What do ice cream, math, and a happy little girl named Natalia have to do with colour theory? I'll bet you a triple-scoop... everything!
This is Lupe.
Lupe makes ice cream. He's been making ice cream every Thursday for the past eight years, filling the freezer of his family's heladería on the main avenida of our little beach town in Mexico. Three of his most popular flavours are chicle, fresa, y vainilla. That's bubble gum (by today's kids' standards, chicle is the new chocolate); strawberry (the fresa is refreshingly fresh!); and the most heavenly vanilla you'll ever taste (made with real vanilla beans from native Mexican vanilla orchids).
This is Natalia.
Natalia eats ice cream. Maybe not every Thursday for the past eight years, but like most kids, she eats it whenever she can. Her favourite flavour is chicle.
I'll tell you more about Lupe and Natalia and ice cream in a minute. But first...
WHO WANTS MATH?
I know. I promised ice cream. And there's more to come. But really, would you be here if I'd called this post 'Who Wants Math?' So before you scream, or I scream, or we all scream for ice cream, let's dish out a little math...
Natalia and her family are on vacation from Guadalajara. Strolling along the avenida, they pass by Helados Elim and decide to turn their sunny Sunday into an ice cream Sunday. With Lupe's three top flavours to choose from – chicle, fresa, y vainilla – everyone chooses something different. Including Natalia's cone (with its single scoop of chicle), how many different cone combinations are there?
3 FLAVOURS = 3 CONES
Three different flavours, three different cones.
Natalia had chicle, her little sister had fresa, and her mom had vainilla.
If you said '3' that's a perfectly reasonable answer. But you're not quite half right.
Natalia's abuela couldn't decide between fresa and vainilla. Her big brother went bigger with chicle and vainilla. And dad doubled up with chicle and fresa.
Factor in the double scoop, and your answer doubles to 6.
But wait. There's more. At Helados 'Elim,' when Lupe is scooping, you can always have more. Natalia's abuelo went for the triple!
3 singles + 3 doubles + 1 triple? The answer to the math problem is 7. Right?
Not quite. You're forgetting something. Actually, you're forgetting nothing...
Natalia's uncle isn't a big fan of ice cream, so he said, "No gracias" and went down the street for ceviche and a cerveza.
3 FLAVOURS = 8 CONES
So that's your answer. 8 different cone combinations, from none at all, to three scoops tall.
Start with 3 different choices, apply the rule of 'all or none' for each one, allow for double and triple scoops... Before you know it, Natalia and her family of eight are happy with (and without) their holiday helados. And you have finished your homework.
3 = 8. That's how it works with ice cream. And that's how it works with colour.
Muchas gracias a nuestro amigo Lupe Ramirez Ponce y Helados 'Elim' por compartir su delicioso helado con nosotros. Y gracias a Natalia por compartir su sonrisa! Thank you Dan Cormier for taking the photos, and thank you Griffin Cormier for helping me eat the props.