Algebra and Rice Krispy Treats

4 Jan

I’ve been tutoring for Read for L.I.F.E. for a couple of years now.  For some reason math fell on my plate.  I’ve worked with a student completing summer school algebra, three students working to complete their GED, and one student who needs assistance with algebra at the local community college.  It’s been fun …and a little frustrating.

Tutoring math has always presented me with this question: when am I going to use this stuff?  This typically springboards into a conversation about goals since working with GED math or introductory algebra seldom has a place as the ultimate aspiration.  With a little research I can usually produce examples.


If not, I fall back on my standard conversion problem: Rice Krispy Treats.  The recipe usually doesn’t call for one box of Rice Krispies or one package of marshmallows but rather so many cups of Rice Krispies and so many cups of marshmallows.  Personally, I’m not a fan of Rice Krispies as breakfast cereal (too loud) ; consequently, if something is left over I’d prefer it to be the marshmallows since they can be employed in hot chocolate, candied yams, s’mores, popcorn balls, and cookies.



The cooks in my family just roll their eyes and suggest that I be less mathematical or scientific and just adjust the recipe by sight.  (Please don’t tell the cooks in my family that I’ve created an Excel spreadsheet to automatically perform the calculations for Rice Krispies, marshmallows, and butter.)  That may be well and good if you want to use all the marshmallows and modify the amount of Rice Krispies, but that doesn’t work the other way about.  The marshmallows have to be melted before being introduced to the Rice Krispies.  It is impossible to throw additional marshmallows into the mixture should I discover that there are too many Rice Krispies for the amount of melted marshmallows that I have.


I may be flexible with other matters in the kitchen, but I’ll continue to be mathematical with Rice Krispy Treats.

Just Think About It!


2 Responses to “Algebra and Rice Krispy Treats”

  1. Tudor Rickards January 13, 2017 at 10:50 am #

    I enjoyed your story a great deal. Thank you.
    Somewhere I relate my story of taking a scientific approach to making custard, with effects less successful from Mom’s. It did not deter me from a scientific career, but did teach me the value of tacit knowledge in making a good custard!


  2. jcfunk January 23, 2017 at 9:52 am #

    There’s something about Mom’s cooking that exceeds scientific inquiry and mathematical calculations. A friend was so excited to receive her grandmother’s recipes; however, there was only a list of ingredients for each entry. How much of each ingredient? Only grandmother knows.


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