The Counter Kitchen Cookbook

The Counter Kitchen Cookbook (2011) is now available for free (download)! This book includes 2 essays and 4 product “reverse engineers.” We deconstruct and remake Colgate Total Toothpaste, Cool Blue Gatorade, Johnsons & Johnsons Baby Lotion and Bryers Vanilla Ice Cream. Yum fun.  Read More


One of the first products TCK re-engineered was Gatorade. This is a crowd pleaser and, yes, thirst quencher. Make it red or make it green. Make it de-caf or fuel it with caffeine. It’s bold without petroleum-derived dyes. It’s flavorful without all the unknown, proprietary ingredients. How refreshing! TCK red or green Gatorade serving size = 1 Ingredients: 8 oz tea: hibiscus for red, de-caf or green tea for green, caffeinated 4 oz apple... Read More

Basic Vanilla Ice Cream

On March 19th, Mike Lee of Studio Feast was our guest in TCK. We turned our attention to commercial ice cream, specifically Bryers Neapolitan. Mike showed us how to make a base ice cream to which you can add any flavor — & voila!@ your own custom-made, customized ice cream. From there, he pulled out the liquid nitrogen and showed us how to quickly freeze just about anything to make unusual flavors like popcorn, cheez wiz and, well it... Read More

(Baby) Lotion

On March 12, we invited Rachel Winard of Soapwalla to the kitchen to help us get a handle on Johnsons & Johnsons Baby Lotion, a product the Hunter High School group identified as a favorite. While in TCK, the Hunter students discovered some iffy ingredients in the lotion and we wanted to learn more (like what’s the source of the “fresh baby bottom” smell and how do they get that signature pink color?). Rachel took us through... Read More

Breathe Mints

These mints are made with water, xylitol, mint extract and pomegranate juice (to make ’em pink). Xylitol is a sweetner found in the fiber of many fruits and vegetables that fights tooth decay. Much of commercial xylitol is derived from corn, but there are some companies that produce it from birch. If you don’t feel like making your own, you can purchase these Dr. John’s xylitol pops, but they do have artificial flavoring, petroleum-derived... Read More


We were inspired to make toothpaste when we found out that a very popular brand has a pesticide as one of the ingredients (?!) and 7 out of the 17 ingredients are possible carcinogens. That’s a lot of goop in the tube. Ingredients: 1/4 cup baking soda 1/4 cup vegetable glycerin 1 tbsp castile liquid soap (optional) A few drops of extract (like mint or anise) Dash of xylitol Directions: Mix the ingredients together and put in a food grade plastic... Read More

Gummi Bears

These gummi bears are made with fruit juice (for flavor/color), agar powder, sugar and gelatin. Here is the recipe that will surely put a smile on your face (unlike some other popular brands!). Ingredients: 1 cup pure fruit juice Sugar to taste ¾ tbs agar powder 3 envelopes gelatin Directions: Stir together in pot over medium heat until powders dissolve and mixture becomes slightly thick. Pour into molds and put into freezer until set. Remove,... Read More