0854: "Learning to Cook"

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LucasBrown
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0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby LucasBrown » Mon Jan 31, 2011 5:01 am UTC

Image
Alt text: "And yet I never stop thinking, 'sure, these ingredients cost more than a restaurant meal, but think how many meals I'll get out of them! Especially since each one will have leftovers!'"

What are the odds of this one getting up on GraphJam? If it does, it'll be the third xkcd flowchart to do so (if I recall correctly).

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glasnt
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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby glasnt » Mon Jan 31, 2011 5:04 am UTC

Boy, I could go some Pekingese Bison Casserole right about now.

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VectorZero
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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby VectorZero » Mon Jan 31, 2011 5:04 am UTC

Been there. I don't cook at all now, utility favors eating out.
Van wrote:Fireballs don't lie.

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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby sportsracer48 » Mon Jan 31, 2011 5:09 am UTC

Between this, good code, and na, it seems like there have been way to many flow charts popping up recently, and they're just not that funny.

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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby Azkyroth » Mon Jan 31, 2011 5:12 am UTC

All I can say is, sucks to be people who routinely make food that's not worth eating the leftovers of. >.>

dedwrekka
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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby dedwrekka » Mon Jan 31, 2011 5:21 am UTC

The trick is to use the leftovers in whatever you make next. Chili alphredo casserole and venison cubes with spaghetti, mrrmmm.

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Charlie!
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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby Charlie! » Mon Jan 31, 2011 5:31 am UTC

Azkyroth wrote:All I can say is, sucks to be people who routinely make food that's not worth eating the leftovers of. >.>

Agreed. "Utility favors" learning how to cook food that you like to eat.
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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby muninsfire » Mon Jan 31, 2011 5:32 am UTC

Azkyroth wrote:All I can say is, sucks to be people who routinely make food that's not worth eating the leftovers of. >.>


More or less what I came in to say.

I'm a geek. I cook. I actually regard cooking as an art form similar to writing elegant code--and, much like I shamelessly reuse code in new ways more appropriate to the situation at hand, I reuse recipes in new and interesting ways.

Tonight's dinner, for instance:

1 batch altered buttermilk biscuits {
combine {
2 c flour
1 tsp baking powder approx
1 tsp baking soda approx
1/2 tsp salt approx}
with {
6 tbs butter approx:
cut until coarse-meal texture}
and {
3/4 c buttermilk approx}
mix until it forms a sticky batter
[ Alteration: add red pepper, tarragon, basil to taste ]
}
2 breasts chicken, cubed
1/2 c grated cheese, approx
1 layer frozen vegetables.

In a casserole dish, layer chicken, vegetables, and cheese; lay buttermilk biscuit dough across the top to seal in the goodness. Place in a preheated (425F) oven until the top turns golden brown; reduce heat to 350 until the chicken is thoroughly cooked.

I have leftovers, but they won't last very long ;-p

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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby FarDareisMai » Mon Jan 31, 2011 5:44 am UTC

When I was a little kid I thought home-cooked meals 7 days a week, with no exact repeats in a two-week period, were the norm. The concept of going out to eat (or ordering in) more than once a month was completely unknown. The idea that someone would scrape their plate into the trash, as opposed to saving leftovers, was downright shocking.

I've long been disillusioned, of course, but comics like this still vaguely sadden me.

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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby suso » Mon Jan 31, 2011 5:52 am UTC

I think its difficult to cook when there aren't enough people in the house to cook for. I don't have this problem anymore. My wife and her parents (yes, we live with them) are all terrific cooks. They are Korean-Uzbek, so we have lots of ethnic stuff from those cultures plus my wife likes to cook food from around the world using recipes off the net. Since there are enough people to eat a full dish, it works out so we have just enough leftovers to take to work the next day and be that guy who stinks up the office with strange food smells. 8)
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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby MidKnight » Mon Jan 31, 2011 5:53 am UTC

FarDareisMai wrote:When I was a little kid I thought home-cooked meals 7 days a week, with no exact repeats in a two-week period, were the norm. The concept of going out to eat (or ordering in) more than once a month was completely unknown. The idea that someone would scrape their plate into the trash, as opposed to saving leftovers, was downright shocking.

I've long been disillusioned, of course, but comics like this still vaguely sadden me.

Yup. Exactly this.

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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Mon Jan 31, 2011 5:56 am UTC

That was us for a while. Now I live off of leftovers. Only twice in January have I had to MAKE a lunch, as opposed to grabbing one of our awesome snaptite containers and thinking "WOO! Organic beef stew with thin-sliced sirloin and five kinds of onion! YEEAAH!"

We buy in bulk, seriously. Four 25lb bags of flour (diff kinds), two 25lb bags of rice (long and short), a 25lb bag of popcorn (my kids love popcorn, and it's easy and delicious and I don't even use BUTTER), and half of a cow (with half a pig coming this spring, and a WHOLE cow next fall). Between that and Old Town Market, we feed our family of 5 for less than most couples we know.

...

Of course, then we say "Wow, we saved so much money!" and go blow 100 bucks at the German deli or the Portugese grocer or the Mori Mori Market, and come home with dozens of things which will be SO DELICIOUS, because if they're not delicious we just wasted all that money.

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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby Eutychus » Mon Jan 31, 2011 5:58 am UTC

When I was across the pond some while back I was shocked to discover what the alt-text points out, which is that in N. America it sometimes appears to be cheaper to eat out than to cook at home. Certainly it was cheaper (and a whole lot easier) to go to Subway than to buy (indeed find) equivalent ingredients in a supermarket.
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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby glasnt » Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:03 am UTC

I cook for 2, there's not usually leftovers, because I cook knowing there's only ever 2.

Re: ingredients, I'll buy ingredients that have multiple uses/long life attributes. I got some seasme seeds for some tahini, instead of getting tahini itself (for use in hummus. 1 tsp does not warrent a full tub of seasme paste). Those seeds have since been used in bread rolls, stirfry, salads...

Also, I like making things that have short life, from longer life ingredients. E.g. pizza dough. Flour sits in the cupboard, comes out when it's needed, pizzas have a shelf life of about half an hour after cooking ;) and the flour goes back in the cupboard.

Never really had anything expire on me. I buy the things I need when I need it, I use things I have spare. I grow herbs, cook pizza dough/bread/pasta from scratch.. and it's awesome.

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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby dumboears » Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:13 am UTC

I love cooking, and I want to try and help people who feel like they can't do it (I feel that everybody can do it, but whether they actually enjoy it is another thing...). To those people who would like to cook, and would like to enjoy it, but just haven't "figured it out" yet, I hope this might be helpful:

Risotto is very very tasty and relatively easy to make (I know that having to stir it all the time is annoying, but it's truly worth it, promise!). You can make it very simply (olive oil, onion and garlic, rice, stock, Parmesan) and it will still taste fantastic, or you can add all sorts of other stuff to it (mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes, chorizo sausage, peas, chicken, almost any other vegetable - basically anything you would put on a pizza, except pineapple!), which might make it a little bit more tricky but again, when you taste it, it will all have been worth it. If you can nail risotto, that's a good step along the way to successfully making lots of other things. It's also a very cheap meal (if you're not adding tons of fancy ingredients) and very filling. Give it a try. It's hard to go wrong with risotto.

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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby RMo » Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:36 am UTC

While obviously intended to be funny, this comic is actually somewhat said: cooking isn't that hard, it doesn't have to take much time, and it's usually better for you (no loads of sodium, awkward preservatives, or wet-milled corn products...and, if you buy good ingredients, better for the planet, too).

Do yourself a favor: don't be the person this chart represents. :D

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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby Keiji » Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:44 am UTC

The past 2 weeks I've had to cook my own meals as my mom's been on holiday.

Get out of my head, Randall? ;)

(Though, I suppose more appropriate timing would have been at the start of the two weeks, not the end...)

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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby ChickenOfDoom » Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:50 am UTC

Breaking out of this flowchart is easy if you're unemployed/otherwise can't afford eating out.

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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby nowhereman » Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:54 am UTC

I must at this moment thank my parents. They not only taught me to coo, but allowed me to experiment enough that I can now cook meals that Julia Child would... well not be totally ashamed of :)
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01101010001010001010
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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby 01101010001010001010 » Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:57 am UTC

Answer: find someone to cook for. Take it in turns to cook. If it's your turn they'll kick you til you cook. If it's their turn, then vice-versa. This is how I learned to cook at college.....

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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby mhummel » Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 am UTC

Learning to cook is a lot like starting out in coding - when you start out, you have nothing, but you start small. Pretty soon you've got your own libraries (recipe fragments) to build new programs (recipes) with. If the first meal you start out with is ChateauBriand, don't be surprised if it turns out inedible. It helps also if your stomach is one of your favourite organs.

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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby Halrandir » Mon Jan 31, 2011 7:00 am UTC

ChickenOfDoom wrote:Breaking out of this flowchart is easy if you're unemployed/otherwise can't afford eating out.


Agreed, though I've yet to break away and find another answer to "Does it Taste Good?"

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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby pbnjstowell » Mon Jan 31, 2011 7:04 am UTC

I can buy a month's worth of groceries for the two of us, or eat out for a week. Hmm.

ChickenOfDoom wrote:Breaking out of this flowchart is easy if you're unemployed/otherwise can't afford eating out.

Breaking out of the flowchart is easy if you just plan a menu and grocery list a couple weeks ahead.
It leaves less room for last-minute "I'm too tired to think of something to cook, so let's just eat out."

Plan to use the leftover half an onion from yesterday in your stirfry tomorrow.
If you bought a whole bag of potatoes, plan to use a whole bag of potatoes this month.
Most importantly, cook stuff with good leftovers, or don't cook quite so much stuff.
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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby Spoom » Mon Jan 31, 2011 7:24 am UTC

I just wanted to say that I used to fall into this flowchart but StartCooking saved me. If you want to learn, that site starts from about as basic as it gets (and has a surprisingly huge recipe database).

For me, it's worth it. My wife works 12 hour days so I end up doing most of the cooking, and the payoff from a well-cooked meal is far better than most restaurant meals (and I think they're ultimately cheaper, but I can't immediately verify this). There's something I get out of it that I don't get out of software engineering: short term work with an immediate payoff and immediate concrete feedback. Plus, it's just a nice skill to have.

I definitely recommend figuring out what recipes you plan on making and make a grocery list from them a week or two out. Saves the urge to say "Oh, well, we don't have X ingredient, let's just get pizza," (with which my wife and I are all to familiar).
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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby VectorZero » Mon Jan 31, 2011 7:26 am UTC

Charlie! wrote:
Azkyroth wrote:All I can say is, sucks to be people who routinely make food that's not worth eating the leftovers of. >.>

Agreed. "Utility favors" learning how to cook food that you like to eat.
well, that's just wrong (for me). Nothing to do with 'like to eat', it's just cheaper (for me) to work longer and spend less time cooking and wasting less food, money and time. YMMV.
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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby Istaro » Mon Jan 31, 2011 7:36 am UTC

VectorZero wrote:
Charlie! wrote:
Azkyroth wrote:All I can say is, sucks to be people who routinely make food that's not worth eating the leftovers of. >.>

Agreed. "Utility favors" learning how to cook food that you like to eat.
well, that's just wrong (for me). Nothing to do with 'like to eat', it's just cheaper (for me) to work longer and spend less time cooking and wasting less food, money and time. YMMV.


Yeah . . . well, it depends on what kind of work you do, but especially if you work freelance from home with a workload that's adjustable in small increments, it's so tempting to say "Let's see, shall I spend 20 minutes to make dinner and save some money, or shall I work for 20 more minutes and earn more than enough to pay a professional to make me dinner?" That doesn't take into account the enjoyment that the act of cooking provides in and of itself, though. Which leads us back to YMMV, I guess.

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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby Qwerty.55 » Mon Jan 31, 2011 7:44 am UTC

The first few flowcharts were okay, but seriously, this is getting kind of annoying.

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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby Kalos » Mon Jan 31, 2011 8:09 am UTC

And on this day, Mr Munroe adds "The Oatmeal" to the list of people who's jokes he rehashes in an inferior manner.

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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby Charlie! » Mon Jan 31, 2011 9:11 am UTC

Istaro wrote:
VectorZero wrote:
Charlie! wrote:
Azkyroth wrote:All I can say is, sucks to be people who routinely make food that's not worth eating the leftovers of. >.>

Agreed. "Utility favors" learning how to cook food that you like to eat.
well, that's just wrong (for me). Nothing to do with 'like to eat', it's just cheaper (for me) to work longer and spend less time cooking and wasting less food, money and time. YMMV.


Yeah . . . well, it depends on what kind of work you do, but especially if you work freelance from home with a workload that's adjustable in small increments, it's so tempting to say "Let's see, shall I spend 20 minutes to make dinner and save some money, or shall I work for 20 more minutes and earn more than enough to pay a professional to make me dinner?" That doesn't take into account the enjoyment that the act of cooking provides in and of itself, though. Which leads us back to YMMV, I guess.

This doesn't factor in time spent driving or walking or time spent waiting at a restaurant, though. I suppose if you actively prefer waiting in a restaurant to cooking at home (preferably with the radio on)... I guess you just have to be really rich, or really dislike cooking or learning to cook for it to make sense.
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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby tjunction » Mon Jan 31, 2011 9:22 am UTC

If you'd rather work 30 minutes longer in the day to pay for a takeaway, rather than cook, then either:

- You have an absolutely amazing job, which to be honest I doubt, given that you'd rather be reading XKCD than doing it
or
- You've deluded yourself that your job is more important than enjoying a little time each day to unwind and look after yourself properly
or
- You need to learn how to cook and really enjoy it.

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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby Technical Ben » Mon Jan 31, 2011 9:26 am UTC

Randal I'm sure your doing it wrong. :P
Or the eating out cost is just too expensive here. But I do agree with the "leftovers" bit. I always eat the meal, but end up with half a piece of veg, or half a jar of something left in the fridge. Then it goes to waste. :/

For Fish and chips/burgers and chips I cannot compete. But for curries, chinese or pizza, the home option is usually cheaper.
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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby Tetrinity » Mon Jan 31, 2011 9:31 am UTC

Oddly enough, I decided just last night to start cooking proper meals more often ("proper meals" meaning more than packet mixes and chips). I'm planning on heading to the farmer's market later and I'll be getting out a cookbook I used to use a lot. This is the second time in as much as a week that Randall has eerily predicted my life.

Well, you know what? I'm going to prove him wrong! *slams fist on table and begins a Rocky training montage*

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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby synp » Mon Jan 31, 2011 9:52 am UTC

dedwrekka wrote:The trick is to use the leftovers in whatever you make next. Chili alphredo casserole and venison cubes with spaghetti, mrrmmm.


It is referred to as the Fibonacci meal. Today's dinner is the sum of yesterday's leftovers and the day before's leftovers.

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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby Tass » Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:02 am UTC

nowhereman wrote:I must at this moment thank my parents. They not only taught me to coo, but allowed me to experiment


Were you raised by pigeons? :)

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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby Istaro » Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:03 am UTC

tjunction wrote:If you'd rather work 30 minutes longer in the day to pay for a takeaway, rather than cook, then either:

- You have an absolutely amazing job, which to be honest I doubt, given that you'd rather be reading XKCD than doing it
or
- You've deluded yourself that your job is more important than enjoying a little time each day to unwind and look after yourself properly
or
- You need to learn how to cook and really enjoy it.


Good analysis. Some of each, but mainly the third (which ties into the second, since cooking is enough of a foreign act to me that it would be the opposite of unwinding).

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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby StClair » Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:07 am UTC

In my case, it's a matter of "time spent cooking + cost" vs. "time to go get something + cost", the sums of which are usually close enough to equal that I punt and go for the option that doesn't require me to stand over a stove. I have other, preferred ways to "unwind" aka spend my time, which cooking time takes away from - also, food that other people (who know what they're doing) prepare is likely to be as good or better than what I'd make myself. Acquiring sustenance is a chore and a distraction, not a hobby.
Also, I don't have leftovers. I cook the amount that I'm going to eat, and then I eat it. I am Single Serving Man.
I just have to remember to use the rest of the ingredients (e.g., the rest of the jar of spaghetti sauce) before they go bad. This is what made me nod ruefully to today's chart.

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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby drazen » Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:39 am UTC

Hey, don't knock those of us who don't really cook. I live alone, and my time is worth something to me. Cooking has the following effects:

(1) More dishes - I actually do have a dishwasher, but one person doesn't really generate that many dishes, and my sink utterly sucks for doing anything by hand (clogs too easily), so I'd rather only use flatware when I can.

(2) the electric bill - electric stove, so there's a cost to running that.

(3) Less tasty - due to lack of ability/aptitude. I've tried to learn before but I prefer precise directions. I could never really get the hang of looking at things to know they're done.

(4) Reducing leisure time - I'm a busy guy who's gone 12+ hours a day. Why would I want to come home to more work? It's not worth it to me it it's for just myself. There are other things I can do with my time that have more value to me.

(5) Leftovers - I'm not a huge fan of a fridge full of leftovers, which is what I'm likely to get by cooking for one.

All that being said, I don't eat out too much. I usually just live off of easy to prepare things like sandwiches, cereal, or light snacks. If I do "cook" something, it's usually just a frozen dinner I can heat up on a cookie sheet. That way there's precise directions and I don't have to think about it or keep a constant eye on it.

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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby Mobius Strip » Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:46 am UTC

StClair wrote:Also, I don't have leftovers. I cook the amount that I'm going to eat, and then I eat it. I am Single Serving Man.
I just have to remember to use the rest of the ingredients (e.g., the rest of the jar of spaghetti sauce) before they go bad. This is what made me nod ruefully to today's chart.


I don't know why people bother with jars of spaghetti sauce. With a can of tomato paste that cost about 50 cents and some spices you can get pretty much the same thing with minimal effort, it just seems silly to pay so much more for some preadded water.

Also,I think you still come out ahead in terms of cost/quality even if you regularly toss your leftovers, and some preplanning and organization (and use of your freezer) can save you from having to throw out ingredients most of the time.

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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby Mazuku » Mon Jan 31, 2011 11:01 am UTC

I heard that even basic cooking seems almost to be a lost skill amongst the younger generations and this chart suggest that the formentioned roumor may be correct.

You're not expected to be a cordon-bleu chef but things like grilled/roasted meat, potatoes and steamed mixed veggies shouldn't be beyond the generation that can handle the internets with ease surely.
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Re: 0854: "Learning to Cook"

Postby Plasma Man » Mon Jan 31, 2011 11:04 am UTC

I enjoy cooking, and always eat my leftovers. What I'd add to the flowchart is another option from "Does it taste good?"

Does it taste good -> Yes -> Damn, I've eaten it all because it was so tasty. Now I've eaten too much and don't have any leftovers for tomorrow.
Please note that despite the lovely avatar Sungura gave me, I am not a medical doctor.

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