Ever had to work your way backwards from a set of ingredients and figure out what it’s supposed to make?

No, us neither. That’s an idiotic way to spend an afternoon.

Nonetheless, Michael Ohene, electrical engineer, guest-blogging on the fascinating Cooking for Engineers, has spent what seems to be an exorbitant amount of time coming up with what he calls “The Periodicity of Baked Goods in the USA,” a table that, for all its geekiness, is quite fascinating. Maybe not for its alleged purpose. But for its modeling.

He reduces baking recipes to three variables: moistness value, butter/oil content, and egg content. Then he employs some basic arithmetic and determines that, say, with a moistness value of 0.22, a butter content of 11.1 percent, and an egg content of 0.67, a given recipe must be for “some sort of cookie.”

What are you, Michael, some kind of psychic? Oh wait. You were looking at the recipe entitled “Chocolate-chip cookie recipe?” Not as impressive, bud.

No, but seriously. It’s kind of cool. Take a look. Also, he references the flux capacitor. Big props for that.

Image source: Library of Congress

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