Goldilocks effect or principle (noun)– conditions where things fall within certain margins, as opposed to reaching extremes
As I was making close to two dozens waffles this past weekend, I thought of two childhood stories: “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” and a Chinese one about a lazy lady who died of starvation.
When looking for a waffle mix recipe, I came across numerous sites with variations of similar ingredients and steps. Simply Recipes turned out to have a great summary of these different methods. The one-bowl method makes a well for buttermilk and eggs in the middle of dry ingredients. The two-bowl method mixes the dry and the wet separately before stirring gently to combine. Separate-the-Eggs method includes yolks with the wet and then folds in the unbeaten egg whites. Lastly, Beat-the-Egg-Whites follows the previous method except the whites are beaten until holding soft peaks before being folded in. The website includes a comparison picture of a cross section from each waffle made by a different method.
For the author, she stuck with the two-bowl method, “This is the Goldilocks options: the perfect compromise of ease versus effort.” I didn’t have to read much on Wikipedia before recognizing the familiar tale. A little girl named Goldilocks tries three bowls of porridge, three chairs, and three beds in a house owned by family of three bears. Each time, Goldilocks finds the first item wrong in one way, second in the opposite, and the third just right in temperature, size, or firmness. The word Goldilcoks has been expanded to denote the most desirable or advantageous part of a range of values or conditions.
The reason for making two dozens waffles was my boyfriend. Since my discovery that waffles freeze well and his rediscovery that they can be eaten at any meal during the day, the frozen waffles disappeared quickly from our fridge. A story that I heard several times growing up popped into my head as I poured batter onto the sizzling waffle iron. Once there was a slothful wife who did little; her husband did chores, cooked, and fed her. Then one day, the man needed to go on an overnight trip. He conjured up an idea to bake and hang a doughnut-shaped bread around his wife’s neck, so all she had to do was to lower her head and nibble on the bread when hungry. He thought the plan was brilliant and took off. Upon his return, he found his wife starved to death in the house exactly where he left her. She ate only the front half of the doughnut and was too lazy to turn the remaining half around.
Now thinking about it, I have a two-week trip coming up in May when my boyfriend will be home alone. Perhaps another batch of waffles just in case?