Making sense of it all….a recipe


The problem – Arrange the above into a well loved phrase or breakfast

Hours spent carving my name, into the already scarred, wooden lid of my desk, during mathematics lessons, instilled in me the belief that there is no more sense in the answer than there is in the question. “Problems” were the problem. My problem lay in an underwhelming disinterest in divining the answer to the mathematical “problem” set before me. The authors of my mathematical text book had attempted to inject interest and excitement by including trains and fat men into the fabric of the questions.  Which of two trains would emerge first from a tunnel, or how much water a fat man would displace from a bath were, in my mind, just a matter for conjecture rather than calculation. I could imagine the colour, shape and noise of the trains and have a vividly clear view of the countryside through which the two engines were racing headlong towards a tunnel entrance with but a single track for the two trains. The dreadful explosion as the blackboard cleaner hit the back of my head for the third time that morning meant that I missed the denouement, but there would always be another problem, another train, another story.  I just did not give a fig as my mind was already gainfully occupied day dreaming in a question free world of fantasy where trains did my bidding and fat men in baths were not part of the equation. As each mathematical problem appeared to me as a senseless, random set of words and numbers, guess work was my only route to an answer. If there was one benefit from this fruitless exercise, it was to warn me off gambling, as I patently had no ability at picking the winner. Forswearing gambling has allowed me to devote much more time than I would otherwise have had to a more catholic variety of misbehaviours, for which I will be eternally grateful.



About Food,Photography & France

Photographer and film maker living in France. After a long career in London, my wife and I have settled in the Vendee, where we run residential digital photography courses with a strong gastronomic flavour.
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43 Responses to Making sense of it all….a recipe

  1. Well I fried Tofu and Portobello mushrooms for breakfast just now – BUT it sure did not look like this – gorgeous and makes me want to eat another breakfast right now! 🙂

  2. Yum. I had cold cereal for breakfast, Roger.

    I had the same reaction to math problems as you.

  3. Mad Dog says:

    Perhaps all those board rubbers damaged the mathematical part of of your brain, though I suspect you can work out how much power is going though X when using all 3 dials on a 5000J Strobe Console at 3/4 power 😉

    • There’s a test. I can’t remember if X was 1000 or 2000 joules by default, but assuming 2000 at 3/4 power with all 3 dials there would be 1750 through X. That would be right, I think, if everything was going through one head, but as I remember the pack was asymmetric so you could be using 3 heads all at different powers. I have to be honest in saying that I’ve forgotten a lot about Strobe except for the smell and the noise when it blew up, and the stunning sight of a nail used as the fuse in the wall plug:)

      • Mad Dog says:

        Ha ha – I think my question was flawed, I should have said maximum dial settings for X at 3/4 power. That way you’d have 1000 to X by default + 1000 + 2000 + 1000 = 5000 and at 3/4 power that would be 3750J. But I don’t think I’ve used Strobe since 1986 and the board rubber could have got me too!
        i can’t help missing the Swimming Pool as a sun substitute and the Fish Fryer as a backlit table, but otherwise I prefer Elinchom. Broncolor looked nice for a while, until I saw one go into meltdown…

      • I’m just left with a few Elinchron Monoblocs now. My assymetric 3000 and my other packs reside in my son’s studio who is making good use of them. I loved the swimming pool too – fantastic light.

      • cecilia says:

        are you two even talking english? stop it already, you are hurting my head!

      • We just make up words and see who gives up first:)

  4. Roger, what is the reddish looking paste that appears to be spread thinly on the toast? I suspect something savoury, but cannot see what it is from the photo. I might have mistyped some of this – I am salivating onto my keyboard. — James

  5. cecilia says:

    Sister Mary Jane DeValour tried without success to teach me maths. For some time i had this almost autistic ability to guess the right answer but the problem remained un worked and therefore Wrong. Hmm, maybe I should have been a gambler. In the end she said it was like teaching Greek to a frog. (A comment I have spent my entire life trying to work out) I was sent down to the third form for the rest of the term to help the english teacher teach, she was a new nun/ teacher and struggling to keep discipline in the class. There was no greek involved and I was able to gather all the naughtiest third form convent girls to me and attach them like glue so the teacher could carry on. In the end it worked out, i am still fairly good at guessing what is in my bank account and english is much more fun! have a lovely day roger! c

  6. I want that toast. That looks really good….

  7. Mental note: do NOT visit Roger’s blog when on a strict diet. I want some of what you photographed, and I want it NOW.

  8. Eha says:

    Funny how noone has answered your Q about a ‘wellknown phrase’ but skirted around it: well, I’ll be honest and say my Saturday morning brain remains recalcitrant and my Oxford Quotes book was not helpful either!! The mushrooms on toast look very appetizing hoiwever 🙂 !

  9. Those math word problems gave me fits too. Could never seen the point of all that misery. What’s funny: I’m married to a mathematician.

  10. Michelle says:

    Thanks for the demonstration, Roger. Beautiful!

  11. ChgoJohn says:

    Throughout my school years, I was told I had an aptitude for math and nothing about it interested me in the slightest. In fact, as I progressed and went from mathematics to eventually calculus, I grew to hate it. Who cares how fast the train is going or when it will get there? I’ll take a jet.

  12. Tandy says:

    Those cooked mushrooms look divine!

  13. Word problems were the bane of my existence. I once hired a tutor, who was worthless, because when she read a word problem she said, “Oh, I know how to do this,” and she did it. I never did have the foggiest notion of how.

  14. Karen says:

    Now that is a lovely way to start the day.

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