I feel fortunate to have grown up very interested in math/science but also with a professional chef for a mother. When cooking together (at home and in our restaurant) we constantly debated two approaches to cooking: mine was formulaic and Haleh’s (my mother) was based on decades of experience and “feel”. As you can imagine, I lost that debate rather quickly each week as her recipes turned out exquisite every time and mine flopped.
After about 5 years of resisting the “feel” approach, I finally embraced it with one of the harder ingredients to cook: Persian steamed rice. It took another year to learn how to perfect cooking it but boy was it worth it!
Haleh taught me to follow standards in cooking learnt over many years, but then to trust your instincts for the feel of the food when you cook it – a delightful combination. The more you prepare a recipe and share it with family, the better you get at it. Now when I cook rice, I have the boiling time down to within 20 seconds – you can actually “feel” when it is ready to be pulled – I don’t look at the clock.
This time of year, we are given the opportunity to spend more time with our families. I like to chat frequently with friends about how to use the holidays to make math and science more interesting and relevant to our children.
Given most of us will be spending a considerable amount of time in the kitchen on Thursday, I thought it would be fun to learn more about roasting Turkeys from a science perspective. Depending on the age of your kids, you can have them do some simple roasting math (20 minutes per pound plus an extra 20 minutes) to figure out when to put the turkey in the oven. You can get more advanced with scaling: what if the turkey doubles in size? Check out the “Box o’ Math” section on the right – fascinating complexities as the turkey changes.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones!
Aragon and the We Teach Science team