Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Four Foods Theory

Consider the veracity of the following assertion:

Any good food goes with at least one of the following: chocolate, cheese, garlic, onions.

Note that the converse is not asserted, so beware of the excluded middle.

Logically, one can conclude that if this is true for a set of ingredients S, it will also be true for any set S' where S is a subset of S'. For instance, if it is true for "chocolate, cheese, garlic, onions" then it's also true for "chocolate, cheese, garlic, onions, spaghetti sauce". So the challenge is not to find a set which makes a true assertion; it's to find the smallest possible set that does so.

Clearly we can't eliminate chocolate or cheese since it's trivial to find examples of "good food" which do not go with any of the others. However, garlic and onions have a lot of overlap. I think at some point I had come up with one good food that goes with onions but not garlic, and one that goes with garlic but not onions, which requires the set to contain both; however, I can't think of one right now.

The trickier question is whether this set really is broad enough to work. Some people might claim that lobster proves butter must be added; however, lobster is not good food. (And even if it were, garlic goes with it.) Corn on the cob might be a better argument for butter needing to be added to the list, however.

Please don't make me say I'm just kidding, please...


J'Anda said...

Took me two years to think of a food but yogurt!! HA!

Hawthorn Thistleberry said...

Good one. I've had chocolate yogurt but I can't say it improved it. However...

Tzatziki is made from yogurt with onions and garlic (along with cucumber and other things). And it's very yummy.