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How to Cut an Angel Food Cake

OUR INTERVIEW is interrupted once again when one of Wurman's assistants knocks on his office door to tell him that the staff's impromptu birthday party for his wife is about to begin.
   Wurman quickly gets up from his desk, which is of a triangular design he made so that he could place the bulk of his work down in the center and then simply roll down to the corner, where he could speak in closest proximity to someone on the other side. I follow him down the hall, past original artwork (I notice some Francis Bacons hanging nearby) into the kitchen, where everyone has gathered around two cakes: one ice cream, one angel food. Wurman smiles with obvious delight at the joy, the casual happiness, of his family and staff. Then his eyes dart to a woman who is bringing a large knife toward the angel food cake.
   "Stop!" Wurman yelps. "No! What are you doing? That's not how to do it!"
   Sheepishly, she lowers the knife, as Wurman comes over to show her, presumably, the right way to cut the cake.
   "If you cut it with a knife," he says, gently, "you'll destroy it."
   He finds a pair of forks and demonstrates the proper technique, using them to cut through the cake and delicately spread each slice.
   "How do you know how to cut it like that?" the woman says, laughing.
   "That's just how you do it," Wurman insists.
   "Who knows these things?" one of his staff members asks.
   Everyone smiles at the obvious answer. Wurman's wife says it anyway: "Richard does." Continued...
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Copyright 1997 The Pennsylvania Gazette Last modified 12/15/97