Halibut steaks. Egg-on-cheese pie. Stuffed eggplant. Pepper steak with baked potatoes. It all sounds good, doesn’t it? It also sounds like the kind of fare you might only get in a fine restaurant, or perhaps in the home of a master chef. What would you say if we told you that each of these recipes come from a book about cooking on car engines? That’s right, car engines.
Sounds crazy, but it’s true. Manifold Destiny is the title of a work by two rebel chefs named Chris Maynard and Bill Scheller. It tells readers everything they would want to know about the fine art of car engine cookery. The pair discuss where to place the food packets (each recipe is prepared inside aluminum foil). They discuss the relative merits of preparing your meal on the exhaust manifold vs. cooking it alongside the air filter. They also cover what parts of the engine you should never use for cooking purposes, like anywhere with external moving parts.
This may sound like a joke, but these guys are serious; and they have a long track record of success to back up their claims. They prepared some scrumptious car-cooked dishes for Katie Couric and Al Roker on the Today show. They also whipped up some shrimp for the mayor of a German town while riding around in his 1956 Cadillac, making the meal directly on the vehicle’s massive engine. When it comes to finding a use for all that wasted heat automobiles create, these guys have it down to a culinary science.
Probably none of this comes as a surprise to veteran truckers, who long ago learned how to heat up cans of stew on their rig’s engines. But Maynard and Scheller have refined the practice by adding their considerable skills as gourmet artisans to the practice. The result is a delicious read that’s a treat for both the eyes and the stomach. Manifold Destiny is well worth checking out.