[hackerspaces] Let's end the unnecessary joining of the words "food" and "hacking"

Ben Brown ben at generik.ca
Mon Jan 27 20:14:19 CET 2014

I'd submit that a computer hacker is often defined as a person that
makes a program or process do something outside of it's original
intended purpose. Perhaps a food hacker is a person who can make
sustenance from materials that aren't intended to be used as such.

That person is certainly not me. If I were to consider myself a food
hacker, it's because I'm not very good at cutting vegetables or trimming
meat. Perhaps that means I'm just a food butcherer.


On 1/27/2014 1:17 AM, Kevin Mitnick wrote:
> Hi everyone,
> I am going to open this e-mail thread up with the following definition
> from the Oxford dictionary:
> "[...] gain unauthorized access to data in a system or computer
> [...] a piece of computer code providing a quick or inelegant solution
> to a particular problem"
> Source: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/hack?q=hacking
> I then go and look up the definition of "food hacking" and the best I
> can find is this description from Reddit:
> "Food hacks is a place to share quick and simple tips on making food
> that has more flavor, more nutritional value, or both"
> Source: http://www.reddit.com/r/FoodHacks
> Let's look at this real closely here:
> - Where does "food hacking" come into play where we're getting
> unauthorized access to something?
> - Where does "food hacking" provide a quick or inelegant solution to a
> particular problem?
> - How does the Reddit definition of "food hacking" fit into these
> previous questions?
> - Why do people who are playing with their food want to be a part of
> the hacking scene? What should we call it?
> To address the first question, I am not seeing how "unauthorized
> access" is occurring here. When we go and buy a head of lettuce or a
> box of cereal, likely we've paid for it or if we haven't, it wasn't
> stolen from some other hungry person. All we're doing when we're
> playing with our food is making it, baking it, cooking it, and or
> eating it.
> Does "food hacking" provide an inelegant solution to a particular
> problem? Not really. When you make food you're making it, not hacking
> it. Perhaps "hacking" could apply if you're inelegantly taking apart a
> steak or some sort of fruit or vegetable, but at no point are you
> providing a solution to a problem. Is the invention of modern fast
> food a "food hack" by that standard? Or is the gradual adoption of
> automated convenience stores that provide you with whatever without
> any human intervention other than your own a "food hack"? It does
> allow for a quick solution to getting your food.
> If we look at how Reddit defines a "food hack", we see that we're
> making food with more flavor or better nutritional value. If I go buy
> some Hamburger Helper and add avocado to it or add whey protein to
> chocolate milk, is that "hacking"? What if I make some Betty Crocker
> cake and add whey to that instead? Is that a "food hack"? Because of
> the vagueness that the Reddit definition provides and the definition
> of what "hacking" is, why don't we call it baking, cooking, or mixing?
> Do we call chefs or my dad cooking on the barbecue with his "secret
> sauce" a food hacker?
> I get the impression that people who call themselves "food hackers"
> call themselves that because they want to be considered a part of the
> "hacker movement". Why don't those of you who identify with this
> moniker just call yourself a "cook", "chef", "baker", "maker", or
> whatever instead? Why don't you instead call the food "food" or if you
> really want it to be associated with the hacker scene, "food for
> hackers"? Is that hard? You're not a hacker and you dilute the term
> for those of us who are hackers.
> Food for thought. Do not take offense to this if you find it hits too
> close to home. 
> Kevin Mitnick
> (May or may not be the Kevin you think I am)
> _______________________________________________
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> Discuss at lists.hackerspaces.org
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