A Recipe for Trigonometry

Creating & developing recipes reminds me a lot of something I did back in high school Pre-Calculus.

In short, we were given a bunch of identities and we had to use them together to make something equal something else.

They were called trigonometric identities – and we had to use them like puzzle pieces. It was difficult at first, not going to lie.


There were a lot of failed attempts. There were a lot of times I thought I was on the right track and realized halfway through that I was headed in the wrong direction. I had to start all over again from square one.

Creating recipes is A LOT like solving these equations. I start with ingredients. I lay them all out, and I think, ‘How can I use these to make ­­­­_______?’


I consider all of the possibilities and ways these ingredients can go together. I think of all of the ways I can utilize cooking, mixing, and manipulating. How can I chop, dice, heat, chill, etc.

The possibilities are endless – and it’s really exciting! However, it can also be extremely overwhelming. The fact that there are so many ways to tackle and create the recipe makes me question:

“What is the best and simplest way I could do this?”
“Which would require minimal effort?”
“How could I use the least amount of ingredients?”
“How can I make this easy for people to understand?”

Once I figure out what I want to do & how I will do it – I have to begin the process. I have to test it out and see if my ingredients + process will actually perform well together and will give me a satisfying food in the end.


Sometimes, it works out perfectly.

I only have to prepare it once, photograph it, and get it ready for the blog because it tastes great and I feel confident that others will enjoy, too!

Other times, it’s a disaster!

I have to stop halfway through and start over. I have to re-evaluate what‘s going on, what I want the end product to be, and create a new game-plan.

In the end, I finish everything up and I am satisfied with how I used the ingredients, the process and steps for the recipe, and of course, the end product is delicious!


So what does this have to do with Trigonometry?

EVERYTHING. Equating Trig Functions feels the same way creating recipes feels.

The frustration, the creativity, the rigor, the requirement to start over halfway through because of failure, the satisfaction at the end – it is all there.


Here’s an example of this type of trig equation.

If you have difficulty following along – just remember – it’s like making up a recipe!

I start with some givens – which are referred to as “trig identities” – like ingredients.


I have to use these identities together to prove that two things are equal.


At the end, once I figure out the best, simplest way to solve the puzzle (again there are TONS of possibilities to tackle this equation), I have a clean, neat answer – so satisfying!


Tell Me:

Have you ever created a recipe before? Did you feel these same emotions and go about it this way – that is, like a puzzle?

Let me know what you think – I’d love to hear your input!

There aren’t enough STEM related posts about food (are there any?).

It can answer the age-old question math students are always asking – “When am I ever going to have to use this?”

Also, if you enjoyed it and found this interesting, use the buttons below to share it on facebook, pinterest, twitter, instagram, or copy the link!




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