Have you heard of the “The Incompatible Food Triad” problem? This was first introduced formally here by George Hart (father of the now famous Vi Hart). Here’s the statement, taken straight from his website:
Can you find three foods such that all three do not go together (by any reasonable definition of foods “going together”) but every pair of them does go together?
Hart’s page is full of various suggested solutions, most of which are shot down in one way or another. It’s obviously not a rigorous mathematical question, since much of the success of a solution depends on culturally-defined taste. But it still doesn’t stop us from trying solutions.
Here’s mine. My wife and I sat down to have waffles one weekend and we think we discovered an Incompatible Food Triad: chocolate, strawberries, and peanut butter.
- Chocolate & strawberries obviously taste good together on a waffle.
- Chocolate & peanut butter also obviously taste good together on a waffle.
- Strawberries & peanut butter is okay if you think of it like a peanut butter & jelly sandwich (mash the strawberries!)
But we found that all three did not taste good together on a waffle. A quick web search reveals that people do sometimes eat these three things together, but not on a waffle.Let me make a slightly more rigorous statement of my suggestion then: I claim (chocolate AND waffle), (strawberries AND waffles), and (peanut butter AND waffles) are an incompatible food triad.
Can you see how this is not a very mathematical/scientific question? 🙂
Would you agree with our incompatible food triad? Do you have any other suggested solutions?