Whenever I run into a fresh technical problem, I often think of this:
"Why does Grandma remove the chicken's legs when she makes soup?"
Aunt Dorothy: "It's easier to cut the chicken when it's cold that when it's hot."
Uncle Bob: "Greater surface area better infuses the broth with fat."
Aunt Sue: "To allow the dark meat and white meat develop flavor on their own."
Aunt Jean: "Smaller pieces allow the chicken to cook faster and more thorougly."
Grandma: "So that it fits in the pot."
"In The Periodic Table, Primo Levi tells a story that happened when he was working in a varnish factory. He was a chemist, and he was fascinated by the fact that the varnish recipe included a raw onion. What could it be for? No one knew; it was just part of the recipe. So he investigated, and eventually discovered that they had started throwing the onion in years ago to test the temperature of the varnish: if it was hot enough, the onion would fry."