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This is America, We Can Fry Anything—Even Water

The hackathon behind "Soylent Dick" now brings you deep fried H2O.
May 25, 2016, 5:28pm
GIF: YouTube

Ahh, frying. That cooking technique that turns anything with a modicum of nutritional value into a golden, delicious, artery corroding treat.

If a food exists, you can bet that people have tried to dunk it in a vat of boiling oil. But now, thank god, some mad scientist has figured out a way to fry the purest, most life-sustaining property there is: water.

As Gizmodo's Sploid pointed out, the trick to deep frying water is something called calcium alginate. Alginic acid was first discovered on British kelp in 1883 by Scottish chemist Dr. E.C.C. Stanford, and was widely used for medical and manufacturing purposes during World War II.

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This gelatinous seaweed derivative is able to encapsulate water inside of a thin, edible membrane—kind of like the agar you probably used in high school biology. Calcium alginate is also commonly used to encase sausages, thicken food, and safely dress wounds. Molecular gastronomists rely on it for "spherification," which is exactly what you think it is, so I won't bother explaining it.

But before you turn your kitchen into a DIY lab, be warned that deep frying water isn't totally safe. Water and oil have a notoriously problematic relationship, and just one tiny hole in the calcium alginate casing could result in a violent oil explosion all over your pretty face. If you must try this at home, we recommend investing in a fryer with a secure lid, like the one used in the video.

Jonathan Marcus unveiled his experiment at this year's Stupid Shit No One Needs and Terrible Ideas "Hackathon" in San Francisco. You might know them for unveiling "Soylent Dick," which, again, is exactly what it sounds like, so I'll let you figure that one out for yourself.

Happy frying, intrepid culinary explorer.