A Matter Of Porridge: a matter of taste by: GF Willmetts (article).

The housebreaker and thief colloquially called by her alias Goldilocks, because of her straw blonde hair, started it all. After breaking and entering the Bear family house, while they were out building up a pre-breakfast appetite, helped herself to their porridge. Therein lies the problem.

Goldilocks found Father Bear’s porridge too hot. Mother Bear’s porridge too cold. However, Baby Bear’s porridge was just right. The problem is that Mother Bear must have made all the porridge at once, so why should there be a heat discrepancy?

One solution would be that Mother Bear spooned out her husband and child’s porridge first, and the time it took to do that, allowed the porridge to cool before she took her own portion. However, as they all were all out for a recreational run, all porridge must have cooled at the same rate which would make this impractical.

A Matter Of Porridge:
A Matter Of Porridge!

Mother Bear also related to the police later that all portions of porridge were equally hot or they all wouldn’t have gone for their recreational run. Of course, Mother Bear could be lying and she might actually prefer cold porridge. If that was the case, that doesn’t explain how her husband’s porridge stayed hotter than hers and her son’s porridge cooled sufficiently for Goldilocks to prefer it.

I did ponder on the size of the portions. Father Bear, being of notable size, would have a bigger bowl, but then, so would Mother Bear have a bigger bowl than her son’s bowl. This would take the size of the bowl and the volume of porridge out of the equation, not to mention a lot of complicated mathematical calculation.

Although it would be difficult to work out the exact measurements of each bowl, it is commonly acknowledged there is a difference of a third between each bowl. As such, a generic figure can be worked out for the surface area which would have determined which would have cooled first:-

Bowl Surface Area =  Pi r^2


Father Bear     3          28.32

Mother Bear    2          12.59

Baby Bear       1            3.15

This presents its own problem as Father Bear’s porridge would have cooled fastest, then Mother Bear’s and then their son’s. This, of course, makes the assumption that Mother Bear filled each bowl in a set order and that Goldilocks sampled in the same order.

It should be pointed out that the Bears have a barely middle class family income and unlikely to have a heated hob to keep the bowls hot. That would also defeat the object of waiting for the porridge to cool down before it was eaten.

Could it be Goldilocks herself? Try this little test. She tasted Father Bear’s porridge and found it too hot. Tasting Mother Bear’s porridge would taste a lot cooler because it would have lost some heat but it wouldn’t be cold. The same would also apply to that of Baby Bear’s porridge. With her tongue acclimatised and tasted two different heated porridges, then the taste of Baby Bear’s porridge would indeed taste right.

As such, the test evidence would suggest that it is a matter heat/cold discrimination that would make Goldilocks believe that Baby Bear’s porridge was all right. As such, she cannot sue the Bear family for any potential damage to her tongue while committing a crime.

© GF Willmetts 2013

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