My son's school is culturally sensitive and diverse place; to wit,
they've sent out a `holidy traditions' survey asking questions like:
- What holiday will you be celebrating in December?
- What traditions and customs does your family follow?
- Where is the holiday celebrated?
- What foods are cooked/eaten?
We've written in "Grav-mass" as
our holiday, and are in the process of trying to come up with answers
to the other questions tonight. It's perhaps too new a holiday to have
real traditions (yet), but traditions have to start somewhere--and
that's actually a pretty nice set of prompts to get us started.
The food questions is especially interesting: the obvious answer is
"Apples and apple-based things" (perhaps a `2(apple)π'), but what
else? `Engineered foods' seems like it might actually be a fitting
alimentary theme, except that there's a pretty popular dislike of
`science in food' (people are generally much more comfortable with
food-preparation techniques that are more like `food alchemy' than
`food science'...), and even more popular (and stronger) dislike for
`food engineering'. And I have to admit that `celebrating the
holidays with engineered foods' initially sounds somewhat off even to
me. We could, perhaps, bring in my family's tradition of going out for
Chinese food (since the Chinese restaurants are generally the only
ones that are open on Grav-mass; this tradition actually pre-dates
Grav-mass, since it's--fittingly--grounded in observed and verified
realities of the world around us).
I wrote RMS and asked him if he'd had, or heard, any ideas for
`traditional Grav-mass' foods--since the definitive web-page on the
holiday is his at this point, but it doesn't mention foods. We're
definitely going to work with his suggestion:
Are there any foods that would bounce if you dropped them on a table?
Want to experiment with them?
And there are, in fact foods that bounce.
From memory, I can say that gelatin blocks do have a certain amount
of bounce in them if they're sufficiently low in water-content (too
much water and they tend to splat rather than bonce). In fact,
remember seeing some television advertisements for Jell-O that made
use of this, years ago. Some experimentation reveals that the `jigglers'
recipe on the side of a Jell-O package actually yields fairly bouncy
stuff--and the closer to spherical the formations of the stuff get,
the better they seem to bounce (so, cubes bounce better than thin
sheets; and, interestingly, `metricated Jell-O bounces better than
imperial Jell-O'--which is to say that ~1-cm cubes seem to bounce
better than 1-inch cubes; perhaps this is for the same reason that
a 100-lb ball of silly putty doesn't bounce like smaller balls
do). I have a feeling
that gelatin might also bounce better with less sugar in it,
so we'll have to run that experiment.
I believe there are also recipes for bouncing eggs, as well--though
I'm not sure how tasty the eggs end up being, and I'm not clear on
whether the typical `rubber hard-boiled egg with its shell dissolved
in vinegar' kitchen science-experiment actually bounces any better
than a hard-boiled egg with its shell removed by more conventional
Cornstarch-thickened creamy puddings also seem like they might be
appropriate: though it's not particularly interesting after it's
cooked, these puddings start out as
before they're cooked. Non-newtonian foods for the newtonian holiday?
I wonder if there's a way to make ooblick that tastes good without
it being cooked. Preliminary experiments seemingly point to
`no'. After trying this experiment with prepackaged pudding mixes, I
can say that they do actually have a passable taste even before
cooking, but they do not pass through an ooblick stage: they appear
to contain far too little actual, unmodified corn starch in relation
to sugar and other ingredients. No, the `ooblick to pudding pudding'
experiment must be properly home-made, starting from scratch rather
than reusing someone else's prepackaged science, and followed through to completion. Not only is
it better science, it's much more fun.
We're looking for more ideas for `traditional Grav-mass foods' (especially
things other than desserts, which seems to be where most of my ideas lay).
Maybe you can help? If you have a StatusNet account somewhere, join
the Grav-mass discussion group
and post some suggestions! If you don't have a StatusNet account yet,
there are plenty of StatusNet services where accounts are available (some public where you can just create an account, and many `by invitation' where you can ask and receive an invitation by e-mail).
Let's make plants to get Grav-mass going as a worldwide phenomenon this year.