Last week I announced the little Stack Exchange Challenge that I’d designed for myself. In this post I will be doing the first episode, featuring the Cooking Stack Exchangesite. This post should be the first in a series. I’ll try to stick to a format, though it may evolve a little over the episodes.
Important note: in all cases, I try to go through the site and actually contribute as a well-behaved member of the community. I’d love to be able to ask questions, answer some, and will up and downvote if it seems appropriate; but only if it is appropriate! Afterwards, I’ll summarize:
- The questions I may have asked.
- The answers I may have given.
- Some questions that I found interesting and subsequently upvoted.
- Noteworthy “community wiki” questions and answers.
- A conclusion.
So, let’s move on to the Cooking site.
First up, the current “fun facts” for this particular sub-site:
|Questions with no upvoted answers||56 (1.05%)|
|FAQ (questions with most links)||1,617|
|Top 3 questions||134 votes, 72 votes, 59 votes|
|Questions active last hour||3|
|All-time rep for top 3 users||27.6k, 23.4k, 19.1k|
Not the biggest SE site, but still a decent volume of knowledge.
To be honest, my choice to do Cooking SE for the first episode was because I wanted to answer a particular question. When I wanted to do so it turned out that I needed to have earned at least 10 rep before I was even allowed to answer that question. Not to worry though, there were two actual questions I still had from my own cooking experiments in the past few weeks, so I came up with these:
- What happens to pasta dough when it is run multiple times through the machine? While writing the question I just about found the answer, but I asked it nonetheless. Glad I did, because the answer further explained what was behind all of it.
- Is there any trick to make a palindrome-cocktail? A few weeks ago I had several failed attempts at this, and to be honest I’d given up hope. Writing out why, and a question asking for specific tricks helped me regain confidence that this could in fact be done. The answers so far give hope!
This section was the reason I picked Cooking SE first: I was very eager to provide an answer with empirical evidence for one particular question:
- Is it possible to cook a whole fish in a dishwasher? And here’s my answer with a full recipe, photo’s, and final conclusion that “yes”, it’s possible! The picture you see on the side of this blog post is a compilation of the ones in that answer.
My wife and I were laughing uncontrollably when it turned out the experiment was successful. It was extremely fun to write this particular answer. Afterwards, I felt the urge to thank the creators of Stack Exchange, and so I did via Twitter. To my surprise and excitement @CodingHorror a.k.a. Jeff Atwood almost immediately retweeted this to his 65,000 (!) followers. What followed were several retweets, favorites, upvotes for the answers, and wonderful direct responses about my answer. This made me realize: I love the interwebs!
There were several very interesting questions on this site for a home chef. Don’t expect any recipes (which are probably subjective and thus off-topic), but do expect very practical tips. Some questions I enjoyed:
- Why do tomatoes get so hot?
- How can I safely improve my cutting technique?
- How can I prevent dough from wrapping around a dough hook?
At first sight, there was just one real “ultimate list” question that caught my eye:
The Q&A format of Stack Exchange seems perfect for a particular type of cooking questions. Once you’re used to the fact that things like recipe-requests are off-topic you’ll start to appreciate the practical aspect of this site.
Probably because it’s a sister site to things like Stack Overflow, several top users note in their bio that they’re “fulltime computer guy, part-time amateur chef“. That probably means I’m going to have a lot of fun there!