He didn’t use the actual term – that developed later, but the concept was well in place.
He grew up in a family of three brothers, and to hear him tell it, the scramble for the best piece of cake, or the biggest piece of cake, or the last piece of cake was a common occurrence.
Honestly this was news to me as I was raised in a household of three daughters.
We were well behaved, rule-following (some might add boring) girls for whom the thought of fighting over a piece of cake never entered our minds.
Cake geometry is slightly different than scrabbling for the last piece of cake.
This complex mathematical maneuver involves going to extreme lengths to ensure that there is never a lone piece of cake, or brownie, left in a row in the cake pan.
Cake geometry is about evening up the line.
Because a messy cake pan is well, messy.
And we can’t have that can we?
Cake geometry happens as if by magic.
It occurs in addition to the piece of cake or brownie you’ve just been served.
It goes like this: In the process of cleaning up the dishes, someone decides they need one more little bite of cake, so they slice off a bit of it. Then someone else innocently walks by the cake pan and sees the lone square of deliciousness.
Can’t have that, so they invoke the rule of cake geometry.
This unnamed person evens up the row by committing the ultra selfless act of eating the square of lonely cake. Now things are regular and complete once again. At least in the cake pan, but probably not our lives.
Then, sometime later, another person hears the siren call of chocolate cake and tiptoes into the kitchen, removes the aluminum foil and slices off just a little nibble. Anything larger would mean they are actually eating a second, or third slice of cake, which would be much too obvious.
Calories gleaned during a cake geometry raid don’t count. Everyone knows that!
And so it goes. Nibble by nibble the cake disappears. I’ve actually lifted the aluminum foil on a pan of cake and found nothing but crumbs left in the bottom of the pan.
“Where did all the cake go?” I shout. No one ever really knows. “I only had one piece,” someone will reply. “Yeah, me too,” another will say.
I sigh and realize that once again cake geometry has left its mark.
What can I say?
Mine is a family of mathematical whiz kids!