Re: Practical Math

1

Can you use the score-marks on the third chocolate bar to deduce how much of the second, partially eaten chocolate bar remains?

How much of the third, scored chocolate bar remains?

Also, this thread is useless without pics.


Posted by: Auto-banned | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 6:24 PM
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The two hunks of chocolate are Whole Foods bulk chocolate, chiseled off of some massive block. There are no score marks. The third bar is a traditional chocolate bar.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 6:26 PM
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Tell the person who ate it to drag their sorry ass to the store and get you another .23 pound chunk of chocolate. Or else.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 6:27 PM
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But how much chocolate is in the traditional chocolate bar?

You seem to know exactly. But all we know is that it's less than 0.23 pounds.


Posted by: Auto-banned | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 6:29 PM
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I have 1.2 oz in the bar.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 6:36 PM
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If Becks rains punishing blows down upon the eater of the chocolate (EC) at a rate of 60/minute, how many blows will it take to make the EC go to the store?


Posted by: SAT | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 6:39 PM
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1.2 oz is 0.075 pounds.

(0.23 - 0.075) = 0.1675

So, you need to know if the other bar still contains 0.1675 pounds, which is about 3/4 of its original size.

Does it look like more than a quarter has been bitten off?

If so, it is now too small.


Posted by: Auto-banned | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 6:39 PM
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Break the .40 piece into 2 equal chunks. Compare to the remainder of the .23 chunk. If it's about the same then the culprit ate .03. If it's about half then they ate .115 or so. I'm going to guess that you need about 1 1/2 to 3 oz. of chocolate. It probably won't make too much difference, just a slightly less or more chocolatey cake.


Posted by: Jonathan | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 6:40 PM
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Obviously what MacGyver would do is improvise a balance and determine the weight of the pieces of chocolate relative to each other or, optionally, known quantities of water.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 6:42 PM
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Not to throw in a monkey wrench, but are these all the same kinds of chocolate? The chunks are not unsweetened and the "candy bar" is not semi-sweet, right? Because that would cause more problems than just being off by an ounce.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 6:44 PM
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However, the chocolate could not come into contact with the water, or it will start to dissolve.


Posted by: Auto-banned | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 6:44 PM
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it will start to dissolve

…releasing deadly gas!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 6:45 PM
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If the densities are equal, can't you melt and measure?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 6:47 PM
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10: Yes, obviously if there are now less than the required 0.63 pounds of this type of chocolate, and any other chocolate is of a different variety, then the other cho9colate is irrelevant and Bexks will need to get more of the finely weighed chocolate.


Posted by: Auto-banned | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 6:49 PM
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Or! Here's what you do! Get a flexible but still relatively stiff length of something and have it project off the edge of the counter, stabilized with a heavy pot or can or whatnot. Affix a small basket to the overhanging end. Put the .4lb piece of chocolate in the basket and then measure the displacement from the horizontal, using that to figure out the spring constant with Hooke's law. Then you can put the other pieces of chocolate in the basket and use the new displacements to figure out their mass.

Problem solved!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 6:52 PM
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16

Eat all the chocolate and buy a cake later.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 6:52 PM
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Also, Becks left out a crucial element of the story, which is which housemate is so hard up for munchies that s/he resorted to eating baking chocolate?


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 6:52 PM
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Are there teeth marks on the chocolate?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 6:55 PM
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This is dark chocolate, not baking chocolate.

I'd thought of water displacement but wasn't sure how to pull it off. Melt and measure (which I hadn't thought of) looks like the way to go since I have to melt it anyway. Thanks, internet!


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 6:56 PM
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(And thanks to eb in particular)

There are no teeth marks.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 6:57 PM
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Come on Becks! My solutions were the best!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 6:57 PM
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Who are the suspects? Armsmasher, Sausagely, maybe Spackerman, and the hottest female journalist in DC, (I don't know her seekrit name). I say, cherchez la femme.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 6:59 PM
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It's impossible. There's no choice but to eat all of the chocolate yourself and curse your housemates.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 6:59 PM
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You could do it if you had a big measuring cup and a bowl that was small enough to float in it. Look at the level of water with just the bowl floating, then put the chocolate in the bowl and see how much the water goes up. The volume of water displaced will be equivalent to the weight of the chocolate, and because an ounce of water happens to weigh an ounce, the math is easy. But you almost certainly don't have such a cup and bowl.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 7:00 PM
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The hottest female journalist (off-air) in DC moved out and was replaced with some dude.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 7:00 PM
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Or, come to think of it, a small light bowl, a big bowl, and a pan. Set the big bowl in the pan, and pour in water carefully until the small bowl is floating, the big bowl is absolutely brimfull, and the pan has no water in it. Now put the chocolate in the small bowl. Some water will overflow into the pan. Take the bowls out of the pan without spilling more, then measure the water in the pan in a measuring cup -- the fluid ounces of water are the same as the weight-ounces of chocolate.

But honestly, eyeballing it will probably do you fine. You can tell if the gnawed chocolate is half gone, less than half gone, or whatever, and if the recipe's a little off, nothing bad will happen.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 7:04 PM
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What Apo said.

You're fucked. Back to the store.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 7:05 PM
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24 was similar to what I was thinking. I was going to float an empty bowl in a bigger bowl that is filled exactly to the rim with water. Then add the chocolate to the bowl, and collect the water that overflows from the bigger bowl (maybe you need a third bowl for this). Then measure the overflowed water in a measuring cup and do the math.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 7:05 PM
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26 - it seems LizardBreath is one step ahead of me...


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 7:06 PM
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Ok, but how old is the bus driver?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 7:06 PM
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29: Archimedes lives!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 7:08 PM
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Obviously what MacGyver would do is improvise a balance and determine the weight of the pieces of chocolate relative to each other or, optionally, known quantities of water.

Well, sure, but what Mineshaft MacGyver would do is find out which of your roommates knows the exact weight of his penis, and use that as a standard.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 7:10 PM
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No, you guys, the important question is what kind of chocolate is it? Callebaut? Yum.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 7:12 PM
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Oooh, I just looked at the recipe -- that's basically the same as the inside of the Art Deco birthday cake I did for the kids a while back.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 7:14 PM
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Which means it should come out really good.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 7:16 PM
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That recipe, though, calls for more chocolate, more butter, and more eggs. And no sugar. What's the sugar for?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 7:16 PM
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the Art Deco birthday cake I did for the kids

Hee. SWPL? In my days of youth, countless hours went into making my birthday cakes with pictures of, like, the mice from Cinderella on them.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 7:17 PM
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i think the most honest answer to Beck's question is that I can't think of any reason that the chocolate would have to be exact. Chocolate adds flavor and moistness. A little more of less won't make an appreciable difference.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 7:18 PM
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I made the cake for Passover. It's completely delicious. This one isn't even for me. It's a thank you gift.

Also delicious: huckleberry pie, which I had this weekend thanks to Napi!


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 7:20 PM
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Perhaps calculations should be done on the "There's no such thing as too much chocolate" principle.

Also, check and see if the hott journalista snuck back in to steal chocolate. Is she living on the street now? That would explain a lot.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 7:20 PM
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Were you not here yet when I was bragging on it? Here's the ridiculous pile of fondant, and thank you for giving me the opportunity to resurrect it from the mists of oblivion.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 7:22 PM
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Go to the medicine cabinet and take out your thermometer. Then find the custodian of your building and say, "I'll give you this thermometer if you tell me how much this irregularly-shaped piece of chocolate weighs."


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 7:22 PM
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Well, sure, but what Mineshaft MacGyver would do is find out which of your roommates knows the exact weight of his penis, and use that as a standard.

It would have to be drained of blood first in order to not be wildly variable.


Posted by: Auto-banned | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 7:25 PM
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Damn you, Gonerill. I just snorted in a seriously undignified fashion.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 7:27 PM
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42: what is this, "Sam and Max Hit the Road"?

Becks could also use the chocolate on the block of wood, and put the combined item on the floor to attract mice. then use the Robo-Shoe to squash the mice, and you can use the dead mice to attract cats. then the cats can be traded to the old lady for a nice cake!


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 7:33 PM
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I am huge proponent of the eyeball method of cooking. Especially when a leavening agent is not the one in question. Just throw it all in, will be fine.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 7:39 PM
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So am I, Sybil, but I'm a terrible cook. Step one of the eyeball method is "be a good cook".


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 7:39 PM
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I think eyeballing chocolate is usually a fine way of doing cake. And adding in a bit of other chocolate usually improves flavor overall, even if it's not super-good chocolate. All this within reason, of course.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 7:42 PM
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Having seen Ratatouille, I think step one of eyeballing is more like, 'relinquish expectations about what something should taste like.' It's all a fun experiment, dahling. Except with leavening agents. Although I just recently figured out a fine way to fudge being out of baking soda.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 7:42 PM
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Count me in with the eyeballers. It drives BR the pharmacist crazy. She wants everything measured exactly.

Me?

Pinch here. Pinch there. see what happens.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 7:47 PM
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51

About 20% of my experiments are inedible, even by me.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 7:47 PM
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52

||

Overheard just now:

A - Would you guys rather have breast implants made of Nerf material or playdough?

B - I think Nerf, because with playdough, whenever you smooshed your boob up against anything, it would stick that way.

A - I know! I say Nerf too, but a lot of people say playdough!

|>


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 7:48 PM
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you still have to have enough cooking experience to get the amount right at the level of orders of magnitude.

I'm pretty good at not including 50 times too much salt, but even 10 times too much salt is not good for some cookies.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 7:48 PM
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With Silly Putty, you could make copies of the comics.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 7:48 PM
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54,. that would only work with external breast augmentation, not implants.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 7:50 PM
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48-51, 53: Well, sure, but she's got a general idea of how much -- the .4 lb piece and then a little more than half as much. Order of magnitude mistakes aren't on the cards.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 7:50 PM
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53.2 that's baking though, different story...


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 7:51 PM
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Well, peter is right about that, one does need a rough sense of ratios. But I am usually looking at a recipe and just can't be bothered to measure shit in any precise way. Or to go to the store if I am out of something. So splash of milk here, blob of butter there. No brown sugar? Add more white sugar and some syrup. etc.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 7:51 PM
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obviously, I hadn't read the thread.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 7:51 PM
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I'm going to guess that nobody very few people could eat more than two ounces of chocolate at one go.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 7:54 PM
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I'm fine with eyeballing stuff when cooking. With baking, I like precise measurements.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 7:54 PM
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Just go ahead and use it all. There's no such thing as too much chocolate.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 7:56 PM
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I'm going to guess that nobody very few people could eat more than two ounces of chocolate at one go.

Whaaa?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 7:57 PM
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I ate more than 2ozs of chocolate while scrolling through this thread.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 7:58 PM
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yea, well, I do not even try to bake.

And I do not try any serious baking.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 7:58 PM
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Well, bittersweet chocolate from a difficult-to-manhandle, big-ass chunk, which you know belongs to someone else? I'm sticking with two ounces, being enough to gobble at one sitting, and little enough to convince yourself that the roommate will never notice the missing bit.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 7:58 PM
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Seriously, I think the malefactor, when identified, owes you a kitchen scale. They're very useful.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 7:58 PM
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Depending upon the type of chocolate - you could wrap it in saran wrap and submerge it in water (of which you could measure the change in volume). I'm sure you could google the density of the specific chocolate in question, measure the level of fluid displacement, and then plug in the numbers.. (Density=Mass x Volume) Just make sure that everything is in proper units (i.e. grams, etc.).


Posted by: Jeff | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 8:25 PM
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2 ounces of chocolate is a warm up, not a limit.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 8:41 PM
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One more vote for putting too much chocolate and not worrying about it. My grandmother's fabulous brownie recipe is actually improved by increasing the chocolate by 1/3 and decreasing the flour by 1/4.


Posted by: Shamhat | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 8:59 PM
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One more vote for identifying the malefactor. It's simply not very often enough in life that one can deploy "insouciant chocolate eater" as an insult.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 9:03 PM
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I'm all about the eyeballing, especially since recipes seem to use round numbers anyway so I figure there's some associated error bar that's roughly within the range of what I would eyeball.

The recipe, after all, calls for 10 ounces, which is 0.625 pounds. Clearly the 0.005 pound difference doesn't bother you. Surely you can get roughly that close by eye?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 9:09 PM
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Everybody already came up with all the fun ideas. Oh well. You could burn the larger piece of choclate in order to determine how man kcal/g it has, and then burn the smaller piece of chocolate to determine how many kcal less than expected it is. Then you could go buy more chocolate.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 9:22 PM
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Everybody already came up with all the fun ideas. Oh well.

you could post a variation/elaboration on my hilarious #45.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 9:25 PM
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Oh, I didn't mean 45.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 9:28 PM
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Ooh! I know one. You just need to find something that ways a quarter or a half of a pound, and construct a level with the arms of different lengths.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 9:33 PM
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Actually all you need is something of a known weight; move the fulcrum of the level until it balances, mark the spot, and then determine the ratio of the lengths of the two sides of the level. You know have the ratio of the total chocolate weight to the known weight.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 9:34 PM
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Or! You could get some very malleable material that holds whatever shape it's bent into, then drop the .4lb piece from a known height onto it and measure the cavity. Let's assume these are all perfectly spherical pieces so that we don't need to worry about what part of the bar hits. Then you drop the other pieces from the same height onto fresh pieces of this materieal, etc. I'm sure it can't be too complicated once you have the data.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 9:36 PM
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piece of choclate
something that ways a quarter or a half of a pound
fresh pieces of this materieal

Tweety and w-lfs-n are evidently strategizing over shots of rye.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 9:43 PM
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79: "ways": ow.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 9:57 PM
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The American way to solve this would be to grab the nearest swarthy person, waterboard them until they confess and tell you how much chocolate they ate. Then put however fucking much chocolate into the cake that you want and spend the next 5 years accusing anyone who doesn't the like the way it came out of being a cake-hating terrorist or a cake-eating gay elitist depending on the demands of the moment.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 9:57 PM
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Use the amount of chocolate you have left and rename the recipe.


Posted by: froz gobo | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 10:04 PM
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Use the amount of chocolate you have left and rename the recipe.

Wu wei cake.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 10:41 PM
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Ballpark it, and if you're worried about it not being chocolatey enough, add some extra cocoa and sugar and maybe some extra butter, for the fat content.

It might not turn out *exactly*, but it'll be fine. People pretend that baking is persnickity, but it really isn't.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 10:44 PM
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Wu wei is a concept with a surprisingly wide range of application.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 10:45 PM
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which housemate is so hard up for munchies that s/he resorted to eating baking chocolate?

Mr. B. buys several blocks of baking chocolate every time he goes to the grocery store, and eats them as snacks.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 10:52 PM
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86: I'm in the same boat. "Baking something? Lemme have some of that chocolate before you fuck it all up with too much sugar and eggs and butter."


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 10:57 PM
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I'll be making my extremely awesome chocolate shortbreads for an upcoming event. They're super bitter and salty and have cacao nibs in them, and are a really wonderful way to taste chocolate qua chocolate, without getting too distracted by sugary whatnot.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 11:01 PM
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88: I have an address. Should I send a money order for delivery, or do you accept COD?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 11:07 PM
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I'm not sure they'll ship well, as they're extremely fragile. But the recipe is on my food wiki! Of course, if we're talking an exchange...


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 11:10 PM
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90: my co-blogger hints at some New Zealand wine, coming soon. I'd be down for a swap.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 11:14 PM
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Sweet.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-27-08 11:15 PM
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Obviously what MacGyver would do is improvise a balance and determine the weight of the pieces of chocolate relative to each other or, optionally, known quantities of water.
[Followed by various bizarre schemes]

Yeah, but MacGyver is obligated to succeed.

Get a big book, like say, my National Geographic Atlas of the World and get a balance point, like my triangular architect ruler (it's triangular when viewed from one end). Then you use the ruler to measure to the middle of the book (or not), and then you put the book on the ruler and tap it around to get it to balance up, or real close to it, anyways.

Then you cut the .40 lb piece in half and put it on one end, and the chewed piece equidistant from the middle on the other end. Then pile bits of candy bar with the chewed piece until the scale overbalances. If you were persnickity, you'd put (0.03 x 16oz = 0.48 oz) a bit less than half the candy bar on the .20 lb end.

And that will work because I've done it before when the batteries in my scale died in the middle of a recipe. ('This 15 oz. can of chicken stock weighs about a pound when you include the can, so frozen meat on the other end ... yay... TOUCHDOWN.') And only one moving part!

People pretend that baking is persnickity, but it really isn't.

Yeah, what B said.

max
['For archival purposes only.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 1:24 AM
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Tsk. Blown tag.

max
['Ah well.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 1:25 AM
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Watch the video on this page, and listen to Hillary, Barack, and McCain address the World Wrestling Entertainment audience.

McCain is the only one who doesn't sound like a complete phony who'd rather be somewhere else. This is why McCain will be our next president.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 4:45 AM
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There's a reason why recipes never specify quantities that don't end in a zero or a five; if precise measurement mattered, they would.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 4:58 AM
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You should try some of my grandmother's recipes:

Add a good handful of this, as much of that as you think looks right and not too much of the other. Stir till it's not quite mixed and pour into a largish tin. Place in a very hot oven for a few minutes, then turn it down and take it out when it's done.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 5:04 AM
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The Democrats have to change the game to win. Changing th game isn't impossible, but it has to be done. Obama is a much better prospect for a game changer than Hillary, who is a cringer.

There's too much cringing by Democrats. (And by McManus too). This looks like a very good year. The media are still idiots, but the electorate is gradually becoming less stupid than the media.

Atrios pointed out that even though Kerry's horrible misunderstanding of the Philadelphia cheese steak got national attention, Kerry got 80% of the vote in Philadelphia. This year it's bowling. There's no justification for emphasizing that kind of stuff.

There has never been a time since about 1988 when the Republicans were more popular with the voters than they were with TV news and talk shows, much less radio. They called Bush a "popular President" until his approval ratings went under 40%. "Popular" has to mean 60% plus; 55% would still be "controversial".


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 5:25 AM
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McCain is the only one who doesn't sound like a complete phony who'd rather be somewhere else. This is why McCain will be our next president.

I deny that WWE lovers = majority of American voters. In fact, I doubt if most WWE fans bother to vote. They believe it's all fixed.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 5:27 AM
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On the other hand, John McCain can't even lift his arms high enough to shoot a free throw, so advantage Obama.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 7:24 AM
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I deny that WWE lovers = majority of American voters

I deny that most WWE lovers are old enough to shave, much less vote.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 7:27 AM
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99: 95 is embarrassingly silly, mcmc. There's not need to respond.

Shit, John McCain wanted to ban MMA. Rise up, fight fans! Rise up and reject Sky Captain No Fun!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 7:31 AM
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95 is embarrassingly silly, mcmc.

Sillier things have become conventional wisdom. Hell, you can pretty much count on things at least this silly becoming conventional wisdom.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 7:43 AM
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103: oh, sure. GB is a reliable bellwether of the "dang I just knew they were chardonnay sippers" set. But, you know, our minds are precious. Better not to sandblast them inoperative needlessly.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 7:45 AM
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FWIW, this article describes a study that purports to show that "practical math" pedagogy is less effective at imparting mathematical reasoning skills than the abstract conceptual approach.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 7:47 AM
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106

Tell the person who ate it to drag their sorry ass to the store and get you another .23 pound chunk of chocolate.

Yes, this. Only complete motherfuckers would eat a chunk of obviously special chocolate (or maybe everybody has huge, chiseled chunks of chocolate in their fridge in Whole Foods containers and I am irreparably low-rent). Leaving most of it is no excuse. They owe you new chocolate.

Also, the various opinions that you can eyeball it with surprising success are all perfectly correct. One of the first things my mother taught me about cooking was how to eyeball approximate teaspoon measurements by cupping my hand in a certain way. The only time I need precise measurements when baking are for liquids and for everything when I'm using the bread machine since it's fairly picky. Otherwise, whatever goes in goes in.

My mother wrote out a recipe for cheesy, spicy cornbread a few years ago and had things listed with measurements but when she handed it to me she said, "Oh, these are all just guesses." Since then I've basically eyeballed everything in it. I once tried to double the recipe for an oversized cast iron skillet and came out with a weird but delicious kind of amorphous corn stuff that now, every time I try to recreate it, results in perfect cornbread. Baking produces enough variance already that the technology allows for a lot of different inputs.

Cakes, within certain limits, are exactly the same. I made a Blue Velvet cake for a party one time by taking a standard red velvet recipe, changing the food coloring and throwing in a bunch of extra blueberry syrup. Even with that much added liquid and sugar it came out just fine. That's not to say I don't measure things when baking, I just don't feel obligated. It all ends up depending on whether I'm feeling like an artist or an engineer.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:13 AM
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107

Shit, John McCain wanted to ban MMA. Rise up, fight fans! Rise up and reject Sky Captain No Fun!

That was his position about 10 years or more ago, when MMA competitions were a lot wilder than they are today. UFC and other organizations now have plenty of safety rules (like weight classes, for starters) and McCain now supports MMA in its current form.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:18 AM
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108

Sounds like a flip-flopper to me.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:19 AM
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109

I'm a good cook and good bread baker but crummy pastry baker. It's not at all clear to me why this is, aside from the fact that I just don't make sweets often. I guess it might also be that I'm extra picky about my baked goods.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:20 AM
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110

McCain now supports MMA in its current form.

Flip-flopper !


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:20 AM
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111

goddamit RMcMP !


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:21 AM
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108: I don't think flip-flopper is a strong enough term for McCain. The guy changes his mind on tax cuts every two years; he's like a pander turbine.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:22 AM
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I'm a good cook and good bread baker but crummy pastry baker.

You mean your pastries yield lots of crumbs?

RFTS, I can't imagine why someone who can bake good bread can't make good pastries, unless you are restricting your definition of "pastries" to "foods made with pâte feuilletée", in which case, who the hell can make that stuff, apart from trained professionals? Have you tried making the kind of Kuchen made from yeasted dough? This should play to your strenths. Just add plums, apples, or cherries (and sugar), and you're in business. There are also types of viennoiserie made from yeasted, unlaminated doughs (similar to challah dough) that you would probably excel at.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:33 AM
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goddamit RMcMP !

I eagerly await Obama's denouncement of you! I'm holding my breath for it! I'm holding my breath so hard.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:35 AM
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pander turbine

Awesome. (Unlike the panda turbine, which was remarkably unpopular.)


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:37 AM
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116

What I mean is, I try to make birthday cake, eat the results, and think, "blech!"


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:37 AM
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UFC and other organizations now have plenty of safety rules (like weight classes, for starters)

These are to protect sumo wrestlers from Gracies.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:40 AM
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Or I think to myself, "maybe I just hate regular birthday cake" and go to make some dacquoise circles to layer with mousse, but shatter them when I try to trim them.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:40 AM
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119

||

Annals of corporate-speak: "please list all general partners of each as exampled above."

Exampled? Am I right to be totally irritated by this? It appears to be proper English, but no! Fuck no! I resist!

|>


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:40 AM
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120

In conclusion, fuck a cake, as exampled above.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:42 AM
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121

119. Exemplified.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:44 AM
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122

I try to make birthday cake, eat the results, and think, "blech!"

What's blech about them? Too sweet? Not sweet enough? Texture wrong? That kind of thing.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:46 AM
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These are to protect sumo wrestlers from Gracies.

Well, sometimes. But remember that 100-pound dude that Dan Severn suplexed into next week? They're more to protect guys like him.

That's not to say lighter guys can't defeat heavier opponents. They can, sometimes. But mismatches can be deadly.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:48 AM
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121: shit I'd be happy with "as in the above example", or "as demonstrated above". Or pretty much anything but "exampled".


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:51 AM
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They're managers Sifu, you can't expect them to speak English.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:53 AM
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That kind of thing.

That kind of thing, yes. All of the above. Too dry, too sweet, too wet and dense, crumb inadequately delightful, pain in the ass to deliciousness ratio too high, etc.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:53 AM
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Or pretty much anything but "exampled"

"like we did last summer"


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:54 AM
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Or I think to myself, "maybe I just hate regular birthday cake" and go to make some dacquoise circles to layer with mousse, but shatter them when I try to trim them.

Walk before you try to run, RFTS! I consider myself a reasonably competent dessert baker, and I still shy away from tackling a proper dacquoise. That shit is for the pros!

BTW, I grew up on my mother's Duncan Hines boxed cakes with icing out of the pastic container, and never found anything wrong with them. I recently was served a cake like this, and I could barely choke down a single bite. The hedonic treadmill of baking strikes again!


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 8:56 AM
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Duncan Hines boxed cakes with icing out of the pastic container,

There's still a whole aisle full of these at my supermarket, though I never see anyone putting one in his cart. Mysterious.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 9:00 AM
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That shit is for the pros!

And yet it consists of (a) meringues, which any fool can make, and (b) mousse, which any fool can make. It didn't seem so outrageous to me!

I think a large part of my problem is that what I actually enjoy in a cake is either extreme simplicity, which is fine but not birthday-party material, or truly super-elaborate Viennese extravaganzas, which I am not about to make. American-style layer cakes with buttercream are sort of blah, and also tedious (I find) to prepare.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 9:02 AM
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Pastic: is there anything it can't do?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 9:03 AM
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129: Exactly. I'm convinced that the same boxes have been there for years.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 9:04 AM
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I make Blue Velvet cake! High-five!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 9:06 AM
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Duncan Hines frosting is bad. Their plain vanilla cake doubled and baked in a bundt pan is not bad. Drizzled with a lemon syrup it can be pretty tasty.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 9:15 AM
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I make Blue Velvet cake! High-five!

^5!

That kind of thing, yes. All of the above. Too dry, too sweet, too wet and dense, crumb inadequately delightful, pain in the ass to deliciousness ratio too high, etc.

Oh, damn. If it were one thing I might could help but that? That I cannot help. I have a lot of blind spots in my own cooking - more blind spots than successes, one could argue - and there are things I simply cannot make or make well, including a lot of baked goods despite baking being my favorite form of cooking. Pie crusts are supposed to be the easiest thing in the world to make but every one I've ever tried has come out indistinguishable from adobe. Likewise any sort of savory baked good other than quick breads; if it isn't soda bread, basically, then it's coming from the bread machine or the store and that is simply that.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 9:17 AM
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Pastic: is there anything it can't do?

Accept no substitutes.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 9:23 AM
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136: Next Unfunkked cover?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 9:26 AM
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Growing up the traditional division of labor was to have one's sisters make the pastry/baking part of the dessert, and me to make the sauce or filling or cooking part of it. Unfortunately this doesn't work so well when one's sisters are not around.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 9:28 AM
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Pastic: is there anything it can't do?

Evidently not.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 9:29 AM
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137: I usually start with this.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 9:29 AM
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How come no one besides lizard breath and peter are picking up on the incredible question in 52? I saw that, and my first thought was "damn, why aren't there more situations in my life in which this is an appropriate topic of conversation?" I want to hear more people's opinions on the nerf vs. playdough question. Help me obi wan unfogged, you're my only hope.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 12:40 PM
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Did we ever find out how the cake turned out?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 2:16 PM
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141: The question was explicitly posed to guys, rob. What's your choice?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 3:29 PM
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Nerf, totally.

It's fun! And boobs are part of sex! And sex is fun!


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-28-08 4:35 PM
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