Chocolate chip cookie recipes are a dime a dozen. Search for the term “chocolate chip cookie recipe” and you’ll find page after page of recipe results almost as formidable The Wall itself. Even now, as I write this, I had gone through 20 pages before I saw results that weren’t that relevant. Most recipes, not surprisingly, start looking like one another—flour as a base, baking soda, sugar, butter, and chocolate chips.
A few years ago, while searching chocolate chip cookie recipes, I came across one recipe that struck me as quite unique. It wasn’t unique so much in what was being made; I was just looking to make chocolate chip cookies. The appeal of this recipe came from the way it was developed as well as how it was written.
The recipe is for a Mean Chocolate Chip Cookie. Mean, of course, has a double meaning here—average and darn tasty. It was developed by Meg Hourihan, a self proclaimed geek who decided to create a new and somewhat comical chocolate chip recipe by averaging the top 26 recipes she found.
I still remember this recipe to this day as it’s the only one that calls for 1.61 sticks of butter prepared in three different ways (room temperature soft, cold, and melted).
Although I haven’t had the chance to make it, I would love to pull out a veritable chemistry set to measure out things like exactly 1.46 teaspoons of vanilla extract, 2.04 cups of flour, and 0.17 tablespoons of water. Later, I’m sure I would enjoy pre-heating the oven to “354.17°F, or as close as you can get,” leaving some cookies intentionally cooking off and on parchment paper, and tasting the delicate morsels.
Read through the recipe and you’ll find a piece of content that, not only makes a more bland topic, into something enjoyable to read, but turns baking chocolate chip cookies into an engaging experience.
What’s not to enjoy with all of these decimals involved? Who wouldn’t love to try and set aside a 0.5313 stick of melted butter?
By taking the average of the recipes found and reproducing it in the slightly humorous manner, Meg was able to speak and engage with her audience of fellow geeky cooks in a way that a standard recipe would not. Even for those not especially fond of all the numbers involved, the mere fact that she made light of the very real problem of information overload (with 26 great recipes) made for content that was a much more impactful fare.
How can you cook-up similar results with your content?
Spice up your content with just the right amount of geekiness.
To be a geek is to, according to the Oxford Dictionary, “be or become extremely excited or enthusiastic about a subject.” Although fellow geeks will appreciate what you write; for the average person, consuming content with too much excitement or enthusiasm can be a quick way for them to search for the nearest exit. Overdone content can be too full of jargon or have excessive in-group references. Content lacking a drizzling of one’s geeky personality, meanwhile, can come off as bland and uninspired.
Do a barrel-roll. Aim for the middle!
When writing, allow your geeky personality to slip through every now and then—think titration in chemistry. At first, it may be hard to insert your interests more or, on the flip side, hold it back enough. For the latter, letting friends (who aren’t as knowledgeable about your geeky interests) read and understand what you’re producing can be a good way of understanding if the content is too dense.
For those who find it hard to add their personality into the mix, I’ve found that the easiest way of spicing up content with geekiness is to do just that, finish it with pizazz. After you’ve created the content the way you want it, you can go back and inject details that both fellow geeks and non-geeky people will appreciate for a depth of reasons.
It’s this depth that will get your content to shine like a diamond in the rough.
Let your geeky side show. Unfurl your Gryffindor flag, open up your Tardis, let slip a few words of Elvish. Toss this all into the batter (that is your content) like you would add salt (not too much, not too little) and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
As you produce more content of this nature, the very act of practicing makes more permanent. Before you know it, you too will be able to create your own Mean Chocolate Chip Cookies to perfection with—dare I say it—no graduated cylinder.
Back to the kitchen I go to cook up more geeky things! ?