Monday, 15 July 2013

Schrodinger's Potatoes

Yes, it should be a cat really, but a few weeks ago - when Andy Murray was playing in the Wimbledon final (a negligible detail vital in padding out this post) - my brothers and I were all in the kitchen preparing aliments for the weekly roast. In charge of par-boiling the potatoes, I realised I had to momentarily disapparate and so left the spuds under the watchful eye of Brother the Younger, giving him the very specific instruction of: "Just don't let them boil."

When I come back I have a peek and quickly put the lid back on. A few minutes later I check again. A minute later Brother the Younger checks. Brother the Elder pipes up telling us if we leave the potatoes to their own devices, they will boil. To which Brother the Younger says: "But how will we know if the potatoes are done if we don't check them? It's like Schrodinger's cat: we won't know until we take off the lid."

"Good point," I say.

"Listen to the water bubbling and time it," Brother the Elder suggests dryly.

"Good...point," I repeat, standing closer to the hob and straining my ears for the death-squeals of par-boiling potatoes.

"But doesn't it depend on the amount of water used, how many potatoes are in  the pan, the quality and size of the pan..." Brother the Younger launches into a theory of the potato-time continuum in which surely the size of the chunks of potato must have some bearing on the time taken to boil. I'm still listening to the potatoes. Then I have an idea.

"But I don't want them boiled," I exclaim. "I want them par-boiled! How will I know when they're par-boiled if I don't check them?"

"Oh, for God's sake."

Game, set, and match.