convex hull for recipes

If you enjoy cooking, this might ruin the fun. Hopefully not.

Much of the science of cooking depends on getting the proportions right. When I wing it in the kitchen (as I often do), I always keep proportions in mind. Over the years, I have developed an intuitive understanding of the sensitivity of recipe ingredient amounts, and I carefully measure only the most sensitive ingredients when cooking.

I just stumbled across a post that looks at the science of recipe ingredient sensitivity. A blog by a French geek explains how to find a convex hull for recipe ingredients in order to understand the sensitivity of the ingredients. The example provided looks at various recipes for crepes (image below is courtesy of Verisoning). The post is worth a read–it deepened my understanding of convex hulls. It even provides an interactive convex hull.   It doesn’t provide the optimal crepe recipe, however.  Link.

How do you use OR in the kitchen?

Convex hull for crepes recipes

Convex hull for crepes recipes

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5 responses to “convex hull for recipes

  • Francisco Marco-Serrano

    Hi Laura,

    I get we both are to bound food & OR!

    Changing themes: Time ago I worked as general manager in the chemichal industry. We used to explain to outsiders we were sort of cooks, mixing ingredients, applying heat, and getting the reaction to do the rest. If this was that easy ;)
    In those days I tried to understand that science applying the one I knew (OR), and reached a point where temperature was a big player, even more when you’re dealing with many different kinds of applying heat and appliances.

    So, let’s try to make those crepés stabilising the oven so we can say heat is part of the ‘ceteris paribus’ clause.

    Nice cooking!

  • Laura

    Thanks for the feedback! I agree that temperature is important for many recipes. I use a temperature-controlled griddle to make pancakes, for example, otherwise I have trouble. But other recipes (like every casserole I have ever made) seem pretty impervious to oven temperatures. They just need to be cooked through. Your comments are well-received, because I have been learning about temperatures the hard way from my very unstable oven.

  • Richard at VCU

    This reminds me of Jonah Lehrer’s discussion of the emotional brain and cooking in “Proust Was a Neuroscientist”. He argues (and so does neuroscience) that the emotional brain does more to teach us to cook than the rational.

  • anonymous

    “How do you use OR in the kitchen?”

    managing inventories is probably the biggest use of OR in the kitchen.

  • FM Waves » Don’t Sell me Food, Sell me Health

    [...] to hire an operations researcher. Yes, we OR-ers talk and research about food; for example, here, here (excellent recipes), and mainly, here, where Mick Trick shows us how to resolve our problem by [...]

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