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How Important Is Math In The Daily Life Of A Missionary?

May 5, 2012

How important is math in the daily life of a missionary?

You be the judge.

Here’s the situation: We’re making chocolate cake from a local recipe that uses normal ingredients we might find here in Petauke.

The recipe says to put the batter into a “large 10-inch cake tin.”

We don’t have a 10-inch cake tin (large or small). All we have is a 9×9 inch square glass pan, or a 13×9 inch rectangular glass pan.
So, what do we do?

Right away, the gut instinct is to go with the 9×9, right?

But not so fast! 10×10 inches should be 100 square inches of cake surface. The 9×9 pan would give us 81 square inches. The 13×9 would be 117. That’s two square inches closer to the ideal size than the 9×9. Sure, there are some depth-of-batter vs time-of-cooking calculations to make, but it seems like the bigger pan is the right choice, right?

But not so fast! It seems that a 10-inch cake tin might just be 10 inches in diameter – a round tin rather than a square one. What then?

The area of a circle is πr². The radius of a 10-inch cake tin is 5 inches. Five squared is 25, times π, which yields approximately 75 square inches – only 6 short of our 81 square inches for the 9×9 square cake pan. Bingo! Looks like the gut instinct was right after all – but only when verified with solid mathematical calculations.

Of course, the proof is in the cake, which is in the oven as I write this. In the meantime, keep your noses to the grindstone, math students! It might not be as interesting as History or as useful as Spanish, but those math skills might save your dessert some day.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Lou Luedtke permalink
    May 5, 2012 10:58 am

    Great story, and having fun with math, my favorite!

  2. Karen Luedtke permalink
    May 5, 2012 11:04 am

    did you take into consideration the difference in tin vs. glass ? Glass usually calls for a lower baking temp – lol

  3. Bonnie Fugate permalink
    May 5, 2012 6:07 pm

    Or forget the math and baking the cake and just eat the cake batter!!!

  4. Teri W. permalink
    May 11, 2012 12:56 am

    So how did it turn out??? Did you make ice cream to go with it or frost it? What are “normal” ingredients you would find in Petauke? What CAN’T you find in Petauke? Would I be able to make the same recipe with ingredients normally found in Wisconsin? It’s time for me to go to sleep, but now I’m really hungry!!
    Blessings from Port Washington!

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