We’re all cutting our cakes wrong, says British mathematician Alex Bellos. Those wedges of deliciousness? NOPE. That’s not how you do it. I mean, probably, that is how you do it — that is, until this morning, how all of us did it — but apparently, there is a better way. This, in itself, is not surprising: as recent life-hack journalism has taught us, there is almost always a better way. A better way to eat wings. A better way to eat hamburgers. A better way to slice grapefruits. A better way to serve ourselves ketchup at fast food restaurants. And now, a better way to slice our cakes.
The flaw with the traditional wedge method (TWM), Bellos explains, is that once you remove your individual slice(s), the remaining insides will slowly dry out, petrifying crumb by crumb. Accordingly, says Bellos, “you’re not maximizing the amount of gastronomic pleasure that you can make from this cake.” But where others see problems (dry cake), Bellos sees solutions. Or rather, 19th century scientist/anthropologist/noted eugenicist Francis Galton saw solutions, and Bellos sees those solutions — either way. What we ought to do, Bellos explains, is cut a lateral strip from the middle cake, then push the halves together, and hold them there with a rubber band. Should you want seconds, you just rotate the cake and repeat the process in the other direction. There you have it. Galton: very wrong about eugenics, right about dessert.