Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Turns out chimps could cook....

Some cool experiments with chimps in the feature news, including some, done years ago by Jane Goodall, whom I trust not to be mean to animals, show that chimps like cooked food more than raw if they can get it, and undergo processes that they see as cooking.  

Experimenters give them slices of raw potato, show them to put them in a fake oven, researchers then replaced them with cooked slices, the chimps retrieved the slices now, they think, cooked, and liked them to the point of trying to get them cooked all the time.

So they could cook if: they had access to fire, had opposable thumbs, had good cookbooks, and had the vocabulary to express themselves suitably when the recipe doesn't work as promised...

However I have a lot of respect for chimp intelligence and I suspect that as long as the researchers are willing to do the cooking, the chimps will be willing to let them.

Not unrelated to this is the flying series of texts and calls and visits I had yesterday, related to what was in fact a simple operation of borrowing and lending a neighbor's key to a trusted third party.  Every solution another friend and I offered turned out to be too simple, and now we have a situation where Neighbor A, who is away, arranged for Friend B to stay in the house with the dogs while Relative C has to get back to work after watching them very faithfully, while beloved Relative D gave birth to Neighbor A's granddaughter, far away, proud grandparents in attendance. Oh, and I have a pic of the newborn, beautiful girl.

Anyway,  all clear so far?  so Friend B texted multiply and called me, leaving pretty much involved messages involving Neighbor E's spare key to Neighbor A's house.  Part of the confusion arose from the fact that Handsome Son and Neighbor E have same first name...rising above that, Neighbor E, falling down laughing, came across the street yesterday and handed Neighbor L, I mean me, his spare key to the other neighbor's house, to hold until Friend B comes to collect it later in the week.  He said he too had had a spate of texts and calls over this, and had unraveled the request.

We both agreed that just having Friend B pick it up from its unlocked permanent hiding place would have worked, too, without involving any other parties at all, but we concluded it was not people-intensive enough for her.  I also happen to have the numeric code you can use instead of a key, which I could have told her, but that would also be too easy!!  
However, I'm fine, since it means I'll get to see Friend B, and I enjoy that anyway. But I think a troop of chimps would have settled this faster by making a researcher do it.

But it did give me the chance to ask Neighbor E while he was at my house, what sort of wood that decorative cranberry scoop is, and he opined, my wood expert this, that it's pine, it is indeed old and it's probably been hung on a wall for many years.  All of which fits with what we knew before but he didn't.  And I learned about ten things about old pine in the process.

And  I gave him a sample of the dipping sauce I made for the Ottolenghi leek fritters -- he's a great cook -- to give us his thoughts on what it might go with, since neither Handsome Son nor I thought it was a good match with the leek fritters it was designed for by Ottolenghi. So he's off to experiment and test it on his noncooking but appreciative wife, Neighbor F, I guess, if we're coding everyone.

Little postscript wrt the fritters: as I worked on the complicated sauce I wondered if Handsome Son would test it then request ketchup.  After dinner, I asked him about the sauce and he said, well, it would be better with maybe fish, but with the fritters I'd have liked ketchup but didn't like to ask, after all the trouble you I assured him that in this house if he wants ketchup, he shall have it!  But I did appreciate the tact.


  1. Thanks for the smile this morning.

  2. I can tell you what part I would like to play in this jolly drama:
    Noncooking But Appreciative Wife

  3. This post made me laugh! It read like a James Bond skit :)


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