Sunday, November 8, 2009

184 - The fractions involved in diluting squash with water

I know that in Australia, Hong Kong and the UK, squash is a very popular beverage.

Better known as
cordial in the land down under, squash is a fruit-flavored concentrate that has to be mixed with water in order to be made appropriate for drinking. Typically, on the side of the bottle of squash, there are instructions for use, saying it requires the dilution of one part squash to four or five parts water.

I bought some squash about a week ago, and now it's finished. This particular brand of concentrate requires diluting one part squash with nine parts water.

I'm sitting there with my glass, using my fingers as measures, trying to divide the glass into ten equal parts, so that I can solve this mathematical predicament, but it turns out that this arithmetic cannot be done with the mere use of my phalanges as the glass is only nine fingers tall.

So I gather a ruler, a calculator, a piece of paper and a pen, and I try to work out the right amount of cordial needed to achieve the right amounts of concentrate and water. I even factor in the fact that the sides of the glass aren't parallel to each other, the fact that the volume of the glass itself can't be included, and the fact that I'm not going to fill the glass to the brim.

And after fifteen minutes of fiddling with h, r, s, x, y, a, and V, all the while, bringing back painful memories of having to learn integration in calculus class, I simply give up, pour into the glass what I feel is right, get it wrong (of course), and
suffer from the horrible blend of superfluous sweetness and overbearing acidity of the drink.

Do the manufacturers expect us to reach into our back pockets and get out our handy-dandy measuring cylinders?

They don't even say '
approximately one part squash to nine parts water' or 'around one-fifth of squash with four-fifths of water'. It's exactly the fractions stated, which makes me feel like I'm wasting the stuff if I don't get it precisely right.

I think I need help.


plentymorefishoutofwater said...

So true. Love it. Nice observation.

Naomi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Naomi said...

well, if this helps at all, just put a little bit at a time into whatever amount of water you want to drink until you reach a a satisfying combination. works for me. then i just take whatever is left that i won't be using and give it to someone, so they can deal with it however they want

Michael said...

Fish: Hahaha, thanks.

Naomi: But however many times you take a sip of it, that's the number of times you're wasting the product...

missykimmy said...

Haha, loved that post! I always tried to follow the manufacturer's instructions too, especially for chocolate milk. But when they say 2 table spoons, it tastes horrible. So I have to put six.

I've learnt to stop reading the instructions. I think you should do the same. It's for your own good. Seriously.

Ha, just kidding! But seriously. ^_^

YesWoman said...

haha awesome, I am not going to be so liberal when making my Vimto now I may be missing out on the true flavours!!

Michael said...

Kimmy: Chocolate milk? I've never seen diluted choc. milk before.

YesWoman: Yes! The proportions are highly important!

missykimmy said...

It's chocolate milk powder or something. You have to add water, preferably hot to it to have hot chocolate milk. Not quite sure it's called 'diluted'.

Zera said...

this post made my day, you sound like an engineering student :P