Don’t Code the Fluffy Mackerel!

In 2009 I like to think I can cook pretty well when I put my mind to it — I began cooking in the late 70s under a chef’s tutelage… Cooking has some parallels to software development. (I think… I just made this up and it sounded good, so I am going to run with it for a bit.)

You can be very prescriptive and follow recipes to the “T” — like waterfall. Not a bad approach when you are learning (and in cooking — unlike in software — it can’t last more than a couple of days). However, always following the recipe yields no creativity.

So, as you master your craft (cooking or software) by following some prescriptive processes to get a taste of quick success, you are hopefully gleaning the underlying aspects of the trade. You can also work alongside a master chef to learn tricks and tips and sage advice. If you do a good job of learning the art and science of cooking, if you begin to understand the basics, you can then start to follow a more agile approach to cooking. The more you practice, the more you understand the inter-dependencies between food elements (or code). Doing a little sampling along the way (frequent builds, testing) helps ensure you are on the right track. If you decide to get fancy, sometimes you have to make throw-away (edible) prototypes so that your final presentation is the one you present to your guests.

I hope I never cooked (or coded) anything like what follows in the URL below. This link is a real hoot (and the real reason for this post). I almost wet my pants:

   Scary 1974 Weight Watchers Recipes.

I think this is a reminder to be certain you never, ever, code when you are on “date expired” acid from the late 60’s. You might code the “Frankfurter Spectacular” or the “Fluffy Mackerel” and expect admiring glances from your peers at the next scrum.

How could Weight Watchers have possibly published these recipes and photos thinking they were remotely “good” at helping you watch your weight? I guess the same way some lousy code gets written — because it seemed good at the time!

Oh, wait, it just dawned on me! After seeing these dishes appear at your place at the table, who would ever want to eat again? Even the celery log looks like a piece of compost. So this served as a great appetite suppressant I bet!

Oh, as I was wracking my brain trying to comprehend how someone — even in the 70s — could consider these recipes worthy of publishing and photographing, I recall my own childhood. At some point in the late 60s, early 70s, my Mom decided to make Cod Fish Balls. I kid you not. Breaded I think. And deep fat fried I think. Probably in Crisco. Too bad I don’t have an old photo of them to add to the Fluffy Mackerel Flickr collection!