There are many times in the kitchen where I am forced to use Math. Math is an important skill to have. Sure, I use it in my everyday job (Accounting) sometimes, but most of that Math is done with calculators, Excel and tax programs.
When it comes to cooking I use math a whole lot. Recipes are made up of Math, and many of them are mostly made for not enough or too many people. It’s important to know how to double, half and sometimes go even further than that. What if a recipe calls for three full eggs, but you want a smaller version featuring only one or two eggs. Then it’s not about halving stuff, it’s about going into fractions (⅓ or ⅔).
I sometimes make sauces and spice mixes, but want a larger batch. So, instead of using teaspoons and tablespoons I break the recipe down to parts and use that instead. This way I can use my number system to create a large or any size batch I want.
I’ve even written down some of these breakdowns into my cookbooks. This is my breakdown of Danny Trejo’s Gringo Taco Seasoning mix.
Baking is all about math too. I have learned that baking is more of a science while grilling is more of a guessing game. Even though many baking recipes are recorded in cups, tablespoons and teaspoons, you will always get a much better bake weighing your ingredients with a scale. Grams/ounces is the way to go when making cakes, breads, cookies and any other baked goods.
I made the most Math-heavy recipe in my life the other day, and it’s not what you’d expect. This was like an algebra problem, or trigonometry (although I’m pretty great at math, I don’t know the labels of all the different types of math anymore).
The meal was a Frozen Food Triple-dipper. I wanted to find a way to have some chicken, something cheesy and some pizza all at once! In college, my roommates and I would throw multiple frozen items onto a pan and throw it in the oven at an average baking temperature until it smelled and looked kind of done. Of course, cooking times are also very important when it comes to frozen snacks.
What I did the other day was break it down by first finding that average temperature. Lucky for me the temperature range was from 425-450 degrees, so not that different. I also used the toaster oven which usually gets too hot so I left it at 425 degrees.
Cooking Times and Temps
Frank’s RedHot Bites
Time: 14 – 16 min
Temp: 450 degrees
Totino’s Pizza Rolls
Time: 10 – 12 min
Temp: 425 degrees
Time: 8 – 9 min
Temp: 450 degrees
I started off baking my Frank’s RedHot Original Boneless Chicken Bites for just 4 minutes on their own. Next, I added in my Totino’s Pizza Rolls for another 4 minutes (now 8 minutes on the Frank’s). Finally, I flipped those two over and tossed in my FarmRich Mozzarella Sticks (aka Cheese Sticks) for the last 8 minutes (that’s a total of 16 for Frank’s and 12 for the Pizza Rolls).
Everything came out just perfect. Even Paul Hollywood (The Great British Baking Show) would agree.
When preparing my items I did find some Tequeños in the freezer but those had a 350 degree bake and an extra long baking time. It would have thrown off my whole system so I decided to leave them out.
There is one last thing I will leave you with. Frozen foods should never be made in the microwave, when you have the luxury of using an oven or toaster oven. Yes, it may take 4x as long to cook, but it’s well worth the wait. So, start preheating your oven now and grab a snack while you wait.