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Order of Operations

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Now You're Cooking

In math, order of operations helps you find the correct value for an expression. Order of operations matters in daily life, too. For instance, if you put your shoes on before your pants, you’ll have a tough time getting dressed. While cooking, if you don’t follow the proper order of operations, you’ll end up with a kitchen catastrophe.

Add One Egg, Beaten

Good cooks will tell you to read the entire recipe before you start cooking. If you start cooking without knowing what comes next, you can make terrible mistakes. For instance, many cake recipes ask you to add one egg, beaten, to the dry ingredients. You must beat the egg before you add it to the recipe. If you add first and then beat, the cake won’t rise correctly. You’ll spoil the texture and the taste.

Most cake recipes instruct you to mix the dry and wet ingredients separately and then combine them. If you don’t, you’ll start the chemical reactions between the baking powder and the liquid too soon, which will ruin the cake. Order of operations doesn’t just apply to baking. Whether you’re making meats, stews, or casseroles, there’s always a certain order of steps that you must follow to produce an edible, tasty result.

See for yourself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kr8rhXMsta4

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Watch the videos below for more examples. Note each cook’s careful “order of operations”!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQbLkotdI0c

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yuOkyxmxtf8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dY9mEe7Ip5k

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