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Hungry Scientist Handbook: Electric Birthday Cakes, Edible Origami, and Other DIY Projects for Techies, Tinkerers, and Foodies
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Hungry Scientist Handbook: Electric Birthday Cakes, Edible Origami, and Other DIY Projects for Techies, Tinkerers, and Foodies

4.8 36
by Patrick Buckley, Lily Binns

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Inventive, (mostly) edible DIY gadgets and projects guaranteed to captivate

The Hungry Scientist Handbook brings DIY technology into the kitchen and onto the plate. It compiles the most mouthwatering projects created by mechanical engineer Patrick Buckley and his band of intrepid techie friends, whose collaboration on


Inventive, (mostly) edible DIY gadgets and projects guaranteed to captivate

The Hungry Scientist Handbook brings DIY technology into the kitchen and onto the plate. It compiles the most mouthwatering projects created by mechanical engineer Patrick Buckley and his band of intrepid techie friends, whose collaboration on contraptions started at a memorable 2005 Bay Area dinner party and resulted in the formation of the Hungry Scientist Society—a loose confederation of creative minds dedicated to the pursuit of projects possessing varying degrees of whimsy and utility.

Featuring twenty projects ranging from edible origami to glowing lollipops, cryogenic martinis to Tupperware boom boxes, the book draws from the expertise of programmers, professors, and garden-variety geeks and offers something to delight DIYers of all skill levels.

Editorial Reviews

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

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HarperCollins Publishers
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7.26(w) x 11.38(h) x 0.59(d)

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The Hungry Scientist Handbook

Electric Birthday Cakes, Edible Origami, and Other DIY Projects for Techies, Tinkerers, and Foodies

By Patrick Buckley
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
Copyright © 2008

Patrick Buckley
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780061238680

Chapter One

Edible Undies

* Lace-Up caramel lingerie

We had purely scientific intentions when we went into development for an edible lingerie prototype. Seriously—haven't you ever wondered how a chocolate thong works? We asked our fashionista-inventor friend Jenna Phillips if she knew how to go about designing undergarments suitable for salivation and mastication. Needless to say, we were very pleased by her invention.

Caramel candy is formed by caramelizing sugar, or heating it until the sucrose molecules break down into different compounds, which become darker in color and toastier in flavor the longer they're cooked. The more you heat, let cool, and reheat the caramel, the stronger it will become—though you probably shouldn't count on this lace holding up all night. Then again, it's not really meant to last.


10-inch plastic-coated icing bag
A variety of small-opening decorating tips for icing
Wax paper or silicone mats
Lingerie, to use as template
Felt-tip pen


1 stick butter
11⁄8 cups light brown sugar
½ cup dark Karo syrup
½ cup condensedmilk
¾ tsp vanilla extract

1. To create a template, stretch a piece of lingerie out over a sheet of wax paper and trace its outline with the felt-tip pen. Fold the paper in half to check that its shape is symmetrical. Attach the smallest tip to the nonstick icing bag and set aside.

2. To concoct the caramel, combine the butter and sugar in a double boiler or a heavy-bottomed pan. Add the Karo syrup and evaporated milk. Stirring constantly, cook over low heat until the mixture starts to thicken. Test the thickness by spooning threads of it onto a piece of wax paper. After it cools for 5 minutes, the caramel should be pliable, but not too liquid; runny enough to pass through the small tip of the icing bag but thick enough to hold its shape.

3. Holding the icing bag in a dish towel to prevent it from burning your hands, spoon about 1⁄2 cup of hot caramel into the bag. Fold down the top of the bag to close it, and, squeezing from the top down, drizzle the caramel in a lacy pattern within your template.

4. The caramel will quickly start to cool in the bag. When it becomes too viscous to pass through the tip, scrape it back out with a spoon into the pot on the stove, and reheat it until it's runny again. You will need to reheat the caramel several times. This may seem like a pain, but the reheating becomes important later in the process of creating the lingerie.

5. To attach the different pieces of lacework once the templates have been sufficiently filled out, you will need stronger pieces of caramel to act as connectors. Scrape the caramel that has been reheated several times into the icing bag. Attach a larger decorating tip and squeeze out three long ropes of caramel. Lay them next to one another on the wax paper and braid them.

6. As the braids cool and stiffen, attach them to the top of the lace with dabs of hot caramel. Keep a few longer strips to go around the back. (You will attach these pieces to one another when putting the lingerie on a person.)

7. Now that the lingerie is close to completion, set it in your freezer for 5 to 10 minutes to let it cool and harden. When you remove it from the freezer, it should not feel sticky, and will easily peel off the wax paper.

8. Place the entire piece of lingerie on a mannequin or willing human subject. With small dabs of hot caramel, attach the final connectors. As the lingerie warms to body temperature, it will become pliable, and very sticky. If sticky isn't your style, cook the caramel longer at the beginning. The more it has been cooked, the harder it is, and the slower it melts. Either way, the result is delicious. See the Appendix for a source for more information on candy making and supplies.

See the Appendix for a source for more information on candy making and supplies.

* No lingerie models ­were harmed during the undertaking of this experiment.


Excerpted from The Hungry Scientist Handbook by Patrick Buckley Copyright © 2008 by Patrick Buckley. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet 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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