Invention


Invention, making something new, or substantially different. Some people seem to do it all the time, others never. The majority somewhere in between. Very few ‘inventions’ come from one brain only.

“Inventions” are usually the product of a ‘currency of thoughts’. One person has a wild idea, but no way to make it real, another creates an approximation, another refines, and so they go, building on each other’s thoughts and work, until something useful is created. Well usually.

There is something called “Chindogu” in Japan. It’s a kind of hobby, and the point seems to be to invent something to solve one problem, but at the same time it creates one or more (usually bigger) problems. I think maybe the Japanese like puzzles.

But what makes people invent things? Necessity, Fear, Accident?

Necessity is the mother of invention? (A common saying, attributed to quite a few people)

Accident is the name of the greatest of all inventors. (Mark Twain)

Fear is a great inventor. (French Proverb)

My father disagreed with all of those. He used to say “Laziness is the mother of invention”. 50 years ago he was tying a paint roller-brush to a pole to paint ceilings without the bother of going up and down a ladder all the time. He used a car-jack to take embedded rosebushes out of the garden. For us and our friends he made ‘pin up boards’. Usually heart shaped, made of soft board we girls could pin up pictures of our heart throbs without damaging paintwork or wallpaper (less fixing for him),

Reading Tilly Budd’s post, reminds me, he used to peg dirty nappies on the line and turn the hose on them to wash off the worst before putting them through the washing machine, (which he always ran and ran over the weekend, and it had a huge mangle on top, so he could reach more easily than my mother could.)

Now to be extremely brave I’m going to enter the world of the food bloggers. I hear the crowd rushing off for the smelling salts, anti-nausea pills or just sitting laughing. But really, how many of us ‘invent as we go’ in the kitchen. Some people only cook from recipes, some like me believe a recipe (other for something like a cake where getting the proportions right can mean the difference between a cake and a Frisbee) is merely there as a sort of guideline, for us to play around with. Usually nothing too dramatic, but often enough variation to be termed inventive. One of my early ‘inventions’ was the ‘one scone’. One Sunday afternoon (way before microwaves had melted the chocolate in the pocket) I felt like a scone with my tea. Not wanting to be faced with a whole batch of them, I put together small quantities of what seemed appropriate, and voila A scone, which I thoroughly enjoyed with some butter and jam. I made the mistake of telling the family. I never lived it down.

In the kitchen I suspect boredom and the seasonal availability of foodstuffs have a lot to do with invention.

However it wasn’t I who was there the afternoon they invented Gin and Tea.

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11 thoughts on “Invention

  1. Terrific post, Sidey. You no doubt follow in your dad’s footsteps.

    Wait, does that mean I’m calling you lazy? 😉

    One time, in the kitchen, I set out to make GingerSnap Cookies. Due to a number of missing ingredients and creative substitutions, I ended up with Ginger Scones ~ not one, but many.

    Fortunately, they were a hit at the party.
    Unfortunately, I’ll never be able to re-create what I did.

    Note to self: take notes.

    Which makes me wonder . . . does it count as an actual “invention” if we can’t re-create the results?

    Great theme this week. Thanks, Sidey

  2. MMmmmmm, yes, I agree with Col, please don’t go foodie on us, I have enough of that on Vleisbroek!

    Love the article though, and I think inventions occur because of all of the above… i constantly invent dishes in the kitchen though, but it just a matter of knowing which tastes go with which… I have always experiment in the kitchen and was apparently doing Fusion Food long before it was ever called Fusion Food *grin*

    Not sure about ‘inventing’, but I do enjoy “making a plan” to solve a problem… the old adage “Boer maak ‘n plan” works for me…

  3. LOL!!! This is the first time I’ve heard of ‘A scone’ – could never have dreamt that up myself 😀 As for the frisbee cake, unfortunately I can relate!

    1. so easy. It was 1 large spoon flourm, ditto powdered milk, a pinch of salt, about a quarter teaspoon baking powder. Mix with some water till a stiffish mix, grease a ramekin or similar size. pop into normal scone oven, watch till it starts to go brown on top. Check with the knife test that your eyes haven’t deceived you,

  4. Food for thought 😀 Have you come across a programme we have in the UK – it’s called Ready, Steady, Cook – cooks are given five seasonal ingredients and told to cook a two (or is it three?) course meal.

    Makes for some superb culinary inventiveness.

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