Maths in the Kitchen


Maths in the Kitchen

Let us start in the kitchen, where almost all activities involve mathematics in one form or another.

How many activities can you think of in the kitchen that involve some numeracy skills?

Below are some aspects relevant to activities in the kitchen with the numeracy requirements highlighted.


Let us start with cake...

Chocolate cake with cream and cherries

What has cake got to do with mathematics?

If you make the cake yourself, you will need to be able to measure/weigh ingredients.

What if the recipe is written in pounds and ounces (or cups) and you only have a scale that measures in grams/kilograms? Maths is then needed to convert these measurements

How about when the recipe is for a larger or smaller cake than you want/need? Then scaling is required

We have put together a workshop called 'Edible Maths' for practicing these aspects of numeracy - and yes, it includes real recipes you can try at home

Once you have a cake, cutting it into equal slices for all, requires some basic knowledge of fractions.

Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA)

selection of fruit

Most people know about the 5-a-day rule for healthy eating. However, what is a portion? Fruit and vegetables come in different shapes and sizes. The NHS states that a portion is 80g, meaning you need maths to accurately maintain healthy eating.

Maintaining a healthy balanced diet is not just about making sure you eat your 5-a-day. For example, five apples a day will not balance off only eating high sugar content junk-foods.

Take a look at some of the food packaging in your kitchen and you will find they all list recommended daily allowance values across various food types. These are normally given in grams and percentages, and aren't always as simple as taking the value off the front of the packet.

Food label including the 'traffic lights' system

Other dietary requirements may involve additional monitoring of sugar content, calorie counting or protein enhancement.


Mixing drinks in the kitchen also involves maths, but how?

Fruit Squashes come with instructions, especially now we are fortunate to have such a large selection of concentrations. These directions say to mix 1 part of the cordial/squash with so many parts of water. In maths, we would call these ratios.

Orange Squash Instructions

Mocktails or drinks recipes are mostly provided using the same method of ratios.

Dinner Timing

Telling the time is, in itself, a basic numeracy skill.

When cooking complex meals with multiple different dishes you need to be able to calculate the timings to make sure everything is ready to be served at the same time.

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