Friday, April 9, 2010

MAM Day 9: Cooking and Baking

Rainy days like today are perfect for staying inside and cooking a nice meal or baking some cookies don't you think? Today's math awareness is a brief look into the math that you need to do sometimes when you're cooking or baking.

For those of you who use recipes for cooking, you'll understand the math you sometimes use when cooking or baking. For example, this fried rice recipe looks amazing and is making me hungry. However, the recipe serves 8. I consider myself a "bad eater" because it's rare for me to finish a full restaurant serving of food in one sitting. I get congratulated when I get close. So, to make enough fried rice for one night and maybe some leftover, I decide to halve the recipe. Aha math!

Recipes are one of the only instances where you might actually need to understand math to take fractions of mixed numbers. One half of one and a half cups of rice means dividing a mixed fraction by another fraction, a real world application of fraction division. On the opposite end, people multiply recipes for parties or large dinners, again math.

Oven temperatures, microwave times, defrosting and thawing time, jello-set or flan/custard-set timing, boiled egg timing, and any other kitchen timing all require some interaction with numbers and math.

Even if you don't depend on recipes for cooking, you have to get pretty good with estimation to be a good cook or baker. If you overestimate how much salt to put in, you're in for a salty dish. If you underestimate how much water to boil some pasta in, you could end up with uncooked pasta, or worse, burned saucepots.

Cute food that may or may not involve math. Come to think of it though, something like this still requires an understanding of geometry and how shapes fit together.

Recipe math practice
More math on cooking involving ratios and proportions
And one more math + cooking webpage
Hi def & yummy pictures of food, NSFHunger


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