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Recipe for Confusion

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Joined: 20 Mar 2006
Posts: 1273
Location: Kent (East Hill), WA

PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:06 pm    Post subject: Recipe for Confusion Reply with quote

If you do any cooking at all, you'll notice a pattern in cooking recipes. They all include some instruction or ingredient that will frustrate you (or turn you into a garlic press expert).

I mean, they'll do it every time. You'll read a recipe and it will sound great, then you read the ingredients...eggs, yep, bacon, got that, Tunard's Famous Fish-Octopi Oil...whattttt?! Other curve balls are having to marinate things overnight, or in a freezer for hours or days. Or having to buy some gadget because a spatula won't do. Just a few minutes ago, I was going to make some frozen O'Brien potatoes, and it starts with "heat skillet to 350 degrees". Now, maybe you're from the future, but I don't have any frying pans with a thermometer.

Sometimes I wonder if the same mindset that creates recipes is also that which creates instructions and guides for software development. No matter the project, you're always having to run off and get a bunch of requirements or buy things, or else settle for "test versions" that only allow 30 runs and so on. You could use open source, in which case, you'd spend 99 percent of the time building the compiler before writing any application code. I exaggerate, but not that much.

When it comes to recipes, I assume they put in extra stuff just to make it seem like there is a reason to do the recipe instead of just putting some oil in the frying pan and cooking the damn thing with a few splashes of Worcestershire. Or maybe it is from the days of stay at home Moms and all the nuances gave them reasons to go shopping or use up the 4 hours between putting the kids to nap at 1pm and waiting for hubby at 5pm. I guess if its too easy, then there's not that much of a show...and nothing worth billing! But still, one likes to think one's expertise is in seeing through the clutter and coming up with simple useable answers, not putting on a song and dance and going halfway to the Moon to get across the street!
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Joined: 17 Mar 2006
Posts: 712
Location: Oregon

PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 11:07 pm    Post subject: Re: Recipe for Confusion Reply with quote

jabailo wrote:
...not putting on a song and dance and going halfway to the Moon to get across the street!
You say that like it was a bad thing...

No, seriously, I now want to put together the worst possible combination of qualities that a recipe could have. From what I gather, the worst offender would be the requirement that one has, and knows how to use, a slotted spoon. It would marinate in eel oil for a variable number of hours, based on the weight in kilograms, and the phase of the moon. Incantations may or may not be required. Any procedure involving multiple decantations is to be preferred, especially if they coincidentally represent solutions to puzzles of how to transfer liquids between multiple containers so as to arrive at a particular, arbitrary volume of liquid in a particular container.

Add difficult to obtain ingredient just a moment before it will be too late, though that might be too early. And serve on a bed of something else you don't have.


Application to software development: obvious.


Application to understanding 1960's family dynamics: left as an exercise for the reader.
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