Engineers deal with a variety of issues daily. This makes them excellent. I'm lucky enough to be married to an engineer, and it has been a real boon. This holiday season, there are a lot of reasons to include an engineer in your cooking and planning. Here are just 5 reasons:
The fifth reasons to include an engineer in your turkey day are dimensional specifications. The reason why? Everything needs to fit, somehow...
You know that the turkey needs to fit in the oven, and that you need enough for everyone. Who better to make sure there is enough to feed your 11 guests (plus the dog) and still be able to fit the turkey in your refrigerator to thaw. With everything else that needs to stay cold for the big holiday (including all of those beverages), making sure everything fits becomes more of a science than anything else. After all, there isn’t anything worse than realizing that you don’t have anywhere to thaw the turkey the day before Thanksgiving.
Who hasn’t been to a Thanksgiving where something was burned or over cooked. Engineers are great problem solvers, and excellent at coming up with strategies on the fly to find and solve issues. In manufacturing, an engineer oftentimes has to solve an issue during production, when every moment of downtime costs a lot of money. Need to carve the turkey quickly? Use a Mechanical Meat Separator. An engineer is sure to come up with a clever solution, so long as the resolution isn’t ‘down it in gravy’.
And if everything is a mess? They'll find an open restaurarant.
Image courtesy Pier22, www.pier22dining.com
Remember the TurDucKen? (here’s a link for those of you who missed the craze) So, if you have a turkey at 19 pounds, with a chicken in a duck stuffed inside of it, and you need to cook it 30 minutes for every 3.4 pounds, at 350 degrees, while also basting it every 25 minutes… sometimes it is good to have someone around who is good at math. And that is just the turkey. With so many dishes to be prepared, and the amount of people showing up never an even number, it can be really handy to have someone who can quickly multiply the ingredient amounts by the servings and number of people. Otherwise, those of us mathematically handicapped need to go and get a calculator and a pencil.
Your family is coming over at noon, but you need to be somewhere at 2 pm, and dinner isn’t until 6 pm, but some of the family need to stay, while others need rides. Your uncle and aunt are flying in at 11 am, but your grandparents need to be picked up by 1 pm for dinner. Your little ones are upset and arguing and the world is coming apart. You need a good planner. An engineer can help.
Engineers have to plan extensive projects with difficult deadlines and organize multiple teams in different disciplines in order to accomplish objectives. Well, a meal with the entire tribe is quite the objective, and it doesn’t hurt to have an engineer around to help put together a plan.
The Turkey needs to be at an internal temperature of 180 before it is done (or 170, or 165, or whatever cook book you have...). You can’t trust that pop-up timer; it’ll betray you every time. You need to use devices, and anytime a device is involved, somehow it gets complicated. You need to take the temperature for yourself, and probably a series of times and take the mean and standard deviation to account for the possibility of an outlier that could make you think the turkey is done early. Yeah, we went there.
An engineer is used to dealing with complex devices, especially in metrology. With crazy outputs that can be mind-bogglingly long text files, an engineer is not afraid to spend 30+ hours picking through the numbers and figuring out what the data means. For Thanksgiving, it’s nice to have an engineer to figure out how to use the advanced temperature gauge with twenty odd buttons to let you know that your turkey is overcooked. Refer back to reason number 4...
So remember, this holiday season, bring an engineer, because you never know what might happen. And if you need some good ideas ofr your engineer, here is a great place to find them: