Main Page

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Revision as of 16:19, 23 April 2013 by Markhurd (Talk | contribs)

Jump to: navigation, search

Welcome to the explain xkcd wiki!

We have collaboratively explained 4 xkcd comics, and only 1635 (100%) remain. Add yours while there's a chance!

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

Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: First draft

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 saltiness, sweetness, or spiciness, 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 possibly having a massive sweet tooth, and adding large crates of sugar to a small pot, because sugar tastes good.[citation needed] However, this would most likely make the recipe very overly sweet. Alternatively, he could be simply bringing in enough sugar so he will not run out of his ingredient before it reaches the correct level of sweetness for his taste.

The title text indicates that bringing in this much sugar is out of ignorance: Cueball does not know how much sugar would be appropriate for his taste, and expects the recipe to specify an exact amount. 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.

Transcript

[Cueball is standing near a pot on a stove. He is reading a recipe.]

Recipe: ...and add sugar to taste.

Cueball: ??

[Cueball walks off-panel. He returns with a dolly loaded with 3 crates labeled "SUGAR".]



Is this out of date? Clicking here will fix that.

New here?

Last 7 days (Top 10)

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 complete table of all xkcd comics so far and the corresponding explanations. The missing explanations are listed here. Feel free to help out by creating them! Here's how.

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.

Personal tools
Namespaces

Variants
Actions
Navigation
Tools

It seems you are using noscript, which is stopping our project wonderful ads from working. Explain xkcd uses ads to pay for bandwidth, and we manually approve all our advertisers, and our ads are restricted to unobtrusive images and slow animated GIFs. If you found this site helpful, please consider whitelisting us.

Want to advertise with us, or donate to us with Paypal?