Don’t Set the Food on Fire

On Memorial Day America honors all the soldiers who protect our country. For some reason, we spend the day eating – in this case, barbecuing. It’s the dads’ big chance to prove they can cook something, and to pretend they set the food on fire on purpose. But it’s a tough job: not all foods cook for the same amount of time, plus some people want their burger “rare” (lightly cooked) while others want “well done” (cooked to a crisp). So the chef had better know how to count.

Wee ones: If you’re grilling burgers, hot dogs, fish, and corn on the cob, how many kinds of food are you cooking?

Little kids: If the griller needs to cook 3 hot dogs, 1 steak and 5 ears of corn, how many items need to fit on the grill?  Bonus: If the grill can hold 12 hot dogs, but 3 of them fall through the rack and 1 rolls off onto the ground, how many hot dogs are left?

Big kids: If the griller cooks 2 burgers the 1st round, then 3 hot dogs the 2nd round, then 2 burgers to repeat, then 3 hot dogs…how many items have been cooked by the end of the 6th round?  Bonus: Which will take longer to cook, 4 rounds of burgers that take 7 minutes each, or 9 rounds of hot dogs that take just 3 minutes each?

The sky’s the limit: If the grill can hold 10 hot dogs or 5 burgers, and hot dogs take 5 minutes and burgers take 8 minutes…what’s the fastest you can cook 12 hot dogs and 6 burgers? (Assume any chunk of space can hold either 2 dogs or 1 burger…and you’ll probably want pencil and paper for this one!)

Wee ones: 4 foods.

Little kids: 9 items.  Bonus: 8 hot dogs.

Big kids: 15 items, since each pair of burger and hot dog rounds covers 5 items.  Bonus: The burgers take just a little longer: 28 minutes compared to 27 minutes.

The sky’s the limit: The fastest we could get is 16 minutes, by cooking 4 hot dogs (2 burger spaces) at the same time as 3 burgers (3 burger spaces). The 12 hot dogs cook in 3 rounds, taking 15 minutes; at the same time, the 6 burgers cook in 2 rounds, which take 16 minutes; then everything is done. Note that cooking all the hot dogs before all the burgers takes longer. You cook the first 10 dogs, then 2 final dogs with the first 4 burgers…but when those last 2 dogs finish, you can replace them with only 1 more burger. The 6th burger has to wait until the first 4 burgers finish. That means a 3rd round of burger-cooking, making 5 minutes plus 2 sets of 8 minutes. If you find an even faster time, let us know!

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