Well, you can eat tiny flakes of actual gold. But if you want to eat a lot of gold without hurting your tummy or wallet, you’re better off with “Carolina Gold.” It’s not metal, but South Carolina’s own special barbecue sauce! This sauce has a yellow-gold color because it’s made with mustard. It also has vinegar, spices, and brown sugar. Everyone puts their own spin on how to make the sauce. A good basic ratio to start your own sauce is 2 parts mustard : 1 part vinegar : 1 part sweet stuff – either honey, molasses, or brown sugar. Lots of places have their own style of BBQ. In fact, you can find South Carolinians who like ketchup BBQ sauce more. But this is the only one that’s as good as gold.
Wee ones: If the special sauce uses mustard, vinegar, salt, and pepper, how many ingredients is that?
Little kids: Other types of BBQ sauces use ketchup. If you have 9 friends coming for dinner and 4 of those like ketchup BBQ sauce, while the rest like the mustard-y Carolina Gold, how many like Carolina Gold? Bonus: BBQ is cooked “low and slow,” which means over low heat for a long time. If it takes 8 hours to BBQ your dinner and you want to eat by 6:00 pm, by what time should you start cooking?
Big kids: If you want twice as much mustard as vinegar in your Carolina Gold sauce, and you want 6 cups total of mixture, how many cups of each should you use? Bonus: What if you want 5 total cups of sauce? How many cups of each will you measure then?
Wee ones: 4 ingredients.
Little kids: 5 friends like the Carolina Gold. Bonus: By 10:00 am at the latest!
Big kids: 4 cups of mustard and 2 cups of vinegar. Bonus: 3 1/3 cups of mustard and 1 2/3 cups of vinegar. To have twice as much mustard as vinegar, you need to split the 5 cups into 3 equal parts, so that there can be 2 parts mustard to 1 part vinegar. 5 / 3 = 5/3, so 1 part (vinegar) is 5/3 = 1 2/3, and 2 parts (mustard) is 5/3 + 5/3 = 10/3 = 3 1/3.
Laura Bilodeau Overdeck is founder and president of Bedtime Math Foundation. Her goal is to make math as playful for kids as it was for her when she was a child. Her mom had Laura baking before she could walk, and her dad had her using power tools at a very unsafe age, measuring lengths, widths and angles in the process. Armed with this early love of numbers, Laura went on to get a BA in astrophysics from Princeton University, and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business; she continues to star-gaze today. Laura’s other interests include her three lively children, chocolate, extreme vehicles, and Lego Mindstorms.