As a self described analytical thinker I have a problem where I turn everything into a math equation. Take cooking Thanksgiving diner for example. We have one small oven and had three dishes that needed to be cooked in the oven. One at 350 for 45 minutes, one at 375 for an hour and fifteen minutes, and one at 400 for one hour. My wife told me to stager it and I mentioned the different temperatures and she told me to pick one.

375 was the one in the middle so I picked that and then Googled cook time to temp ratio and discovered that if you find the percent difference between the two cook temps then that is the percent different you need to change the cook time. That mean the turkey went in at 1:30 to come out of the oven at 2:45 and be served by 3:00. The corn pudding went in at 1:41 and the stuffing at 2:02. I had done the math and the conversations and knew exactly what time everything had to be in the oven to be out on time.

When I tried to explain this to my wife she told me I was unnecessarily complicating everything and that isn’t what she meant by staggering. I still don’t know what she meant, and this was only one part of a much more complicated dance to get everything on the table by 3:00.

I knew the cooking times of all the items being made. The peas and pearl onions and sweet potatoes would take no more than ten minutes, the mac and cheese 30, and the mashed potatoes 45. I put everything on and took everything off down to the second with a bit of help along the way from my wife.

My converting everything into an equation is also why I was not exactly kind to any guest that asked if they could help. Help at any point during the cooking procedure would only complicate the equation. Like adding in a y after having solved for x. I knew what needed to be done and all that was left was to do it.

I told my wife at one point that this was too much like baking and she again told me that it was all my fault. That not everything in life needs to be an equation. We shouldn’t be going around figuring out the ratios of time to temperature and dividing the number of books we’ve read by the days in the year to figure out what our true reading goal is. That I unnecessarily complicate everything and doing math all the time isn’t healthy for anyone. That all might be true but it is how I make sense of the universe.

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