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Definitely Not Funny – A Food Contradiction

Definitely Not Funny – A Food Contradiction

| On 04, Jul 2018

Darrell Mann

Once upon a time, a clever person in the coffee industry realized there was a problem. ‘How come’, they said to themselves, ‘all coffee tastes pretty much the same? Why can’t we make it taste better?’ And the answer they came up with was that the heart of the problem lay in the manufacturing process. There only being so many ways you can process a coffee bean. Being a clever person, they decided to use TRIZ to help solve the problem. A contradiction problem as it happens, between the desire to improve taste and the limitation of the manufacture process. Also being smart, they used the latest version of the Contradiction Matrix rather than the original 1970s version. This is what it told them:

The clever person then brainstormed through the suggested Inventive Principles. Several seemed to point to the same basic directions – do something earlier, nest something in something else and use an intermediary. After incubating these clues around in their head for a few days, finally, the Eureka moment arrived.

Civets.

We need to process the coffee beans through a friendly civet.

Being naturally excited about the idea, they decided to try it out…

Civets, being quite cute, made the first part of the experimental process went well. On the other hand, recovery of the ‘processed’ beans felt a lot less like fun, and so it was with some trepidation that they ground up the civet poop, poured hot water over it and took a sip.

Fortunately, the coffee tasted pretty good. Maybe if we clean the coffee beans from the rest of the excreted matter it would taste even better they figured. It did. And hey presto, civet coffee became the most expensive coffee on the planet.

Once upon a time there was another really clever person. This time in Italy. And this time in the cheese business. They too realized there was a problem. ‘How come’, they said to themselves, ‘all cheese tastes pretty much the same? Why can’t we make it taste better?’ And the answer they came up with was that the heart of the problem lay in the manufacturing process. There only being so many ways you can process milk in order to get cheese. Being a clever person, they decided to use TRIZ to help solve the problem. A contradiction problem as it happens, between the desire to improve taste and the limitation of the manufacture process. Also being smart, they used the latest version of the Contradiction Matrix rather than the original 1970s version. This is what it told them:

The clever person then brainstormed through the suggested Inventive Principles. Several seemed to point to the same basic directions – do something earlier, nest something in something else and use an intermediary. After incubating these clues around in their head for a few days, finally, the Eureka moment arrived.

Maggots.

We need to process the cheese using friendly maggots.

Maggots, are rarely viewed as cute, so this time even the first part of the experimental process was difficult. Getting the maggots out of the cheese was even less fun, and so it was with some trepidation that they took a mouthful of the cheese with the maggots still in it.

Strangely enough, the maggot-ridden, decomposing cheese tasted pretty good. Maybe, the clever person thought, let’s not even try and remove the maggots, let’s see if the consumer will eat it anyway. They did. And hey presto, Casu Marzu became the most expensive cheese on the planet.

Once upon a time, there was yet another clever person. This time in Korea. And in the wine industry, where, the clever person realized there was also a problem. ‘How come’, they said to themselves, ‘all wine tastes pretty much the same? Why can’t we make it taste better?’ And the answer they came up with was that the heart of the problem lay in the manufacturing process. There only being so many ways you can process a bunch of grapes. Being a clever person, they decided to use TRIZ to help solve the problem. A contradiction problem as it happens, between the desire to improve taste and the limitation of the manufacture process. Also, being smart, they used the latest version of the Contradiction Matrix rather than the original 1970s version. This is what it told them:

The clever person then brainstormed through the suggested Inventive Principles. Several seemed to point to the same basic directions – do something earlier, nest something in something else and use an intermediary. After incubating these clues around in their head for a few days, finally, the Eureka moment arrived.

Mouse foetus.

We need to process the wine using mouse foetuses.

Being naturally excited about the idea, they decided to try it out…

Well, you know the story by now, and sure enough, Baby Mice Wine became the most expensive mouse-containing wine on the planet.

It just goes to show. We really are all just re-inventing wheels. Even the edible ones.

Meanwhile, I have high hopes for my forthcoming super-food. I occasionally suffer from Athlete’s Foot. I’ve always considered it a problem, but then, not so many minutes ago, I had my own Eureka moment….

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