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The Proof and the Pudding:
What Mathematicians, Cooks, and You Have in Common
Jim Henle

Shortlisted for the 2016 Gourmand World Cookbook Awards, in Digital E-Books

Hardcover | 2015 | $26.95 | £21.95 | ISBN: 9780691164861
176 pp. | 6 x 9 1/4 | 229 duotones.
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eBook | ISBN: 9781400865680 |
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Tie on your apron and step into Jim Henle's kitchen as he demonstrates how two equally savory pursuits—cooking and mathematics—have more in common than you realize. A tasty dish for gourmets of popular math, The Proof and the Pudding offers a witty and flavorful blend of mathematical treats and gastronomic delights that reveal how life in the mathematical world is tantalizingly similar to life in the kitchen.

Take a tricky Sudoku puzzle and a cake that fell. Henle shows you that the best way to deal with cooking disasters is also the best way to solve math problems. Or take an L-shaped billiard table and a sudden desire for Italian potstickers. He explains how preferring geometry over algebra (or algebra over geometry) is just like preferring a California roll to chicken tikka masala. Do you want to know why playfulness is rampant in math and cooking? Or how to turn stinky cheese into an awesome ice cream treat? It’s all here: original math and original recipes plus the mathematical equivalents of vegetarianism, Asian fusion, and celebrity chefs.

Pleasurable and lighthearted, The Proof and the Pudding is a feast for the intellect as well as the palate.

Jim Henle is the Myra M. Sampson Professor of Mathematics and Statistics at Smith College. His books include Sweet Reason: A Field Guide to Modern Logic and Calculus: The Language of Change. He lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.


"[D]elightful. . . . [The Proof and the Pudding] can inspire any of us who have been stuck on a math problem not to see our struggle as failure. . . . Henle helps us have fun in those dead ends."-- Evelyn Lamb, Scientific American

"[The Proof and the Pudding] serves an excellent guide for a novice at both cooking and doing mathematics…. [Henle] appears to be having a lot of fun--cooking and doing mathematics; his enjoyment is contagious."--Alexander Bogomolny, Cut the Knot blog

"Henle had my mouth watering...and my brain neurons firing from the math puzzles that are reminiscent of Martin Gardner columns. Any fan of Gardner's recreational math...will enjoy the mathy excursions throughout this small volume…. [T]his book is a charmer."--Math Tango blog

"[D]elightful. . . . [T]he reader will want to grab a pencil and some mixing bowls and play along."--Joel Haack, MAA Reviews

"Although he does not mention it so explicitly, there is one thing Henle does extremely well: he transfers an attitude that is a proper one to become a good professional mathematician or a proper chef, or that is apt to any challenging profession for that matter."--Adhemar Bultheel, European Mathematical Society

"A thoroughly enjoyable read. . . . Henle does a masterful job of connecting math and cooking, demonstrating that math does not always include numbers and that it can be fun!"--Laura Steward, NCTM

"Henle has produced a book that can be enjoyed by a wide variety of audiences. . . . He has given mathematicians another field with which to compare their subject when seeking to explain its interest and value to those who have no qualms about defending the usefulness of food."--Thomas Drucker, London Mathematical Society

"Henle finds amazing similarities in both math and cooking."--Sudhirendar Sharma, Current Science


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Table of Contents:

Preface vii
Acknowledgments ix
1 The Mad Scientist 1
2 The Arrogant Chef 11
3 Simple Tastes 21
4 Complex Flavors 30
5 The Discriminating Eater 40
6 The Persistent Cook 44
7 Gluttony 54
8 Vanity, Sloth, Parsimony, and Lust 62
9 On the Edge, and Over 70
10 Thinking Globally 79
11 Eating Locally 87
12 The Humble Cook 92
13 The Clueless Geek 99
14 Elegant Dishes 103
15 Food for the Masses 110
16 Good Food for the Masses 111
17 Just for Fun 112
18 Just to Be Weird 117
19 Celebrity Chefs 124
20 Economy 128
21 Ethics 135
22 Fusion 138
23 It All Comes Together 149
24 It All Falls Apart 151
25 A Proof and a Pudding 161
Index 163


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