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Salon discovers the division and specialisation of labour:

Bitter cacao nibs and bleeding hands: My 10-day chocolate-making nightmare
Here’s how to make chocolate from a cacao pod in your home kitchen— and why it isn’t worth it

If only we had a science which might explain such things to us……

12 thoughts on “Astonishing”

  1. I have a ‘professor’ in the Fens who claims to be an ‘expert’ in said science and his rates are apparently quite reasonable..,

  2. Many, many, many years ago, I tried just washing my shirt, socks and underpants by hand when I came home instead of using that foul, fossil fuel consuming metal monster, the washing machine, to do the lot at the weekend.

    Oddly enough, I now use the washing machine exclusively. I have totally abandoned my noble green enterprise.

    So as you can see, my fervent opposition to the Green religion is firmly based on sheer selfishness. And there’s no chance they’ll change my mind.

  3. When you hear/read the phrase: “How Hard Can It Be?” , you either run, or set up the camera with a large bag of popcorn.

  4. Many years ago the late Rabbi Lionel Blue told the story of being given a handwritten family recipe for the greatest cream of tomato soup in the world. It took two or three days to make, including peeling and de-seeding pounds and pounds of tomatoes, cooking, spicing, reducing. “And after I had worked and sweated, I tasted it and it was exactly like Heinz”

  5. Exactly, Flat. With any sane person, the hours of hand labour is the research into finding what works to feed into an automated process, to never do by hand again. The same in my field, spend 30 minutes or so writing a bit of code to run in less than a second to replace doing something manually in 20 minutes. And also to embed memory into the process. *I* can’t remember how to build this application, I put that knowledge into the build script *specifically* so that I wouldn’t have to remember. That’s the whole point of *any* form of “writing down”.

  6. The nearest I get to any of this, is occasionally cooking up a big batch of curry sauce (basically just a thinnish onion soup, which caramelises and reduces down to be the base for a takeaway-style curry that you can flavour as you like before adding the meat or vegetables you prefer), then freezing it in two-portion batches. But that’s not a big job: onions, garlic, ginger, spices, cooked for a bit then add water and blend.

    Honestly, in time/money terms it would probably be cheaper getting a takeaway delivered, but I (and more importantly my wife) appreciate being able to tailor it to suit ourselves.

    And even then, there are days when a Spice Kitchen goan curry mix and a pack of chicken breasts will do nicely…

    “Doing it from scratch” is fair enough – as long as you accept you’re rarely doing it to save time/money, but as an indulgence for other reasons.

  7. Bloke in North Dorset

    When I had my boat I used to enjoy a Cornish Pasty for lunch when I was out in it for a day sail, especially when it was a bit cold.

    When I retired I thought I’d have a go at making my own. I got the local butcher to chop up the meat, hey I’m not that much of a masochist, but did everything myself. Long story short, what I produced fell in to the category of: Its a Cornish Pasty, Jim, but not as we know it. But I enjoyed them and also the sense of satisfaction that I’d made them myself and I reckon they were tastier. If I was to cost them using my time at NMW they’d have been 101x the price in a supermarket.

    I wouldn’t do it again, but I don’t regret it at all.

  8. Things I do by hand – Make marmalade (much nicer than bought and not too expensive) – install things that cost a disproportionate amount for labour and that I will enjoy doing (solar panels, home IT/AV, or stuff with large effort/‘ I did that’ pay off)

    Things I don’t do by hand – Everything else including stuff I pay someone else to do by hand.

    Things I WON’T do by hand – wanky middle class sustainability ethical living ego boosting virtue signalling pointless stuff.

  9. 10+ years or so ago there was a documentary about a british guy who bought a cocoa plantation in Venezuela. It was all about how incredible the product was because it was grown in the cloud forrest. I was thinking…if you make any money mate, they’ll have it off you pdq, if the raw material is so great just buy it from the locals.

  10. Based on what I’ve learned from watching off-grid cabin building and people who start from scratch living in the Asian jungle, I once tried to figure out the minimum amount of people required to create a basic autonomous society that most of today’s people could be comfortable with.

    No iPhones or computers, obviously, but I allowed for one modern expert each in a few select disciplines: a doctor, a meteorologist, a chemist, an engineer, etc. so the society wouldn’t have to deal with mass death due to ignorance.

    Other than that, everyone else would have to perform a task necessary for survival, like hunting and gathering, or building mud huts, irrigating or farming crops. If we assumed that every individual in the village was perfectly competent, my total number of inhabitants would likely be smaller, but instead I tried to be realistic in calculating how much work the average first-world person would do and for how long. Basically, I tried to work out a Castaway scenario, in which you and I and our peers would need to build from nothing.

    The minimum number I came up with is around 200 people in the civilization. This would not only ensure that all necessary tasks were done, but also that there would be enough people to take care of each other. That would be the division of labor required for a society to be self-contained. And that’s when you have the right set of people, not a bunch of AntiFa revolutionaries trying to eliminate their carbon footprint.

    Note that there were no lawyers, marketers, human resources or journalists included in this scenario.

    Still, it’s remarkable how much just one competent person can accomplish, starting with only a rock:

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