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BC's Cosmic Gumbo

Hubris Ate, or, bc Cooks up Everything in 500 Words or Less.

By bc

The Universe that we can Observe with our senses (augmented with telescopes, cameras, and scratch-and-sniff cards for Smell-o-Rama, etc.) is a big, big place and getting bigger all the time, like Charles Foster Kane's dining room in Xanadu, or Britney Spears. This cauldron of a universe holds a hearty stew of time, matter and energy. As best as we can tell, the whole thing started cooking on the Ultimate Energy PreHeat setting around 13.5 Billion years ago. Emeril Lagasse fans refer to this as the "Big BAM!" and that's as good a description as any.

This energy started out as a nice smooth hot Cosmic Sauce. Saucepans are small for a reason, specifically because sauces need to remain heated evenly or Things Will Go Wrong. So it was with our Sauce in the Big and Expanding Universal Pot. Instead of energy filling a small perfect cosmos in an evenly distributed creamy Hollandaise, the heat became uneven, and the whole sheBam Separated. Some sort of Bad Vibe of Asymmetry was set up in the unevenly cooling, expanding Super Sauce that caused it to separate into that stew of matter and energy, oozing the unmistakable yet mysterious aromatic foam of spacetime.

As our arid gravy cooled and expanded, matter's other aspect, specifically gravity, was able to overcome the ambient energy levels, and soon lumps of subatomic matter formed into atoms of simple elements like hydrogen, and
accreted, like curds out of spoiled milk. Nebulous clouds of Cosmic Curds became larger and larger clumps, until conditions in the centers of the lumps became hot and dense enough to ignite the first atomic furnaces we call stars, turning matter back into energy. Eventually these stars became old and exploded, scrambling the protons, neutrons and electrons into more complex elements and stirring them back into the gravy, starting the accretion, ignition and explosion cycles over and over again, whisking energy and spicy debris further and further and in more and more complex patterns until the whole jambalaya evolved into the universe we know.

Anytime a star is served up, the stew around it has some dumplings and other debris floating around it, kept in the bowl by gravity. Dumplings are typically kept piping hot, or cooled and put into the freezer. However, one little overlooked dollop was left on the table to sit at room temperature for awhile. And you know what happens when you leave a dumpling out at room temp: It doesn't take long before it starts going bad, growing scuzz and mold and all kinds of weird stuff.

Pretty soon, that Dumpling has turned into a Meatball. Faster than you can hit the oven light for a better look, there's a colony of Sea Monkeys on our fuzzy spherical Petri dish, reproducing like crazy (or trying to), building cities, developing agriculture, watching sports, figuring out ways to get rid of or repress Sea Monkeys they don't like, perusing celebrity Blogs, voting Republican or hoping the Democrats can find their gluteus maximii with both hands, trying to purchase sildenafil on the sly, looking out of their bowl and trying to Figure Out What It All Means while living amidst the byproducts of their own lifestyles even though there's only so much Meatball Dumpling to go around. Oh, they do enjoy the best spice of Life that there is - Love - though they don't always appreciate it as much as they should.

While the Universe sounds like it was concocted by Bobby Flay or the late, great Justin Wilson, it actually looks more like something from Jackson Pollock, and points were deducted for poor presentation. Apologies for that poorly mixed simile (or is it, like, a metaphor?), dear reader.

All errors in the recipe are mine alone, and previous performance is not a guarantee of future results in your Kitchen. Your mileage may vary, like those of you expecting me to actually stay within 500 words.

A couple of things for More Ironic Chefs attempting this recipe to note: During the Sauce Separation, it's important to make sure that the baryonic batter sets up well, because the anti-stuff doesn't matter. For best results on the dumpling, I've found that it's best to add sugars from the right hand, and amino acids from the left. Call me superstitious, but I'm not aware anyone's found a better recipe yet.

This Kit was not brought to you by the Food Network, though I'm willing to take their calls. I can be reached at


By Joel Achenbach  |  July 27, 2006; 6:43 AM ET
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