Analog vs. Digital thinking, a cooking example

Society as a whole has embraced digital as better than analog.  Audio and video have been marketed that digital is better.  Digital is concerned modern and more powerful.  But your eyes and ears are analog devices.  Your taste and smell are analog.

When I was in Tuscany I noticed the digital thinking when in the cooking class at when the other people attending would ask questions what temperature and how long to cook a dish.  And, a focus on the recipe.  As the class went on people would discuss what recipe they were going to try when got home.  When they asked me what recipe I was going to try.  Being honest, I said I don't know.  Huh?  How can you attend a cooking class and not be thinking about the recipe?  Because I was decomposing the cook's techniques looking for what I could use.  How people approach cooking was more interesting to me than the recipes.  The complexity of cooking can be simplified when you see how someone makes cooking easier and more effective.

Then it hit me.  When I wrote about the Apple iPhone 4 Antenna problem.  Most people have lost the art of thinking in analog.

Here is an example of an awesome restaurant I ate at in Florence, Trattoria Sostanza


Trattoria Sostanza Troia S.A.S. - TrattoriaVia della Porcellana, 25, 50123 Firenze, Italia055 212691‎Rated 4.5 out of 5.0 77 reviews

"IME, having Italian beef cooked beyond medium rare is not worth the price" - ... "Don't skip dessert" ... "The service was wonderful and the food was fantastic" - ... "the wine list is also excellent value" - ... "The food is out of this world" - ... "A true Italian experience!" -

Frommer's says.

Sostanza is popularly called "Il Troia" (The Trough)  because people have been lining up at the long communal tables since 1869 to enjoy huge amounts of some of the best traditional food in the city. The primi are very simple: pasta in sauce, tortellini in brodo (meat-stuffed pasta in chicken broth), and zuppa alla paesana (peasant soup ribollita). The secondi don't steer far from Florentine traditions either, with trippa alla fiorentina or their mighty specialty petti di pollo al burro (thick chicken breasts fried in butter). It's an extremely unassuming place, so laid-back you may not realize you're meant to be ordering when the waiter wanders over to chat. They also frown on anybody trying to cheat his or her own taste buds out of a full Tuscan meal.
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So, here is a top restaurant cooking some of the best food in Florence.  And their main cooking appliance is?


A wood fired grilling area.

In this small kitchen


Now if the chefs told you the temperatures they cooked at and how long, do you think any of that translates to what you should do when you go home?

Here is a close up of their top two dishes being cooked bistecca fiorentina and pollo al burro


Good cooks use their senses - smell, sight, sound, touch, temperature, and taste to cook.  It's not digital.  Cooking has turned into a digital experience for most, but good cooking is analog.

This is the same point made for Christian Belady, Mike Manos, and Chris Malone when they discuss metrics like PUE.  PUE is a number, but not the end.  For those who get the analog experience of running their data centers they know when things are right.

Do you think of your power and cooling systems as analog?

Your people are analog devices too.  But how many of them are treated as digital components?  You can replace any individual without changing the system.

Digital thinking is easier, but it is not right and it doesn't taste good.

Note: correction to Frommer's statement Il Troia in Italian is The Whore not the The Trough.