Self Care – Boiled Water Recipe (from Serious Eats) + Comments (For Purposes of Laughter)

This has always made me laugh.

Back when the amazing Serious Eats was still new, and they were testing out the recipes section, Adam Kuban decided to post a detailed, step-by-step recipe for… boiled water. Obviously, it was a joke. And the comments just took it further.

Sadly, the original recipe is gone. However, the wonderful Wayback Machine came to the rescue. So I’m going to quote the recipe, and some choice comments, here for your enjoyment.

Boiling water is essential to many recipes. If you have never cooked before, don’t worry. It is not as difficult as it may appear. This recipe will guide you through the process, even if you have never set foot in a kitchen.

Special equipment: 12-quart stockpot


serves 48, active time 5 minutes, total time varies



Open your cupboard or wherever it is you store your cookware.

Locate a 12-quart stockpot. If you do not have a 12-quart stockpot, you may use whatever size pot you have; in that event, keep in mind that serving size here is 1 cup and there are 4 cups in a quart. Do the math.

Place your pot in the sink under the tap. If you have never used a sink before, it is the large depression in your counter top. (If you live with someone else, they may have filled it with dirty dishes; in this case, wash them or simply remove them from the sink and place them in the oven — someone else will eventually discover them there and wash them.)

Turn the cold-water knob to the “on” position. Some people (like my dad) prefer to let the water run a little bit. This is optional but encouraged — if it’s a hot day or someone has previously used the “hot” water knob, the warmer water will eventually be replaced by truly cold water.

Fill stockpot to within a couple inches of the rim.

Lift stockpot from sink and transfer to stove. (Although appearances may vary, the stove is the thing with 4 or more circular metal bands on top of it; alternately, it may be a completely flat black glass surface. If you are unsure, ask your family, roommate, or neighbor for guidance.)

Find knob on stove that corresponds to the “burner” you have placed your pot on. In addition to words like “Right Front” or “Left Rear,” there are usually little pictures near the knobs to indicate position.

Turn knob to “High” and wait until water boils. Depending on strength of your stove and amount of water, the boiling time may vary. Note: DO NOT WATCH THE POT; it will never boil in the event that you do.

Boiled water may be used for any number of applications. Serve hot but do not drink.

Alternate methods

Depending on water application, you may want to salt the water. Do this after the water has come to a boil.

Placing a lid on the pot will help it boil faster, with the additional benefit of blocking water from your line of sight, which, as stated above, inhibits the boiling process.

And now we get to my favorite comments, which make me laugh even harder than the original post does…

First, from Grease:

I’d love to try this but have had trouble finding the ingredients locally. Anyone know a good online vendor of “Water”?

Next, simon makes an interesting suggestion:

I prefer buying dehydrated water when I order it online. You save a lot of money on shipping and the quality is the same.

hjgram has an very important recommendation:

If you’re ordering water online, make sure it has high levels of dihydrogen monoxide. These things aren’t regulated, and a lot of vendors will try to get away with low levels that will make this recipe a lot more difficult.

AyeEat interjects a little moralizing:

I certainly hope this is locally raised and sustainable water you’re all using!

NiamhAgain posts what may be my favorite comment ever. Have you ever looked at the reviews for a recipe, only to see a 1-star review that starts out by saying they’ve replaced most or even all of the original ingredients (without trying the original recipe first) and then bashes the recipe as “disgusting”?

I tried this recipe for dinner last night but it sounded way too bland so I left out the water and added some capers, aritichoke hearts, and white wine. I finished it off with some butter spicy dried pepper flakes.
It did not work out at all!! Two thumbs down! I will not be making this one again. What a dog!

cycorider just gets (jokingly) angry:

I thought this was Serious Eats! I can’t believe a website that calls itself serious would ever recommend using tap water. If this was REALLY serious, you would make the water yourself! I can’t believe you’d actually advocate using pre-mixed water instead of making it from scratch. Why??? C’mon people, there are only two ingredients, develop some kitchen skills! It’s just hydrogen and oxygen, is it really that much harder to mix it yourself? BLAH!

seriousb finds one suggestion in the recipe itself intriguing:

… I’m intrigued by the esoteric “lid on the pot” variation as a means to avoid the “watching” phenomenon. I never realized that was a valid workaround! I always thought the prohibition was against watching the POT itself. I guess I took the old saw too literally. This tip really saves prep time; I don’t have to keep leaving the kitchen to avoid accidental glances at the pot… Thanks!

Anya had some trouble eating it for dinner:

This recipe looked like an excellent, filling dinner after a long day of work and running around!
I followed the instructions and was pleased with how perfectly it came out. However, I was disappointed when I tried to eat my meal of “boiled water,” as it kept falling off of my fork and into my lap the entire time, which was quite painful and left me with several burns. I was also unable to cut it into smaller portions, even when using the sharpest knife in my kitchen.
What eating utensils would you recommend to avoid this problem in the future?

gkurcia has a crucial question that Adam failed to answer in the original recipe:

is there a low carb version to the recipe?

The whole thing is treasure trove of hilarity. I hope you get a laugh out of it like I did!


  1. says

    step-by-step recipe for… boiled water

    When I was in the army we had little packs of dehyrdated water. You opened the pack, dumped it in your canteen, then added water. It was pretty good but it tasted plasticy.

Leave a Reply