In telling my friends and family about my audition for MAKE Mag’s TV project, this question has popped up dozens of times. Up ’til now I’ve taken the term for granted. The idea of “making” is kind of implicit, but trying to describe it as a modern-day cultural movement is a completely different story and you realize how young it really is. I think the maker movement as we know it now was really “born” once it was given a name. This article sheds some light on its origins.

Early Morning Baking and Book Review

Greetings you pressers of words, you conquerors of the day, you digesters of food and thought! Early riser or fellow insomniac, it’s 8am on a Tuesday morning here at HTTASocks and you know what that means: I’ve been up all night and it’s time to blog… and bake… and blog about baking!

Banana bread — the go-to solution to salvage one of nature’s most conveniently-prepackaged fruits from the brink of turning to mush due to sadness and neglect. (Sorry, little buddies.)

Not being much of a baker, I had never made banana bread before and had no recipe on stand-by. I do however happen to have a go-to kitchen aid in my library — How to Cook Everything: The Basics by NY Times columnist and best-selling author Mark Bittman.

Its a nifty little book that covers… well… the basics of cooking everything (it’s hard to describe the book better than its title does). Bittman’s writing is clear and casual and the kitchen topics he covers are broad enough for a beginner. The recipes he includes really are quite basic and presented in a way that is easy to follow.

And pictures! Pictures abound! I have come across too many recipe books with scant pictoral documentation. They were useful but ultimately just boring and eventually disposable. When you’re just starting out in the kitchen or treading into new culinary territory, a visual reference at crucial points can mean the difference between soup and slop, crepe and crap, filet mignon or a filet of flaming death and destruction. (I started making beef and onions once and ended up conjuring a skillet-to-ceiling column of flame.)

I think the root problem for those who have trouble in the kitchen is that they aren’t taught how to think in the kitchen. It’s easy to find a recipe online for just about anything, but for some it’s like trying to pass Calculus 3 with a vague recollection of what happened in basic Algebra — you can follow the steps easy enough and learn to repeat them on command, but ultimately you have no idea what the fuck is going on and you panic to the point of pissing your pants the day before the final which you somehow pass by the skin of your teeth only to end up having to take Ordered Differential Equations the next semester… Scary, right?

What I’m trying to say is that this book provides an excellent base upon which one can build and eventually branch out.

I’m not a chef, and I never have been… None of which has gotten in the way of my mission to get people cooking simply, comfortably, and well. ~ Mark Bittman (source: http://content.markbittman.com/about-me)

I appreciate this approach to cooking and writing. I’m not a chef either; I’m just a guy who likes to eat well, and who can’t afford to have someone else cook for me all the time. Aside from it being a rather vital skill, I rather enjoy cooking.

Oh, and here’s the result of this morning’s efforts.

397555_10100141121712859_1902137251_n402305_10100141132625989_413006652_n

I have to say it turned out much better than I expected. After failing the first two toothpick tests, it browned a little too much on the outside. But ultimately I saved those poor little bananas from an unfulfilled life.

More kitchen adventures to come, but for now enjoy the rest of your morning, Interweb!

My MAKE Gallery

Here’s a quick look at my personal projects so far. More details behind each one to come (either in blog or video form).

As you can see, most of my builds are quick, economical fixes for an immediate need. And the rest of my projects serve as an outlet for my geeky, nerdy, foodie, creative side.

Halloween '10. Ever wonder where tetriminos come from? Why time travelling miners of course!T-block made of cardboard, duct tape, and sandpaper. Goggles made of cardboard, plastic bottle caps, and spray paint. Hammer bought from Home Depot

Halloween ’10. Ever wonder where tetriminos come from? Why time travelling miners of course!
T-block made of cardboard, duct tape, and sandpaper.
Goggles made of cardboard, plastic bottle caps, and spray paint.
Hammer bought from Home Depot

Inspired by other designs. Needed something that didn't take up too much space for my mis-matched knife-sets.

Inspired by other designs. Needed something that didn’t take up too much space for my mis-matched knife-sets.

Warms and amplifies the sound from my droid. Plywood and glue. (Should use craftboard in the future)

Warms and amplifies the sound from my droid. Plywood and glue. (Should use craftboard in the future)

Cheap and quick build for a small space. Plywood and Cardboard V-Channels on IKEA drawers.

Cheap and quick build for a small space. Plywood and Cardboard V-Channels on IKEA drawers.

Designed specifically as a helping hand for my projects. Provides a place to clamp and saw through at a convenient height.Later turned into a bench/coffee table.

Designed specifically as a helping hand for my projects before I had a proper work table. Provides a place to clamp and saw through at a convenient height.
Later turned into a bench/coffee table.

Perfect for someone who works alone.

Perfect for someone who works alone.

Custom design. I needed to depth but not surface area.

Custom design. I needed to depth but not surface area.

Beginners work bench with drafters inlay. Places to clamp down vertically and horizontally. Practiced joint-work. Most solid thing I've ever built.

Beginners work bench with drafters inlay. Places to clamp down vertically and horizontally. Practiced joint-work. Most solid thing I’ve ever built.

Upgrade from the plastic tubs my mattress had been resting on.

Upgrade from the plastic tubs my mattress had been resting on.

2 work cubes and the top I originally built for my floating shallow desk.

2 work cubes and the top I originally built for my floating shallow desk.

Had to bake on the fly in a high school gym.

Had to bake on the fly in a high school gym.

Math can be delicious.

Math can be delicious.

Made for my foodie friend's law school formal

Made for my foodie friend’s law school formal

Doctor Who-inspired stencils, Target clock with electrical tape, prop from Halloween '10

Doctor Who-inspired stencils, Target clock with electrical tape, prop from Halloween ’10