On Monday I was acquiring sustenance at Rainbow Grocery when I came across an edible fractal in the produce section.
The label described it as romanesco broccoli. I immediately whipped out my iPhone and looked it up on Wikipedia. Sure enough, Wikipedia describes romanesco broccoli as having “…a visually striking example of an approximate fractal in nature.”
Yes, a fractal you can eat!
But then it gets stranger. The following day my family was in town for a visit to Golden Gate Park. For lunch we headed to Park Chow. My order came with a side of — guess what? — romanesco broccoli! I was surprised to say the least.
As for the taste, it’s got a broccoli flavor with a denser texture, a bit like cauliflower.
Fast forward to the following morning, when I was reading BoingBoing. And guess what? They illustrated their post about vegetarian diets with nothing other than a photo of romanesco broccoli.
What would Carl Jung say about all this? I wasn’t alone in my ignorance, a dozen or so friends and family I quizzed had never heard of romanesco broccoli before. Could it be the ghost of the recently deceased Benoit Mandelbrot is contacting us from beyond the grave with edible fractals?