Tommy Lee Software development for everyone else

Cooking and Coding Together

Cook and Code 1

So Jimmy Vo and I have a time management problem. We try our best to balance what time we have to:

  • Expand and maintain our social circle
  • Learn new tech stuff or work on side projects
  • Cook and learn more recipes

So he came up with this brilliant idea: A meetup dedicated to cook and code.

Introducing Orlando’s Cook and Code Together

The concept is simple. Developers meet up. We prep some food together, then code. While the food is either marinating or cooking, we work on some personal development, with fellow developers nearby to bounce ideas or get assistance.

Meeting #1: Beef Burgundy

We chose a simple recipe, that takes a while to cook. I grew up eating my dad’s beef burgundy. Sweet, rich, meaty stew that takes an entire day to cook.

We found a recipe that can be cooked within 3 hours. You can find it here:

Beef burgundy recipe

Cook and Code Raw Ingredients

We divided the labor so that everyone can get to cook asap. I chopped up the vegetables, while Jimmy browned the steak chunks. Browning the meat is important in stews, since it adds additional flavor, and preserves some of the texture.

Cook and Code Raw Ingredients

So we threw in all the vegetables, with the water and bottle of wine into a large pot, and left it to cook. I made sure that it didn’t boil over and stirred it around occasionally.

Cook and Code Raw Ingredients

Coding Goals

For our coding session, we made goals that can be achieved by the end of the session. I try to use [S.M.A.R.T] goals as a framework of choosing what to complete.

For Jimmy, he’s playing with Azure and working on hosting his website.

For me, I’m playing with React to create a form page for one of my side projects.

As with any learning experience, we ran into some issues. I ran into some issues with the ES6 Syntax and how CommonJS module loading works. Jimmy’s azure account was having issues, and couldn’t get access to the right areas for deployment.

Around the hour mark, I check on the stew.

Cook and Code Raw Ingredients

We decided to work on figuring out how to get Jimmy’s project deployed. I remembered that .NET Core could be deployed on Ubuntu, so we went ahead and worked on some basic deployment on Ubuntu.

It was a great learning experience for Jimmy, since he’s from a Windows shop. It was some configurations of nginx, and installing .NET Core CLI to the server.

Cook and Code Raw Ingredients

We pick up a lot of small, unwritten things when we work with others. We learn habits from our friends and family, lessons from our mistakes. I passed down some of my experience doing sysadmin stuff, and deploying stuff on Linux. We learned from repeated errors trying to get the site to run.

In cooking, I made a great mistake with the initial prep for the stew. Instead of seeing the meat slowly get softer, but remain in one piece, the meat started breaking apart. The sweet, winey liquid I expected was non-existent.

I forgot to coat the meat in flour.

So we had braised beef instead.

Cook and Code Raw Ingredients

Lessons Learned for a Successful Cook and Code

So with a completed work, and a full stomach, we call the inaugural Cook and Code Together a success! We learned some new recipes to serve and food prep, and expanded what we knew and had something to work towards in the future.

Some recommendations we have for others:

  • Choose a recipe you haven’t tried yet
  • Divide the labor
  • Set measurable goals

Cook and Code Schedule Template

We follow the following time-line for most cook and codes.

  • 11:00 AM - Event Start and meal prep and cook. Social time and people get together.
  • 11:30 AM - Start coding. Waiting until the food is ready.
  • 02:00 PM - Food is served.
  • 03:00 PM - Clean up.

We have another cook and code coming up soon. We usually keep it small so that the group can work together well. While we can divide up the cooking for just one person, working together on the recipe lets everyone share in the experience.

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