Hundredth Monkey Syndrome

It can be very frustrating writing recipes. It can take a long time to perfect some, especially cakes and puddings which are gluten, dairy, sugar and egg free. So there you are with the perfect cheesecake ready to go to print and you see a similar recipe in another book or magazine and it looks like you have copied theirs.

You are obviously influenced by the latest foods and trends but there is also something else going on called the hundredth monkey syndrome. I first noted this years ago when reading the latest self-help books on the market. I would read one written in America only to find others appearing on the same subject written at the same time on other continents. These people weren’t conferring or copying but tapping into universal knowledge.

In the hundredth monkey phenomenon, monkeys on an island were taught to wash the sweet potatoes they dug up in the sea to remove the sandy soil before eating them. By the time the hundredth monkey had learnt to do this monkeys on other islands started to do the same even though no-one had shown them. It’s like the information goes up into the collective consciousness and can be tapped into by anyone. So when I suddenly get the inspiration to use certain ingredients in a recipe so can other people.

One of the latest trends is using avocados in puddings to produce a creamy but healthy texture. I first started doing this over 10 years ago and thought I was rather clever, but then lots of other people started doing the same and now recipe books are full of ideas. So when you see two similar recipes, one was not necessarily copied, it’s just that two people tapped into that universal inspiration at the same time.