“This might be a world first”: Deep fried water in America? Still Reddit relevant, still weird

It may come as a surprise to some that an American has solved one of the major problems of our time. How do you deep fry water? It may come as an even bigger surprise that this happened way back in 2016. So why are you reading about it now?

In a video posted to YouTube on 24 May 2016, US chef Jonathan Marcus proves that it is possible to deep fry water. It was the “blandest” thing he’d ever fried – not the highest praise, but this watery review is to be expected.

He devised and performed the stunt as part of San Francisco’s Stupid Shit No One Needs and Terrible Ideas “Hackathon”, which took place that year. The original video has since reached 2.6 million views.

Who picked up on the story?

The pop science story was snagged first by pop science website, The Science Explorer, on 27 June of the same year. Public reaction at the time was slow, unfortunately. The comment section is bare, to say the least, and bears little relevance to the article.

However, New Zealand life and style website Stuff reported the story two and a half months later. They captioned their image with the line “it’s what you’ve all been waiting for”. Was 2016 really so bland that we had to deep fry it?

Stuff also reported on the inherent danger of the experiment. As Marcus writes in the original video’s description: “if water leaks out while the sphere is frying in hot oil, it may explode, sending scalding oil everywhere”. In other words, don’t try this at home!

Why is this story relevant now?

Truth be told, there is little method to the madness of what’s hot on the internet. A recent post in Reddit’s /r/memes subreddit has gained noticeable traction in recent hours. A user posted it at 4am GMT (seven hours ago at time of writing).

The meme has earned a Top Award and boasts a plethora of Reddit accolades. Not only that, it has garnered over 600 comments. One user, presumably a US citizen, laments: “Everyday we stray further from god”.

Another, defying public sway, proclaimed their love for the notion, the thread and the community at large. “I love every single of you strangers. This sub and its members cure my depression on a daily basis.”

How did American chef Jonathan Marcus deep fry water?

While you may not find method in the madness of online trends, you certainly can find method in the madness of Jonathan Marcus’s culinary feat. How did he deep fry water?

It seems prudent to leave the pop science explanation to the pop science writers. As described on The Science Explorer:

Water can be deep-fried through a process known as spherification. Calcium alginate, a gelatinous substance made of calcium chloride and sodium alginate, can surround liquids with a membrane, allowing water to hold its shape and be handled like a solid. The liquid will even hold together when coated in flour, egg, and breadcrumbs.

And this is just what Marcus did. He took that spheroid of gelatinously coated, coagulated water molecules and coated it in a thin layer of flour, egg and panko breadcrumbs. After a few minutes submerged in hot peanut oil, he turned it out on a plate. A culinary phenomenon was born.

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