Cookie Mathematics

Wednesday night I made a second attempt at Schwarzweiss, German checkerboard cookies.  The ones from my first attempt  tasted good but I just didn’t get the process by which they miraculously look like checkerboards. They looked like mutated chocolate and vanilla strips.  I found another recipe with better instructions, and they actually turned out.

I never liked math very much. I really disliked geometry. The process to make checkerboard cookies is mathematical and geometrical, requiring the ability to visualize the process (which I could sort of see) and the patience to carry it out (which I really lack). I had to stack the two different colored layers, cut the stacks in half lengthwise, cut them again in half lengthwise, stack them again,  cut the stacks  in four slices lengthwise, stack them again, then slice the stacks into cookies.

It was intriguing to see a recipe that used three different colored doughs, as that seemed to make the process easier with fewer cuts and stacks. I am sure there is a mathematical explanation for that, but it makes my brain hurt to try to figure it out.

What are your feelings toward and experiences with mathematics? What makes for a good mathematics teacher? Is algebra or geometry easier for you?

35 thoughts on “Cookie Mathematics”

  1. You’ve got me on shaky ground, here, Renee. Algebra . . . that’s the one with equations, right? Geometry was friendlier because it had visuals. I never met a hypotenuse I hated, but then I never met one I felt warm and fuzzy about. My usual response when I encounter algebra or geometry is to run the other way as fast as possible.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I am on math brain

    Math has always come real easy weather is geometry or algebra I dated a girl who decided to major in accounting know what she had problems with statistics or other stuff she would come to me and I would explain it to her

    I don’t like or dislike math math is kind of like putting on your shoes if you do it

    when people said music his mouth bass it occurred to me why I like listening to different types of music jazz classical alone I’ll work around that mathematic interaction

    My guess Renee is that you like aspect of your interaction that require what you think of it as your math brain or you wouldn’t be trying such complicated cookie attempts but the math presentation adds to complication of translation

    they say that different people learn in different ways and my guess is that maybe visualization and I YouTube presentation would work better for you than trying to reach somebody‘s explanation of how what you think of it as a geometrical part of the equation can happen

    At first I thought YouTube presentations of cooking was stupid I wanted measurements and ingredients but in reality it turns out to be a great way for me to cook because I never followed the measurements for the ingredients anyway they are simply an inspiration for me to work around

    Car repairs make great sounds on YouTube the parallel between car repair and cooking may not be obvious but once you get into it it works great in both arenas

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ¿¿¿when people said music his mouth bass it occurred to me why I like listening to different types of music jazz classical alone I’ll work around that mathematic interaction ??? Could someone translate this to a language I understand, please.


      1. The key to interpreting that is “music is math based” Sometimes you have to say it out loud to recreate the circumstances where the dictation went awry.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. thanks bill i appreciate the puzzlemmasters explainatyion for me . i shake my head as i am rereading it 8 hours llater and i always hope that it doesnt cause brain wrenching angst like the response from pj on this one, your methodology is a joyous thing to behold.
          dictation snafus are different than typos arent they?

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I did better in Algebra than I did in Geometry, but both of them are long gone from my brain now. I do okay now with the basic stuff…well, actually, I make a lot more mistakes than I used to, but I at least understand the basic concepts of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. I’m basically getting stupider the older I get and lately I feel like my brain is very fuzzy. Probably because I don’t do much of anything so the brain is atrophying. Or because I’m always so tired that the brain isn’t functioning very well.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I struggle with math more than I want too.
    The cookie recipe; I have seen wood working plans for checkerboards that are made pretty much the same way; cut, turn, cut, turn again. It’s fascinating.
    The little bit that I can sew, I can sort of see how sewing is another form of ‘construction’ just like building a set. I just don’t like using pins. Which is like building something of wood and not using any clamps to hold it together. Cooking is something like that.
    I’m glad I took the two math classes I did at the college recently. Don’t plan on taking another though; it just isn’t worth the hours I have to spend working on it.

    We had a discussion recently about acting. Students who you’d consider ‘slackers’ yet can get up there and act as well as the rest of them.
    And why is that different than math being easy for you and I have to spend hours working on it? Well, it’s not. It just annoys the teacher that you make it look so easy. “You! You’re not being ‘method’ enough! Go! Suffer more!” 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  5. I was a victim of The New Math. Sets and bases other than 10 confused the hell outta me. By the time I hit Freshman Algebra, I hated math. It was shocking to get a D for the first 9 week grading period having had straight A’s. I demanded that my teacher tutor me, and recovered to score a B. The D cost me Valedictorian status. Shared Salutatorian with two others.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. WP is doing some really weird stuff today!

      A good math teacher, to my mind, also has good language skills. You need to be able to explain – in a straight forward and logical fashion – how to work various mathematical problems. I was fortunate to have some very good math teachers during most of my schooling. Unfortunately I also had a very bad one during a rather critical period, my senior year in high school. I just doesn’t work for me to show me three incorrect ways of trying to solve a problem, before you finally stumble on the correct one.

      I loved both algebra and geometry, which surprised the heck out of both my teachers and me. Unfortunately, most of whatever knowledge I had about either is pretty much gone. Fortunately I still have my Programmed Math Review workbook from my freshman year at SIU should I need to brush up on it.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. My grandson loves math. He’s great at it. He hates going out to play at recess time because recess forces him to leave the work he is doing in math.

    This is notable because his mother hates math and always has. She can no longer help her son with his homework because he has passed her up in math . . . and he’s in second grade. I used to say her grasp of math was below that of Spook, our English setter. We look at my grandson now and wonder if it can possibly be true that this mother produced this child.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. have him check khan acadamy and edx online to further his math brain. the market for coders and programmers today is a dark and mtsterious world filled with math brains who enjoy each other and tolerate us who dont qualify as geeks. there is an untapped world out there for a kid whos brain works properly, or for anyone whose brain works correctly actually

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I have a book in my office with all those random carpentry based math formulas; stairs, circumference, angles… and then I google it and input my numbers and Siri tells me. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Algebra is the only subject I’ve ever failed. Miserably. I believe it was in 9th grade. My parents paid for tutoring a whole summer so that I could retake it the next year. I squeaked by with a D+.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. do oatmeal rasin and coconut macaroons count the same? isnt there a way to make oatmeal raisin christmas cookies if you add food coloring to the coconut it is festive. i dont even want to think about putting those green and red things i hate in fruitcake in there oatmeal crasin?


      1. With the oatmeal cookies, I think I would like them better if you used the red and green candied cherries instead of the M&M’s. I’m a little old fashioned about M&M’s, I never put them in my cookies.

        There are Craisins in the baking aisle that are soaked in cherry juice. Those would be good in oatmeal cookies.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Algebra always made perfect sense to me. Geometry I sort of struggled with – didn’t understand how to apply it in real life. Maybe the difference was in the way the subjects were taught. I don’t really remember any of my math teachers, oddly. I remember several teachers that taught subjects like English, science, and social studies. But not math.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. interesting
      i remember names and if i liked them but not their lessons like english history etc where you can put your footprint as a conductor of the priceedings
      in math it’s personality that disappears and facts and ways to memorize take over


  10. Geometry came more easily to me than algebra, though I made it through ok. I scored quite high in special relationships on standardized test, and maybe they’re related. Hence my stint as “Space Wizard”, when I did organizing for people…

    I think it helps any teacher to be able to remember what it was like to be a novice in the skill or subject. Then you can relate to what the beginner is going through, and perhaps find ways to explain the unexplainable.

    Liked by 2 people

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