## Archive for November 8, 2011

### Food for Thought and Laughs

I was presented with an interesting Fermi question today:

How many pounds of food will you eat in your lifetime?

My first estimate: About 20 tons — approximately 1.5 pounds per day (roughly 500 pounds a year) for 80 years.

My second estimate: Unless by *pounds* you mean British currency, and by *food* you mean caviar, in which case my estimate would be closer to 21 million.

This made me think of several math and food jokes.

At a restaurant…

“What can I get for you?” asked the waiter.

The mathematician replied, “I’ll have the

seven‑layer dip as an appetizer. For my entree,primerib, dimsum, and thethree‑bean salad. To drink, arootbeer, andpifor dessert.”

Meanwhile at the cannibals’ house…

The cannibal family was eating dinner. One son says, “I really hate my math teacher.” The other son says, “I know. He’s so tough!” The mother tells them, “Quit complaining. If you don’t like the meat, just eat the noodles.”

And at the university…

What do you call a smiling, sober, courteous person at a math department social event?

The caterer.

One of my favorite pieces about math and food comes from Dave Barry:

Algebra is a vital tool for our young people to learn. The traditional method for teaching it, of course, is to require students to solve problems developed in 1928 by the American Association of Mathematics Teachers Obsessed With Fruit. For example: “If Billy has twice as many apples as Bobby, and Sally has seven more apples than Chester, who has one apple in each hand plus one concealed in his knickers, then how many apples does Ned have, assuming that his train leaves Chicago at noon?”