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Ross Murray's Border Report
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Ross Murray
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is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at ross_murray@sympatico.ca
Posted 07.18.11
Stanstead, Quebec

ROSS MURRAY

Meanwhile, back at the supper-conductor...

Scientists are one step closer to answering a riddle that has plagued humans for generations, namely, what's for supper?

Researchers out in Luftfyeld, Switzerland, believe they have isolated the Heinz-Cheesebun, also known as the "Food Particle," an accomplishment that could explain why it is so difficult to isolate any given menu at a fixed point. It also helps explain both the general malaise that accompanies trying to come up with a meal as well as the infinitely expanding nature of this malaise over time.

"We've spent countless hours staring into space," said lead researcher Evan Canwate. "I mean literally just standing at the kitchen counter staring into space hoping for inspiration, asking ourselves what on earth are we going to feed the family tonight? So these results are a huge relief. I don't think we could have faced grilled cheese another night."

The Food Particle is considered by many to be a unifying theory that bridges physics and nutrition, the so-called "Holy Gravy Boat" of domestic science. Some are calling this the biggest breakthrough since the Mouldin-Shag Principle determined irrefutably that carpet in the bathroom is just a really bad idea.

It is hoped that the confirmed existence of the Food Particle will help explain the Potluck Paradox, which states that the greater the number of available ingredients plus recipe sources for combining those ingredients (e.g. food channels, websites), the greater the sense of culinary inertia.

As a result of this inertia, chefs are rendered helpless against the gravitational pull of preparing the same meals over and over, as determined by the 1st Law of Friday Night Meatloaf.

For years, researchers had been searching for the Heinz-Cheesebun in the domestic field, with adult humans interacting with younger humans. While such a real-life setting might seem intuitive, it may in fact have impeded research.

"We were getting too many false positives in the real-world settings," explained Canwate. "For example, a mother decides to make a meal for her child, let's say Curry-In-A-Hurry, because she associates it with positive feedback. 'I made you Curry-In-A-Hurry,' she'll say, 'your favourite.' The child, however, will reply that she only said she liked it that one time and only to be polite, when in reality she finds it contrary to her palatal preferences, or, in laymen's terms, 'totally gross.'"

Canwate went on to explain that such a false positive might occur multiple times due to the 2nd Law of Selective Hearing and Boyle's Infinite Noodle-Soup Loop.

"We were also getting bogged down in some of the more philosophical components of the research brought about by the inclusion of the younger subjects' underdeveloped domestic brains, such questions as, if a child opens the fridge in the kitchen, and no one is there to feed him, does he make a sandwich?"

By creating a controlled environment with adults only, researchers could determine that the Potluck Paradox was not exclusively the result of each child demanding a separate menu and whining about being allowed to eat in front of the TV, which ultimately inhibits the incentive to slave over a meal in the first place because, honest to God, what's the point? (See "I Scream, You Scream, Eat Whatever You Want For All I Care: Supper-Scientists Break the Ice Cream Barrier.")

Under these controlled conditions, the researchers were able to isolate the moment when expanding food choices become so dense that they collapse upon themselves -- generating for a split second the Food Particle. In that split second there is actually no time and no space; no time to prepare a proper meal before soccer practice and no space on the counter because it's still covered with the breakfast dishes.

Now that they have confirmed the existence of the Heinz-Cheesebun Food Particle, researchers are hoping that it might also be used to clarify differential standards in teenage bedroom cleanliness, also known as the Theory of Relatively Tidy.

While it should be noted that researchers in Africa and Asia are dismissing the very theory of infinite menu expansion as "a load of Western bean curd," the Swiss researchers nonetheless expressed full confidence in their findings and celebrated their success by ordering out for pizza.

Ross Murray's collection, You're Not Going to Eat That, Are You?, is available in Quebec in area book stores and through www.townships.ca. He can be reached at ross_murray@sympatico.ca.

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