Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Vintage Housewife does MATH

I've had a few female students tell me that they're not worried about doing well in school because they just want to be "wives and mothers."  Ummmm...NO.  Bad student.  I try to insist that wives and mothers need to know a bit about everything, so these girls need to pay even more attention, but they generally don't buy it.

Today, however, I came across a concrete example of why these girls will need an extensive math knowledge.  If I didn't know math, I could have never made this delicious pie:

My husband and I love going to the Grand Traverse Pie Company about a mile from our house.  They have the best pies in town, and I've been dying to get my hands on the recipe for their crumbly strudel crust.  It's top-secret, though, and they don't sell cookbooks or anything. Instead of scouring less-than-reputable Google imitation recipes, I befriended the girl who works the pie counter.  I complimented her make-up, told her that her hair looked nice, etc.  We've actually become pretty close.  You know, in a customer/pie girl kind of way.  She's in my phone as "Ashley Pie Girl."  But I digress.  The point is, last week I felt that we were finally close enough to take our relationship to the next level.

I asked her for the crumble recipe.

Eeeeeeeek!! It was so scary.  I was afraid she would get all offended and tell me that we couldn't be friends anymore because I was nosing into her top-secret pie business.  Instead, she not only gave me the recipe, but also gave me some free pie.  Wow!  What a pal.  I might actually put her real name in my phone someday soon.

The main problem with the recipe is that it was to make fifteen pies.  It included EIGHT POUNDS of sugar.  Well, I'm not about to put eight pounds of sugar on my pie.  I figured, "Hey, no problem!  I'll just divide everything by fifteen!"

That turned out to be easier said than done.  First,  I had to divide everything by fifteen, which is obviously not a tidy number.  I ended up with crazy decimals, like 0.3654 pounds of butter.  Clearly that was going to be easy to measure *sarsasm.*  After I found how many pounds I needed, I had to find conversion tables to convert pounds into cups and/or tablespoons because I don't have a kitchen scale.   Then I had to find a separate conversion table for the flour, the butter, etc. because a cup of sugar does not weigh the same as a cup of flour.

Twenty-minutes later, I found myself sitting at the kitchen table with pages of numbers that would have challenged my smartest math students.  Phew!  Who knew pie was such hard work?  Especially before I even touched a single ingredient?!

I finally figured out calculations that I thought were correct (or as correct as I was going to get), and I started assembling my pie.  I was nervous the whole time it was cooking, and to be honest, I still don't think I got all of the ratios right.  I'm going to try a little bit less flour next time.  The crumble tasted close to that of the Pie Company, but not quite right on.  If I figure out the perfect recipe, I'll post it so that you can enjoy the delicious fruits of my mathematical labor.

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