Friday Faves – The Original Bean

Hope everyone had a good week and is looking forward to the weekend! As you’re reading this, Hubby and I are up in Maine for a ski trip. Today’s featured blogger for Friday Favs is someone I met online while planning our wedding back when we lived in Cincinnati. Jene from The Original Bean and I both booked the same photographer and her family appears on Steph Carson’s photography blog on a regular basis. Jene is a Yankee’s fan, but her Hubby Charlie is a Red Sox fan. I enjoy hearing about the randomness going on in Jene’s life and I especially love the stories about her son, little Charlie. He’s a real cutie.

Hello there! I’m lucky number four on Friday Favs. Lucky for me, anyway, because 4 is one of my favorite numbers. My name is Jene, and my blog is called The Original Bean. I’m not hugely interesting, but I like to pretend that I am. I’m geeky, I work with data, I’m obsessed with baseball (Let’s go Yankees!), and I’m an east coast transplant who is apparently stuck in Cincinnati until the end of time. My favorite TV show ever is the X-Files, but when no one is looking I watch The Real Housewives and 90210 re-runs. I have an awesome husband and an awesome two-year-old son, Charlie. I use the word “awesome” too much. I’m training to run a full marathon in May (3 months and 3 days from now!!) even though I’ve never run a single race in my life.

I’d share my food philosophy with you, but I’m not really a food blogger. Sure, I have a recipe tag on my blog, but most of them are geared toward the under three crowd. Unless you have a serious craving for Lilypad Pancakes, you’re probably not going to find anything too fancy. Now, that’s not to say that I don’t cook. My KitchenAid gets a pretty regular workout. I even wrote a song about her. I love baking, I’m a tomato sauce expert, and I make a mean gnocchi.

In full disclosure, it’s my husband Charlie who does most of the hardcore cooking. I do the baking and the veggies. I’m a lucky girl! He’s not a chef by training, he’s an engineer. A real, technical, by-the-book, geeky engineer. So, in honor of Beantown’s engineering roots, I’ve decided to tell you a little bit about what it’s like to live with (and cook alongside!) an engineer.

The first thing to keep in mind is that engineers know everything. Everything. Everything about everything. Charlie is pretty much a walking Harold McGee reference book. Yes, it can be annoying, but at least you know that you’re always getting accurate information. You also get the top-notch equipment. That’s how I ended up with the Pro 5 KitchenAid (her name is Mixie – bonus points if you get the musical reference).

The second thing to keep in mind is that nothing ever has a simple solution. You want to make homemade yogurt? No problem! Most people would either buy a yogurt maker or whip up a little one-bowl batch. An engineer? They would build a contraption five times larger and one hundred times more complicated than that from spare parts and pieces lying around the basement.

The third basic thing to know about cooking with an engineer is that failure is never an option. Case in point? The disaster of Thanksgiving, 2010. We had planned an awesome menu: applewood bacon stuffing, smoked gouda and gruyere mac and cheese, rosemary-garlic mashed potatoes, green beans, brioche rolls, two kinds of cranberry sauce, and apple-cranberry pie. Oh, and prime rib, because our dinner guests don’t like turkey. I got up early and baked the (homemade!) pie. Two hours later, I preheated the oven for the stuffing. When I opened the door to put the pan in, I was met with a shower of sparks coming from the electric element. I did what any normal person would do – I started screaming, slammed the door, grabbed the phone and the kid and the grandma and hauled butt out the front door to call 911. Charlie did what any non-normal person engineer would do, threw baking powder (or was it soda?) on the flames, and ran to the basement to cut the power. The fire department was there to condemn our stove within five minutes (Toddler Charlie was so excited to see the firetruck that he peed his pants in the driveway. If you’re a parent, you appreciate that part of the story).

At that point, I was ready to throw in the towel and head to IHOP. But not Charlie. He dug out his ceramic hotplate from the basement laboratory (no chemicals on this one!) and set it up on the counter. Between that and the grill (in the pouring rain, no less!) we had a lovely dinner. Minus the brioche, which didn’t fare so well in the cast iron pan (which is probably a good thing, since if you cook in cast iron too often you can get iron poisoning. or something like that. see point #1).

So there you have it – a first person account of what it’s like to cook with an engineer in the kitchen. Fun times outside of the kitchen too, including being privy to such random facts as different LED colors freeze at different temperatures, your windshield freezes at night because it faces space, and a detailed (and illustrated!) description of why running is bad for your knees.

Come by and visit me any time! I guarantee a lot of random trains of thought and a really good recipe every so often :)


Be sure to check out all of my favorite bloggers as they are featured on Friday Favs!

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5 Responses to “Friday Faves – The Original Bean”

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    Daisy — January 28, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    Jen hope you have a fun weekend at Sunday River!! Jene great to read about your life with an engineer in the kitchen. sounds like its always an adventure!

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    lisleman — January 28, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    found the post that’s missing some links to it.
    You don’t need to be an engineer to throw baking soda on a fire just someone who doesn’t panic. But the yogurt machine and hotplate now that’s interesting engineering. I’m guessing a chemical or materials type engineer. LED colors have different temperatures but I don’t think they freeze. Maybe I need to learn more about LEDs which will be showing up more and more in our life.

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    Megan — January 28, 2011 at 9:57 pm

    Mixie – Sublime? I need a new KitchenAid so it’s good to know you’re happy with that one. And I think I need a gnocchi lesson from you.

    (Jen – hope you are having fun skiing!)

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    Katie — January 29, 2011 at 11:44 am

    Fun feature! I was able to overlook the fact that it’s from a Yankees fan…. :)

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    Tasha Lehman — January 30, 2011 at 1:51 am

    I feel like we are the same person. I have a little boy named Charlie who would be the kid peeing his pants over the fire truck sighting and I’m married to an engineer who would really love to get his hands on my kitchen aid to “make it better”. I so get you. :)

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