Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Fractally Speaking

Math is not my favorite subject. It was the only subject I ever failed and I had to go to summer school because of it. You could say, math is not my friend. So it came as quite a surprise when I found out that a branch of my least favorite subject, geometry, had much to do with my favorite thing, food.

Fractals. Fractals are in food. No they have  nothing to do with taste (as far as I can tell) and also nothing to do with nutrition (I think). No. Fractals have to do with the incredible, amazing design ability of the Mother we call Nature.

A fractal is a geometeric pattern within a pattern within a pattern, decreasing in size, ad infinitum. Trees are a classic example of fractal design. Start with the big trunk and main bottom branches and that design repeats itself as the tree grows, the pattern growing smaller as the tree grows out.

But I thinks fractals in food are a lot more fun. Some grow that way. Others we can create ourselves.

The Artichoke as a fractal
Take the artichoke with it's layers of leaves. It's the perfect vegetable fractal. Or how about romanesco (green cauliflower)? I love the design on that.

Romanesco as a fractal...look closely as the repeating design & how it grows smaller

We can also create a fractal in food and have some fun doing it. I found this picture of fractal eggs on line. It really made me giggle.

Fractal sunny side funny eggs

And you ask, what is the point of all this? Absolutely nothing. The subject just struck me as fun. It also ended my life long grudge with that subject called math.

Curly Fractal Cabbage