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The Hungry Scientist Handbook: Electric Birthday Cakes, Edible Origami, and Other DIY Projects for Techies, Tinkerers, and Foodies Paperback – September 23, 2008


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The Hungry Scientist Handbook: Electric Birthday Cakes, Edible Origami, and Other DIY Projects for Techies, Tinkerers, and Foodies + Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks, and Good Food + Culinary Reactions: The Everyday Chemistry of Cooking
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; First Printing edition (September 23, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061238686
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061238680
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 7.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #111,772 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

This amusing how-to may be more fun to page through than to put into practice. A collaboration by mechanical engineer Buckley, Binns, and a group of self-proclaimed techie geeks, the book presents projects using scientific principles (and, often, long lists of supplies) to create edible products. There is a lollipop formed around an LED light, bread baked with wild yeast, and a giant polyhedron formed from separate sheets of pecan pie. Additionally, there are projects made with food-related items, such as a measuring spoon stethoscope and a Tupperware iPod boom box. Directions are clear and well illustrated. However, this is not a book for children: some projects use sharp tools or dry ice, never mind the instructions and photos for a caramel bikini! Likewise, recipes for beer, wine, and superchilled martinis make this book inappropriate for school libraries. Well done and fun to look at, it nevertheless has limited appeal and is recommended only for large public libraries.—Denise Dayton, Jaffrey Grade Sch., NH
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Patrick Buckley, a graduate of MIT, has worked at Lawrence Livermore Laboratories as a mechanical engineer. When not tinkering or inventing, he can be found kiteboarding, paragliding, or training for Ironman triathlons. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.



Lily Binns is a writer and a producer for the dance company Pilobolus. She lives in Brooklyn.


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Customer Reviews

Unfortunately, the title is misleading.
Lady
Very little of this book actually has anything to do with food, or creating food.
B. Stewart
I was given this book and have really enjoyed reading it and the projects in it.
Justin SB

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 45 people found the following review helpful By J. Williamson on December 16, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Not a bad book, and a good DIY/"Fun with Science" textbook. I feel that the book overhypes the "Fun in the kitchen!" idea. The majority of projects in the book are more Junior High science, less "exciting projects for foodies." There's 19 chapters, and only five or so would appeal to food-lovers. Most of these are basic electronic projects that are only loosely kitchen-focused (the least interesting was "make a trivet out of intergrated circuits!") Some of the projects are only tangentally food-related at all (a megaphone in a soda bottle, a pinhole camera in a pumpkin).

And it's not really appropriate for a junior high science class, either, with an emphasis on alcohol and "edible undies" for the opening chapter, this seems to be a book without a really strong sense of audience. If at all possible, open a copy and thumb through it before buying, I'm not really sure who this book is directed at.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By J. V. Cormier on September 23, 2008
Format: Paperback
What great fun!! It's the baking soda volcano and the soda bottle tornado -- TIMES 100!!!! This book is rife with clever ideas that will leave you hankering for more time in the kitchen! Between sending my husband out for supplies and bringing my creations over to my neighbors, I don't think I've had this much fun in the kitchen since the renovation of 2002 - when I was literally sledge hammering my way through the bane-of-my-existence formica that had been drilling holes in my psyche for over a decade. THAT is the kind of fun this book restores to your kitchen-weary soul!
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Justin SB on October 1, 2008
Format: Paperback
I'm a very difficult person to buy presents for, and normally end up with things I don't really want. I was given this book and have really enjoyed reading it and the projects in it.

There's enough here to keep me entertained for many weekends, and I highly recommend it as a present for others!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A. Polvi on October 29, 2008
Format: Paperback
Coming from a science background, I really enjoyed this book. It has a nice set of fun "experiments" and DIY projects that kept me and dinner guests thoroughly entertained. This book is meant for people that truly like to play with their food.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kimi B. on December 12, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was really hoping to love this book, but I found most of the projects to be unattainable. There weren't many projects (I'm more used to cookbooks with come packed with recipes and activities). I'd seen all the best projects elsewhere. And, to be honest, I thought there would be more interesting stuff to do with food.

I did like the writing and I will keep it on my shelf for that mythical day when I can actually do more of the projects.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lady on January 2, 2012
Format: Paperback
My husband and I would classify ourselves as both techies and foodies, which is why I purchased the book. Unfortunately, the title is misleading. There are very few food recipes, the authors choosing to instead give ink to the science of making megaphones and tile coasters. The photographic style seems to be intentionally 70's, which is also a bit disconcerting. With the modern chefs placing increased focus on the "science" of molecular gastronomy, this book greatly misses the mark. It simply makes no sense to title the book as "The Hungry Scientist Handbook," nor to highlight the food aspect of the book. There are really no recipes here that would serve as a food way to explore the science of cooking, food, and/or the marriage of the two. If you're into science, this might be fun. If you're into food, you're better off going hungry.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By K. Eckert on May 3, 2010
Format: Paperback
I got this book on loan from my dad who thought I would really enjoy it. As a chemist and someone who enjoys food, I did enjoy the quirkiness of this book.

This book is an interesting read and more of a coffee table type book than a reference book. The twenty projects featured in it vary widely: from folding wonton wrappers into cranes, to a solar powered temperature sensing coaster, to edible underwear. This is a project book focused on the adult crowd: many projects feature alcohol or already mentioned edible underwear, all projects would require adult help or supervision.

While all of the projects are interesting, most of them do not focus on novel science. Mostly they are just using well known science with food somehow. For example a number of projects feature liquid nitrogen or dry ice to make liquids bubble; this is something we do all the time at our yearly Halloween party. Each of the projects do feature small asides that provide some interesting info about the food or the science behind it.

My biggest complaint about this book is that you won't be able to do the majority of these projects without running out to purchase a number of specialty items. Many of them require soldering tools, electronics, or other strange items. For example the LED birthday cake requires edible silver varak leaf (they do list a source for this in the back of the book). So while an amusing read, most of these experiments would take a lot of work to pull off at home and to be honest, most of them probably aren't worth the effort.

Overall I liked the book and thought it was amusing. It would make a great coffee table book. As far as a book for practical projects you can do at home, this book leaves something to be desired.
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