Surfing the Net and ended up at one of my favorite food porn sites, GiltTaste.com. (It was on my lunch hour, boss. Honest!) Here of all places, I found a neat basic process manufacturing project.
Anyway, among the links to things such as high-end--(read "ridiculously expensive")--chocolate, wine, cheese, sausage and baked goods, there are also some pretty awesome recipes (which can be affordable to make, as long as you use ingredients from the supermarket instead of what's recommended). One of these had me thinking back to Eric Byres' pre-Christmas post about the do-it-yourself sous-vide machine. So here, for all you process manufacturing folks who love your Gerolsteiner, Pelligrino or Perrier, we bring you Episode 2 of "Cooking for Process Engineers,"--Do It Yourself Mineral Water.
All that's required is a couple of empty kegs, a gas regulator and hoses, tap water, a few simple ingredients available at your local supermarket or drug store, and some familiarity with the metric system. The author, Peter Smith, even includes a link to a spread sheet by Martin Lersch of the blog Khymos that contains a breakdown of the specific minerals in a number of well-known commercial mineral waters and some more information about making your own.
The end product may not be quite as high on the cool meter as making your own beer, but it could be kind of fun, and, now that I think about it, maybe a great way to get the kids involved in some of the basics of process manufacturing.