Saturday, September 27, 2014

cooking experiments

I'll take any opportunity to turn a so-called experiment into a randomized control experiment, so last night when Matt and I made turquinoavocado stew in two pots (one isn't big enough), I left the room and he stirred bay leaves into one pot. We both assumed our moms pretty much just used them out of superstition and had no idea what flavor they're supposed to add. Then he gave me two bowls and I had to guess which was which. Turns out there's an obvious difference, and the bay leaves are a clear improvement!*

(We've also done double blind taste testing of Tcho chocolate varieties. We were all substantially better than chance at identifying them. The remaining question in both studies is, are they identifiable out of context, not in comparison? I suspect much less so.)

So this afternoon I dig out some leftover stew for lunch and see that there are two tupperwares of it, one labeled "San Francisco style" and the other labeled "Oklahoma style". I ask Matt to explain, and he looks at me with a puzzled expression. "You know, one has no bay."

*I didn't say anything about large-N RCTs...

1 comment:

Walter Guyll said...

A game we play, inherited from my mom, is whoever finds a bay leaf in their serving wins.