Thursday, 19 January 2012

surprise foods (and shattered childhood dreams)

It is a truth of nature that certain foods are simply much more satisfying when they arrive unannounced—whether from a co-worker, a friend, or a mysterious benefactor.

At the top of this list is the muffin. The muffin is the ultimate "surprise food".

It is entirely impossible to go shopping for a muffin and return completely satisfied. No matter how (objectively) good the actual muffin is, it will never live up to expectations. There will always be something “wrong” with it. A muffin that you know is coming is the New Years Eve of food. Disappointing.

Why this is so remains one of the great unsolved questions of 21st century science. Researchers have noted that a muffin which test subjects envision in their mind is like a fond childhood memory—idealistic, laden with positive emotion, and brimming with hope for the future; in a word, perfect. It is simply impossible for a real-life muffin to match these expectations, with the phenomenon becoming more pronounced the greater the time gap between the envisioned muffin and the delivery of the actual muffin. Maximum satisfaction is only achieved when there is no gap between the expected muffin and the actual muffin—that is, when the muffin arrives as a surprise.

I can relate to these findings. My fondest childhood memory dates back to when I was around four years old. I used to love going to a place known as the "Bunny Park". It was my favourite place in the world. I can picture it now in my mind's eye: beautiful rolling hills, covered with lush green grass extending far beyond the horizon. A gleaming lake in the park, teeming with bird life, and crowned with a rainbow. A wee forest, where deer and goat(s) roamed unabashed. And of course, young rabbits, with stout firm legs and luscious fur coats, hopping about merrily in the gleaming sun, whilst children fed them crispy baby carrots.

Curse the Internet. Yesterday, out of curiosity, I googled the Bunny Park. Remember that scene in The Matrix where Keanu Reeves realised the true nature of the world?
I had a similar reaction when I saw THIS:

And then came the reviews.

“Not too many bunnies around anymore. Some of them looked quite sickly.”

“If you see a sick [bunny] please report it as sometimes they do not receive the care they should.”

“…a run down, poorly looked after and boring place”

“The place is in a disgusting state, no grass, animals look sad & like they have mange.”

With Wikipedia blacked out, I only had about two seconds to look at the page for “mange”, but from what I could gather in that time, it’s not an ideal thing for a rabbit to have.

“…the terrain is not really safe enough to let kids walk too far from you, especially near the water.”

I am very interested as to what constitutes “unsafe terrain”. Usually “unsafe terrain” involves a cliff of some description. Regardless, I read on… and found my favourite review of all:

“The Bunny Park is worth a once off trip if you are in the area, and have nothing else to do. Probably better to climb a mine dump.”

Well sir, I thank you for placing the last nail in the coffin of my fondest childhood memory—but seeing as “unsafe terrain” is apparently a consideration for travelling families, I might suggest that perhaps the “mine dump” is best avoided as a tourist destination.

Like dreams of a perfect muffin, my memories lay crushed. But hope remains.

The very antithesis of the muffin is the kebab.

The kebab tops the list of foods that you absolutely must prepare for in advance to maximise your enjoyment. Kebabs and surprises do not mix (aside from any surprises that appear in the toilet at a later point in time). If you don’t believe me, try bringing a tray of kebabs into your next 10:30am Monday meeting.

Kebabs are the Christmas Day of foods. Proper preparation is required, which, for eating a kebab, includes consuming 6+ pints of beer, thinking "I reckon I'll have a kebab tonight" somewhere around 1am, and actually purchasing the kebab at roughly 3am.

Plan your kebabs, take your muffins as they come, and if you have children—take them to the Bunny Park, and then never speak of it again.

1 comment:

  1. i would put the cupcake as a close second to the muffin.