumber slices. I figured out that making the inside-out rolls with rice on the outside wasn't so difficult, so I made a bunch of black and white rolls. Luckily, one of the Bear Cubs and Anne was on hand to help me with the rolling!

The evening was absolutely wonderful and the perfect way to spend a Saturday night after a rather stressful week. I was so very stressed out on Friday night that I had one of my worst cases of road rage... Poor Anne, who was a prisoner in my car, now joins the exclusive membership of people who live to tell stories of why not to catch me when I am stressed out... But now, I'm rejuvenated and ready to take on the new work week! Oh, please, please, please, let my experiments work this week!!!

Yeh, the title of this post is a knock-off of Cooking for Engineers...

1 comment:

The Papa Bear said...

The chocolate cake picture looks so good that it prompted me to go rummaging in the fridge.

I wish that you have a productive week at work this week, The Baby Bear.