Pavlov’s dog, and other mistaken desserts.

I consider myself a high-brow culture sort of person.  Sure, I’m not completely suave, but I feel like my intellect more than compensates for some of my less socially acceptable faux pas.  I like knowing lexicon.  I like considering myself on the ‘inside’ of a situation.

For that reason, for some time, I’ve been a fan of a dessert called ‘Pavlova’.  I first encountered the dessert during my six week stay in Australia.  I was in high school at the time, but even then I considered myself intellectually ascendant.  When I returned to the States and no one had heard of this meringue crust with fruit and whipped cream, I consoled myself with my more worldly experiences.  Still, I would’ve liked to find at least one person who knew what I was talking about.

Of course, those who I introduced this dessert to assumed some association with Pavlov.  I supposed they could be right – such a dessert could be a ‘reward’ in his system.  I didn’t know enough to question that judgement.  Tonight, however, I found out it was wrong – it took a sci fi novel to tell me different.  According to Eric Flint and Virginia DeMarce (via Carl in 1634: The Ram Rebellion), Pavlova was a desert in memory of a ballerina.  It commemorated the tour of Anna Pavlova in both Australia and New Zealand.

Without science fiction, I would never have had confirmation of the existence of this dessert in the written record.  Without my prolific reading, I would never have rediscovered it.  I’m not saying that such a little factoid has made my life complete.  I’m merely showcasing the interactions of chance in each of our lives.  I do not pretend to know what far-reaching consequence that chance may have.

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2 Comments

  1. Alex said,

    November 7, 2008 at 11:15 am

    Or you could have checked Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pavlova_(food) . Unless that’s beneath you.

  2. sedgehammer said,

    November 7, 2008 at 11:45 am

    I love Wikipedia. But who needs to verify questionable hypotheses when sci fi novels correct your assumptions FOR you?


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