Feek = Foodie + Geek

This is the last post of the year, and I thought I’d make it a fun one. The word Feek is one that my friend Colin and I made up a few years ago. We were talking about how we were both foodies, and how many other tech guys we knew were also foodies. It struck us that many geeks were foodies; hence, feeks. 

This came up a few weeks ago when I was having dinner with a fellow tech guy. As expected, he is also a foodie (as is his wife) and we got talking about what is it about tech guys (and gals) and food. There seems to be a distinct correlation between the technical arts and the love of food. It manifests itself in many ways, but I think there are some common themes. 

We Love the Science

Technology is a lot about science. We deal with electronics, acoustics, light, particle and wave theory, fluid dynamics and more. So much of what we do is based on science. Even if some of us are less enamored with the pure technical side of it, there is some desire to know more and better understand it. 

Food is very similar. There is a distinct science behind cooking, something Alton Brown taught us well. There is a good reason we sear a roast before roasting (to take full advantage of the Maillard reaction). You can get a better golden crust on your turkey if you start it at 500°, then drop to 350° for the rest of the cooking. We know we have to pull steaks off the grill 5° before our target doneness because carryover will take them the rest of the way. If scrambled eggs look done in the pan, they will be overdone on the plate. So much science! But…

We Love the Art

As much as being a great technical artist is based on knowing the science of what we do, there is also a heavy art component. Knowing what the pre-delay function on your reverb does is one thing; knowing how much to use for each song is another. You may know you need 40 foot-candles of front light to get great video; but sometimes no front light and only side light will suit the mood of the song far better. Getting the gain structure right is important, but so is knowing when to pull back the high hat (OK, that’s almost all the time…).

Great cooking is as much about art as it is science. While we know principles that make certain foods go together, it takes a true artist to break those rules and make something great; like putting peanut butter and jelly on a burger (try it sometime, it rocks!). Only an artist would pickle strawberry slices and put them on top of a pork belly sandwich with baby greens and garlic aioli. For us, it’s not enough to simply get the steak to the right temperature. We want the entire meal to be amazing; and that takes an artist. 

We Love the Complexity

What we do is incredibly complex. Think for a moment about how many decisions you make each weekend, and what the nature of those decisions are. Chances are, you are all over the place. One minute you’re choosing a microphone, the next deciding on the backlight color. The choice of reverb affects how you mix the song, which is based on the orchestration and the skill of the band. So much goes into a great technical performance.

Food is much the same. We don’t like one-dimensional wines (or coffee, or chocolate). Flavors need to be layered skillfully to truly satisfy us. I’ve had BBQ sauce so complex I could A) drink it out of the bottle and B) compare with some of the best wine I’ve ever had. And when we cook ourselves, the challenge of creating a complex dish and getting everything done at the right time thrills us. Yes, we’re Feeks. 

I know guys who structure their time on the road based around great restaurants. OK, I’m one of them. I always plan to land in Dallas at lunch or dinner time so I can go to Hard Eight. I’ve stood in a hotel lobby with six other techs, all with our phones out scouring Yelp and Urban Spoon looking for the best restaurant nearby. We share recommendations on great foodie hangouts. And if you’re ever on the road with a Feek, you can be assured of eating very, very well. 

So here’s to you, fellow Feeks. Don’t forget to share your favorite spots with the rest of us.

Thanks for reading ChurchTechArts this past year. I look forward to an exciting and fun-filled 2015!

Roland

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