2778: Cuisine

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My connection to it goes way back, to my early days, when I was just a cloud of primordial hydrogen collapsing in the darkness of space.
Title text: My connection to it goes way back, to my early days, when I was just a cloud of primordial hydrogen collapsing in the darkness of space.


Cueball is explaining a recipe to White Hat, describing it as Fusion cuisine, typically used to describe a style of cuisine based on combining aspects of the cuisines of two or more cultures[citation needed], such as a combination of French and Chinese food, or Mexican and Korean food. However, he conflates this with nuclear fusion, combining atomic nuclei to create new kinds of atoms.

The recipe is described as the initiation of deuterium fusion in a kilogram ("four cups") of heavy water and allowing the reaction to continue to its endpoint, iron. The "very high heat" specified in the recipe would start at the four million-plus Kelvin at which deuterium fusion is initiated in stars, and could possibly reach the billions of Kelvin at which supernovas synthesize atoms heavier than iron, such as copper, zinc, selenium and iodine, which are essential in trace quantities for mammals. Unfortunately, heating a saucepan to even four million Kelvin would likely vaporize even the largest of kitchens, and any cooks therein. Most heavier elements are probably created when two Neutron stars spiral into each other (but they are remnants of super nova explosions).

It should be noted that these are frequently omitted starting steps for every known recipe, as they are how the ingredients themselves are created.

The title text refers to the time before stellar fusion, just after the Big Bang when most matter was hydrogen atoms. See 2723: Outdated Periodic Table for more on what other atoms were present. These primordial hydrogen atoms formed clouds that eventually collapsed into galaxies, forming stars that then created all heavier elements in one way or another. It took a long time but eventually some of these hydrogen atoms created Cueball and everything else on Earth. See 1123: The Universal Label. People often say that an interest of theirs goes back to their "early days", referencing their childhood, but in this case it appears that Cueball's interest goes back to several billions of years before he was born, indicating that it is his atoms that are interested in this cuisine – not himself – as they were the ones around when his interest began. Actually mainly his protons. And it was because of their interest in fusing together that Cueball came to be.


[White Hat stands behind Cueball, who is cooking on a stove seen from the side. Cueball has his left hand on the handle of a pot which is on one of the stove's burners. In Cueball's right hand is a small cup.]
Cueball: Next, we heat four cups of heavy water over very high heat until it thickens and becomes rich in iron.
[Caption below the panel:]
I'm getting really into fusion cuisine.

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I’m surprised it’s not Beret guy at the stove… 03:33, 20 May 2023 (UTC)

Yup, you have a point... NiceGuy1 (talk) 06:17, 20 May 2023 (UTC)
Well we do not actually see Cueball make iron this way. Beret Guy would probably manage without destroying the kitchen... --Kynde (talk) 13:17, 30 May 2023 (UTC)

Well, here "very high heat" is millions of degrees (any kind), yes? GcGYSF(asterisk)P(vertical line)e (talk) 04:13, 20 May 2023 (UTC)

Is the title text that stupid American thing where people consider themselves some nationality despite no cultural exposure because one of eight great-grandparents was? 04:26, 20 May 2023 (UTC)

Taken to the extreme, to the time when galaxies were first starting to condense out of vast hydrogen clouds and form the first generation of stars and black holes. Nutster (talk) 04:33, 20 May 2023 (UTC)
I wouldn't say that, no... It's trying to boast long experience. Sounds to me like instead of going back in his life to, say, his childhood, he's taking humankind - LIFE - to back before human beings, back to cells in primordial ooze. Before even the formation of Earth, I think? Judging from mentioning space... NiceGuy1 (talk) 06:17, 20 May 2023 (UTC)
The title text says "collapsing in the darkness of space" which I take as a reference to before 'first light', that is before ANY fusion had occurred. RIIW - Ponder it (talk) 18:56, 22 May 2023 (UTC)
Yes before anything had formed except the few light atoms that formed during the first minutes after the big bang. --Kynde (talk) 13:17, 30 May 2023 (UTC)

I’m curious who it is who added “exciting new forms of matter” with a citation to randall’s use of the same phrase earlier. This is a common way of talking for the comic demographic, although maybe a little immature as the decades pass. It’s different to see it cited, and I wonder if the editor was from a different culture or young or a bot, or maybe I am just going crazy. My name is karl i have usernames like baffo32 or xloem, i’ve been mentally ill for a decade or so but used to be a nerd. There seem to be fewer nerds here. 12:45, 20 May 2023 (UTC) I’m thinking the citation is for completeness and apologize for my craziness. 12:46, 20 May 2023 (UTC)

Can someone provide the chain of reactions that lead from water to iron? I think the first step from water to helium might sound familiar to people, since that's the "classic" example for nuclear fusion. But how do we get from there to iron? Bischoff (talk) 12:31, 22 May 2023 (UTC)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stellar_nucleosynthesis 13:19, 22 May 2023 (UTC)
It is not water to Iron but Hydrogen to Helium. Of course the oxygen can also be part of the process. But not the water molecule, only its individual atoms. --Kynde (talk) 07:16, 23 May 2023 (UTC)
At the temperatures being hinted at, there's really no such things as molecules as we see them. (It'd be interesting to know if High Temperature Physics has an equivalent 'molecular' system, as it might hint at "life, but not as we know it" just sitting within stars, based upon some sort of plasmoid-magnetic 'structure' that can hold and reproduce some persistence of form that we'd recognise as at least a primitive form of life. But that's different.)
And nucleosynthesis goes all the way up to Iron (under 'normal' conditions) and beyond (when it becomes that little more exciting!), with 78 to 92 of the surrounding elements being easily part of the process. Depending on whether you count neutron-star fun, and other surprisinglg common edge-conditions. 10:54, 23 May 2023 (UTC)

If Chef Cueball isn't very careful, by reducing his heavy water sauce all the way down to iron he risks his fusion pot undergoing core collapse and exploding in a supernova. 22:39, 22 May 2023 (UTC)

I would say the Title Text is less of an "American" thing and more of an "online recipe" thing, which usually (for SEO purposes) has a few paragraphs about how the writer relates personally to the recipe before actually providing the instructions. In a fusion cuisine recipe, a personal connection to one or more of the cultures would be expected. 05:05, 24 May 2023 (UTC)

The title text sounds very much like the narrator at the start of most short stories in Italo Calvino's "Cosmicomics" - if you haven't read it, stop what you're doing now and find a copy immediately 06:28, 24 May 2023 (UTC)

I wonder what fission cuisine would look like? 19:29, 9 August 2023 (UTC)