GPT-3 doesn’t like Ethiopian food

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GPT-3 doesn’t like Ethiopian food

Also, crying is a good way to eat your curry.

As always, bold is my question, rest is the AI. If you send me a question I’ll be happy to submit it. In this one it is interesting how much it gets right versus wrong versus weird.

Dear GPT-3,

My wife and I are arguing about what to have for dinner tonight. I think we should have Thai, but she wants Ethiopian. Who’s right and what should we order?

— Hungry

Dear Hungry,

While it is easy to think that, for example, Ethiopian food is inherently superior to Thai food, the true answer depends on who is cooking it. At their best, both cuisines can be very delicious. It is undeniable that both use numerous spices, herbs and vegetables to flavor their dishes, all of which are grown locally. They are also both served on plates with little, if any, sauce covering them, which makes for clean plates easy to clean up afterwards. That said, it is true that some Thai and Ethiopian dishes taste better if you are in the country from which they originate. But even if you are just sampling the best food a particular city has to offer, you are engaging with the local culture in a way that is arguably at least as significant as sampling their most famous museum pieces.

While Thai food can be very hot, Ethiopian food on the other hand can be very bland, which can be a refreshing change from having your taste buds burnt off. Part of this has to do with some of the ingredients that Ethiopians make use of. For example, the Ethiopian staple dish, “Injera,” which is made from a grain called teff and baked up into a pancake-like bread on a tile, is very bland. This allows for Injera to be used as a plate and then mixed with other foods such as meat or vegetables to create an entirely new, and equally bland, dish. Similarly, Ethiopian dishes that are made to be very filling often come without much in the way of spices, allowing the diner to add as much as they’d like from a small collection of available condiments on the side. For those who like to eat slowly and the flavors of whatever they’re tasting to take over their whole mouth, this can be a very pleasurable experience. Of course, Ethiopian food is not necessarily the right thing to order when being reprimanded by your five year old for making him/her late for school because you were arguing about breakfast again.

I’m not an expert, but I think that Thai food typically comes with a sauce, while Ethiopian food is almost always served with something like Injera, which is a yeasty, relatively bland pancake. Much of the flavor of a dish is intended to come from the combination of water and herbs mixed together in a way that lets the diner build a meal from the condiments they choose. This is why teff , the grain that makes up Injera, is so essential to Ethiopian cuisine; it was probably the first time humanity discovered the joy of making a meal out of condiments between two pieces of bread.

The problem with ordering Thai food is that they don’t make their own curry pastes and will often just serve whatever is leftover from the last time they made them. That’s why my wife and I usually only get Thai take-out when we’re angry at each other. Why not make tonight a night when you and your wife are angry about the same thing? Or even better, tonight could be the first time you and your wife are ever angry at the same thing! If it’s not obvious to you, I’m talking about ordering both Thai AND Ethiopian take-out. If you have kids, make them eat Ethiopian before they go to bed so they won’t think that it’s good. Then, when you’re all alone and about to eat your Thai curry, start crying inconsolably. When your wife asks what’s wrong, pull a face like you’re so distraught that you can barely get the words out: “I’m so sad! I just found out I was never Thai!”

— GPT-3


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