Googler insights into product and technology news and our culture.

Chicken a la The King

Long before cooking at Google, I worked in the kitchen of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel with a Southern gent named Robert Brown. Story was that at one time in his life, Mr. Brown had cooked for Elvis Presley. Mr. Brown never gave us the details, but he did let us know that the King loved his fried chicken and biscuits.

Mr. Brown had a fluffy white cloud of hair floating above a face the color of molasses, garnished with a big gold tooth protruding from his mouth and thick dark glasses he never took off, even in the kitchen. He was a primal cook - he couldn't tell you why he did what he did, but he knew when it was "GOOOOOD." It was better than good. It was the best southern fried chicken I had ever tasted, and still is.

One day I got up the courage to ask him for the recipe, and he told me, "Charlie, I normally don't give out my prize recipes, but you, boy, have got the touch. And none of my boys are in the business, so I will give it to you." The secret to his fried chicken was marinating it in buttermilk for a long time, and adding just about every damn spice he had on hand.

Whenever I serve it today, I can hear Robert Brown saying, "Charlie, you make this chicken for people, you'll be making friends for life." And I hope I have. Here's the Google-sized recipe, plus a handy "recipe adjuster" if you're cooking for fewer people than I do.

Charlie Ayers
Google Executive Chef

Buttermilk Fried Chicken Elvis Loved
*Google-sized portions; read all the way through to get the total amounts needed*

1/2 c thyme
1/4 c oregano
1/4 c basil
1/2 c onion powder
1/2 c garlic powder
1/2 c dry mustard
1/2 c paprika
1/4 c chili powder
1/2 c celery seed
2 Tbsp salt
1/2 c coriander
1/2 c cumin
1/3 c kosher salt
1/4 c cayenne pepper
1/2 c ground black pepper
1/4 c ground white pepper

3 gals. buttermilk
3 cases organic free range chicken (roughly 30 chickens, divided into 1.5- to 2-lb. sections)

Mix these amounts of the dry ingredients together in a large bowl, then whisk in the buttermilk until it's thoroughly mixed.

Pour the batter over the chickens and marinate for up to five days - keep refrigerated, of course.

For frying
Now mix another 4x the above dry ingredients, and add:
2 lbs. cornstarch
8 qts. all-purpose organic whole wheat flour

Dredge the marinated chicken pieces in the dry herbs/flour/cornstarch mixture mix.
Fry the dredged chicken in a large skillet with hot peanut oil @ 375 degrees. Once chicken has reached a golden brown color, finish cooking it in the oven.

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Zeitgeist watch

Every month the Google Zeitgeist paints an aggregate portrait of how users all over the world are searching Google, a statistical snapshot that invariably produces its share of surprises. This month's Zeitgeist finds web surfers in a somber mood. You put grim topics like Nick Berg, Iraq, Lynndie England and (shudder) graduation atop the list of fastest-growing search terms, while banishing "Friends," prom hairstyles, Amber Brkich and other trivial pursuits to the ranks of the most swiftly forgotten. It's not surprising that more of you searched on cicadas last month than sought out such wholesomer nature queries as beach, sun, roses and trees. But frankly, we don't know what to make of the fact that the most popular animal on Google in April was not dogs, cats, fish or horses, but bears.

One reassuring note, though - we're all still obsessed with "American Idol." At least this week.

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Pedal power

This being the tail end of both National Bike Month and Ride Your Bike to Work Week, we hope you turned green, as many Googlers did, by pumping your way to the office (and reducing carbon emissions along the way). Even though the Mountain View, CA Googleplex is close by several freeways, it seems quite a number of us managed to make our way in on spokes. The rewards were considerable: a free bike tune-up, bottled water, and the all-important commemorative T-shirt. Not bad for a Thursday at the office.

Dylan Casey

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Whaddya mean, "we" ?

Well, we managed to break rules with our very first couple of posts here. We started our blog with a post about recruiting and didn't sign it. Then we changed it once it was up. You just don't do that with a blog, according to half the Google staff and all the Blogger folk. They've made that opinion abundantly clear to us with emails, hallway lectures and posts on their own blogs laying out all the ways this launch could have gone better.

So yes, we do get that blogs are all about communication with readers, not processed info dump-and-run. And we get that people want to know who's giving them that information. We also get that this is a new medium and that despite the conventions of the blogosphere, not everything is set in stone when it comes to blog style and tone.

So here's the deal. When we post something that's unsigned, it's just general Google information that we think may be of interest to you. Apply whatever filter you deem appropriate. When something is signed by Larry or Sergey or another Googler, that's really them talking about something important to them. You'll likely see lots of both kinds of posts, depending on the subject and who's around to write about it.

In the grand tradition of Google launches, this blog is an experiment. Consider it Googleblog (beta). We're not going to make it entirely first person, because the logical people to write Google blog posts don't always have time to do that. We're not going to make it entirely anonymous because people here have things to say directly to you. And it would be boring as lint if all posts got processed to meet "corporate style." So we'll try different things and see where the pain points are. That's the beauty of a blog -- you can change direction real time to make it work better.

Blogs are living things. Ours was just born and is still adjusting to the loud noises and the bright lights. It's gonna be awhile before we get our driver's license, so you decide if you want to sit in the passenger seat while we figure out which one's the gear shift and which is the turn signal. One way or another, it should be an interesting ride.

Doug Edwards

p.s. We've also been told that blog posts should be short.

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Some disturbing results

One of the unfortunate effects of leaving no stone unturned to build a comprehensive web index is that occasionally you uncover a site that should never have been exposed to the light of day. It's particularly unsettling when that site is devoted to spreading hatred and the result shows up in a search for the group being attacked. We cannot state strongly enough our distaste and displeasure that just such a hate site has been in our results lately. To learn more about why this happens, read our explanation of the incident.

Doug Edwards

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Going out of our way to find the right people

When we announced the opening of our engineering office in Zurich, a lot of Europeans seemed pleased about the possibility of working for Google without a commute to California. Zurich draws Italians, French, Swiss, Germans, and other Europeans, and is easier to reach from most parts of the continent than the Amphitheatre Parkway exit off highway 101.

We recognize that talented engineers live in every time zone, not just Silicon Valley. That's fine with us, because when it comes to solving technical problems Google benefits from global perspectives, as well as a diversity of languages and working hours. And we want to accommodate people who want to work with us, but who may not feel like uprooting their their lives, even for Charlie's cooking.

So, if you're looking for a place to plug into Google, we're trying to make it easy for you. We're looking for talented software engineers, top programmers and visionary computer scientists to tackle everything from distributed systems and information retrieval to algorithms, UI, and scalability challenges. And of course to unplug the lava lamps occasionally so they don't overheat.

Whether you're in the market for a challenging engineering position in Mountain View, in Bangalore, or in our new Tokyo office, or somewhere really out of this world, we hope you'll look us up.

A. Googler

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Is this thing on?

Ever since I came to Google, they've been talking about putting up an official Google blog. And now, less than 15 months later, voilà.

Oh well, it's not like we own a recently relaunched service where you can create a blog in two minutes or something. Okay, we do. (Sorry for the plug.) But I guess other Googlers have been a little busy what with all the searching. And the advertising. And filling out purchase orders for all those hard drives.

Anyway, I'm excited the blog's up. We're going to post stuff here - regular bloggy things: What Larry had for breakfast. What Sergey thinks of that Hellboy movie. Which Dawson's Creek character reminds us most of Eric.

And perhaps, news about Google, and our thoughts on whatever random events cross our horizon.

Oh, and we have email feedback too. So we hope to hear from you, as well.

Evan Williams
Blogger Program Manager

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