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Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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<font size=5px>''Welcome to the '''explain [[xkcd]]''' wiki!''</font>
 
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We have collaboratively explained [[:Category:Comics|'''{{#expr:{{PAGESINCAT:Comics}}-9}}''' xkcd comics]],
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We have an explanation for all [[:Category:Comics|'''{{#expr:{{PAGESINCAT:Comics|R}}-13}}''' xkcd comics]],
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and only {{#expr:{{LATESTCOMIC}}-({{PAGESINCAT:Comics}}-9)}}
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and only {{PAGESINCAT:Incomplete articles|R}}
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({{#expr: {{PAGESINCAT:Incomplete articles|R}} / {{LATESTCOMIC}} * 100 round 0}}%) [[:Category:Incomplete articles|are incomplete]]. Help us finish them!
 
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== Latest comic ==
 
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== New here? ==
 
== New here? ==
You can read a brief introduction about this wiki at [[explain xkcd]]. Feel free to sign up for an account and contribute to the wiki!  We need explanations for comics, characters, themes, memes and everything in between. If it is referenced in an [[xkcd]] web comic, it should be here.
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<div style="float:right; margin: 0 0 1em 1em">{{Special:ContributionScores/10/7/nosort,notools}}<div style="font-size:0.85em; width:25em; font-style:italic">[[Special:ContributionScores|Lots of people]] contribute to make this wiki a success. Many of the recent contributors, listed above, have just joined. You can do it too! Create your account [[Special:UserLogin/signup|here]].</div></div>
  
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You can read a brief introduction about this wiki at [[explain xkcd]]. Feel free to sign up for an account and contribute to the wiki! We need explanations for comics, characters, themes, memes and everything in between. If it is referenced in an [[xkcd]] web comic, it should be here.
  
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* [[List of all comics]] contains a complete table of all xkcd comics so far and the corresponding explanations. The red links ([[like this]]) are missing explanations. Feel free to help out by creating them! [[Help:How to add a new comic explanation|Here's how]].
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*Discussion about various parts of the wiki is going on at [[Explain XKCD:Community portal]]. Share your 2¢!
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*[[List of all comics]] contains a table of most recent xkcd comics and links to the rest, and the corresponding explanations. There are incomplete explanations listed [[:Category:Incomplete articles|here]]. Feel free to help out by expanding them!
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*If you see that a new comic hasn't been explained yet, you can create it: '''[[Help:How to add a new comic explanation|Here's how]]'''.
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== Rules ==
 
== Rules ==
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If you want to talk about a specific comic, use its discussion page.
 
If you want to talk about a specific comic, use its discussion page.
  
Please only submit material directly related to —and helping everyone better understand— xkcd... and of course ''only'' submit material that can legally be posted (and freely edited.)  Off-topic or other inappropriate content is subject to removal or modification at admin discretion, and users who repeatedly post such content will be blocked.
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Please only submit material directly related to —and helping everyone better understand— xkcd... and of course ''only'' submit material that can legally be posted (and freely edited). Off-topic or other inappropriate content is subject to removal or modification at admin discretion, and users who repeatedly post such content will be blocked.
  
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[[Category:Root category]]
 
[[Category:Root category]]

Revision as of 03:05, 4 September 2013

Welcome to the explain xkcd wiki!

We have an explanation for all 1 xkcd comics, and only 0 (0%) are incomplete. Help us finish them!

Latest comic

Go to this comic explanation

To Taste
Look, recipe, if I knew how much was gonna taste good, I wouldn't need you.
Title text: Look, recipe, if I knew how much was gonna taste good, I wouldn't need you.

Explanation

The imprecision of recipes is often a sources of frustration to culinary novices, especially the more analytically-minded. Cueball expects a recipe to provide instructions precise enough that by following them carefully, a cook can create a dish exactly as the recipe author intended. Unfortunately, exact replication is impossible in cooking because of the natural variation of ingredients as well as differences in equipment. In addition, most home cooks lack the tools needed to make precise measurements, such as scales and thermometers. Thus, a recipe for strawberry smoothies might read "add sugar to taste" because the recipe-writer can't specify precisely how ripe the strawberries are to begin with. In addition, a smoothie recipe would typically specify imprecise quantities of fruit such as "1 banana" or "1 cup of strawberries" (much less precise than specifying the weight). Thus, it is impossible for the cook to determine the correct amount of sugar without actually tasting the drink.

The instruction "to taste" can also be used for ingredients that alter a simple aspect of the food's flavor, such as sweetness, sourness, saltiness or bitterness without affecting the quality of the overall dish. Individual preferences can vary wildly and it's not possible for a recipe's author to predict how much the reader will want. Specifying any exact amount in these cases will inevitably lead to the food being too bland for some, while being too strong for others.

In this comic, Cueball is shown as having no idea how to cook (or having a ridiculously large sweet tooth), and the suggestion that he is going to add large crates of sugar to a small pot is of course silly. This would ruin the dish, as whatever was in the pot would be drowned out by the sugar. Alternatively, he could simply bring in enough sugar to make sure he will not run out of this particular ingredient before it reaches the correct level of sweetness for his taste. This too would display a complete lack of understanding about what it is to cook.

The title text is Randall's (and Cueball's) personal comment on what he thinks a recipe should do to fulfill his needs. If he knew how much of each ingredient would be appropriate for a given dish, then he would not need the recipe in the first place. the title text actually scolds the recipe for being imprecise. In his view, mixing in imprecise or "use your own judgment" language makes it less of a "recipe" for the dish, and thus less suitable for those looking for the specific instructions to make the dish because they either have no cooking experience, feel they don't have the expertise to make their own decisions, or simply want to follow clearly defined steps without any decision making required.

This is the second comic this week that concerns one of the basic condiments for food, and also regards one of the five basic tastes. The first one, about salt, was 1637: Salt Mine. Lately Randall has made several food related comics.

Transcript

[Cueball is standing near a stove holding a pot just above it. He is looking away from the stove, reading the recipe from a piece of paper he is holding in the other hand.]
Recipe: ...And add sugar to taste.
[Cueball has placed the pot on the stove looking at it while holding the paper down along his side.]
Cueball: ??
[Cueball leaves the pot and stove to walks off-panel left with the recipe.]
[Cueball returns backing up to the stove with a dolly loaded with three crates with labels. The bottom crate is still not fully inside the panel and the first letter cannot be seen.]
Top crate: Sugar
Middle crate: Sugar
Bottom crate: Sugar


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Lots of people contribute to make this wiki a success. Many of the recent contributors, listed above, have just joined. You can do it too! Create your account here.

You can read a brief introduction about this wiki at explain xkcd. Feel free to sign up for an account and contribute to the wiki! We need explanations for comics, characters, themes, memes and everything in between. If it is referenced in an xkcd web comic, it should be here.

  • List of all comics contains a table of most recent xkcd comics and links to the rest, and the corresponding explanations. There are incomplete explanations listed here. Feel free to help out by expanding them!
  • If you see that a new comic hasn't been explained yet, you can create it: Here's how.
  • We sell advertising space to pay for our server costs. To learn more, go here.

Rules

Don't be a jerk. There are a lot of comics that don't have set in stone explanations; feel free to put multiple interpretations in the wiki page for each comic.

If you want to talk about a specific comic, use its discussion page.

Please only submit material directly related to —and helping everyone better understand— xkcd... and of course only submit material that can legally be posted (and freely edited). Off-topic or other inappropriate content is subject to removal or modification at admin discretion, and users who repeatedly post such content will be blocked.

If you need assistance from an admin, post a message to the Admin requests board.

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