I love to cook. You’ve probably already gotten that idea from some of the insane cooking that I’ve posted here. I learned how to cook in general as a kid, helping The Mothership in the kitchen with Thanksgiving dinner and other such things. However, at some point I moved byond my mother’s recipes into a realm that I would call food-hacking.
This was a curry related food hack. It was delicious!
I tried to find some type of definition for food hacking, but I couldn’t, so I’m going to try and define it for you. I think that food hacking is when you take existing recipes, that in theory work just fine, and change them around to suit your needs most effectively. You get off recipes, and therefore, it’s a hack. What I want to do today is suggest some ways to just start getting into food hacking and get our creative juices flowing in the food department.
First of all, to be a great food hacker you will need some great cooking ideas. I find that the best way to get such things is on blogs and recipe websites. For general all around ideas, food.com (used to be receipzaar) has everyone’s mom’s homemade everything. This is a site where everyone can upload their recipes. It’s a great place to compare three or four perfect recipes for whatever it is you want to make. Another good site if you want to try new and interesting ingredients is Brokeass Gourmet. She even breaks it down for your budget. For the cost of a few related emails every week, you can also check out Kraft and Betty Crocker online. They have great ideas using their products, which are easy to hack with less expensive replicants.
These were the chocolatiest chocolate button cookies I ever made!
Food hacks involve a variety of different things. You can hack for time or convenience. You can hack to make things healthier or just fresh ingredients (I intend to hack a friend’s velveeta queso sometime in the near future to make it with real cheese!). You can hack to make something allergy friendly! I pretty much have to hack everything gluten-free nowadays or I feel like crap all the time.
Also, learn about why recipes work. Understanding the chemistry of your food is as important to a good food hack as understanding the computer connections to a computer hack. Get nerdy and ask questions! For example, a sauce needs a base, a sweet, an acid, and spices. Knowing that, I can hack up a pretty good Pad Thai sauce with pretty simple ingredients.
The best way to start hacking is just making small substitutions in recipes you already use. Try new ingredients or cook things differently. Test them out and see what you like. Eventually, you will get the hang of making replacements and be able to work only from vague ideas and not full recipes at all.
That’s enough to get you started in the world of food hacking, and if this is a topic you all might be interested, I would be glad to also put together more specific How-To’s on hacking things for health, for allergies, and for budget. What do you want to know about food hacking?
Just one final food hacking note, if you are a food hacker yourself, you should contribute to the new and currently in production Geek Cookbook! Go here to submit recipes to be part of the Geek Food Revolution!