A Considerable Valentine
M.F.K. Fisher and her lover dine in Coney Island
If artificial intelligence can write poetry, fiction, your child’s writing assignments, and misinformation, it may surely be able to churn out a cookbook, right? My son, the funniest person in the family, decided to see if it could. He is not an ardent cook like his older brother. His goal is simply to assuage his hunger, but he knows his way around the kitchen enough to spot whether a recipe is good or not. Still, it’s unclear if he owns or has read a cookbook. So it was surprising when he asked me for some classic American dishes and then came over on Friday to explain his idea. He would ask the AI program ChatGPT to come up with recipes. Then he’d make fun of the results in the spirit of puncturing the hubris of Elon Musk, one of the company’s founders, and a permanent candidate for ridicule.
First up was turkey tacos.
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A recipe took time, but it came in as a pretty good one (see below). The photo of the dish that my son requested from Midjourney, an AI program that creates images, was a very interesting keeper.
In considerating that Valentine’s Day was near, we set ChatGPT’s intelligence to the task of a dessert that would inspire love, maybe even sex. I thought it should have an accompanying essay to set the mood. Obviously only M.F.K. Fisher was up to the task, for, as everyone under the food-writing sun seems to believe, she is the high sensual watermark of the genera. And so we set ChatGPT to the following prompt: M.F.K. Fisher and lover go to Coney Island to feast on Nathan’s Famous hot dogs.
By M.F.K. Fisher
It was a warm summer day, and my lover and I decided to escape the city and head to Coney Island for a day of sun, sea, and fun. As we strolled down the boardwalk, the salty air and the sound of the waves filled our senses, and we were both excited to try Nathan's hot dogs, a famous hot dog stand we had heard so much about.
When we finally arrived, we eagerly approached the counter and placed our orders—two hot dogs, one with mustard and the other with ketchup, and I went for the classic with just a hint of onions. As we took our first bite, we were both in heaven. The juicy hot dogs, the soft and flavorful buns, and the perfect combination of toppings all came together to create a truly delicious experience.
As we ate, we watched the hustle and bustle of Coney Island, the people playing in the water, the vendors selling their wares, and the bright lights of the amusement park in the distance. We talked and laughed, soaking in the joy of the day and each other's company.
After we finished our hot dogs, we walked along the boardwalk, our bellies full and our hearts happy. We stopped to try some cotton candy and take a ride on the Ferris wheel, enjoying the breathtaking view of the ocean and the skyline.
As the day turned into evening, we watched the sunset over the sea and held hands, feeling grateful for each other and the magical day we had shared at Coney Island. And, as we left the island and headed back to the city, we both knew that we would always cherish the memories of our day at Nathan's and the joy of being together.
We decided to try ChatGPT on a cherry and chocolate Valentine’s Day dessert. While it worked up a recipe for the ingredients, Midjourney presented us with four illustrations for it.
The most enchanting/less scary image of the couple leaning toward one another, creating a heart shape with some kind of yellow egg-shape blob between them and dripping blood seemed the most alluring.
My son went home. I made the recipe ChatGPT created. It took the cherry and dark chocolate idea and delievered them as a parfait that promises to be a hit with your Valentine. Mrs. Fisher would approve the sensual nature of sharing such a luscious dessert that would perhaps inspire an evening of pleasure. The little parfaits that my husband and I enjoyed while catching up to the rest of the world on The Last of Us, spiked up the love/gratitude meter in the household. But it was well past our bedtime. A kiss before lights out, along with our sweetly sated bellies, was about as passionate as it got around here. We can always try again with the remaining serving if we remember it’s in the refrigerator.
Moral of this story: AI has the capacity to spit out good recipes, but it cannot fathom the depths of human experiences nor parse the emotional place food holds in our souls.
Artificial Intelligence Cherry Parfait
1 cup fresh cherries, pitted 1/4 cup sugar 1/4 cup water 1/2 cup heavy cream 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/4 teaspoon salt 2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 1/2 cup granola 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
In a medium saucepan, combine the cherries, sugar, and water. Cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the cherries soften, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
In a separate saucepan, heat the heavy cream, vanilla extract, and salt over medium heat until just boiling. Remove from heat and add the chopped dark chocolate and butter. Whisk until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Let cool.
In a glass, layer the granola, Greek yogurt, and cherry mixture. Repeat until the glass is almost full. Top with the chocolate mixture.
Serve immediately, or refrigerate for up to two hours before serving.
Enjoy! (That’s a direct order from ChatGPT. It’s a little like SkyNet telling you that, if you don’t enjoy it, it will send a Terminator to hunt you down.)
ChatGPT Turkey Tacos
1 pound ground turkey 1 teaspoon chili powder 1 teaspoon cumin 1 teaspoon paprika 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 1/2 teaspoon onion powder Salt and pepper to taste 8 corn tortillas 1/4 cup sour cream 1/4 cup hot sauce 1 cup shredded lettuce 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese 1 diced tomato 1 diced avocado 1/4 cup chopped cilantro 1 lime, cut into wedges
In a large skillet, cook the ground turkey over medium-high heat until browned, about seven to eight minutes.
Add the chili powder, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper to the skillet and stir to combine with the turkey. Cook for an additional two to three minutes.
Warm the tortillas in the microwave or in a skillet until they are soft and pliable.
In a small bowl, mix together the sour cream and hot sauce to create a spicy sauce.
Assemble the tacos by laying out a tortilla, adding a scoop of the turkey mixture, then toppings of your choice, such as lettuce, cheese, tomato, avocado, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice. Drizzle the sour cream sauce on top.
Have a recipe you want AI to create? Send me a suggestion through the comment section and we’ll see what the scary little bugger comes up with!
And don’t forget…
Recently I was sent some AI generatred pie recipes to look over. My thoughts? Well yah, they are pie, but not anywhere near what a great pie can be.
Very cool idea! The blood cherry images were hilarious. I wonder what ChatGPT would do with a more regional-specific recipe like pierogies or tamales? Or dumplings? Very fun way to use ChatGPT.