Connecting Polynomial Multiplication and Numerical Bases through the Fundamental Counting Principle

I’ve been tutoring a Grade 9 student recently. I love seeing the worksheets and questions her teacher (who I don’t know) assigns. It’s deeply educational to see how another teacher approaches topics and to see how that approach is filtered through the understanding of a student. I feel like I’m learning as much as her each time we meet for a tutoring session.

Two weeks ago, she was learning how to multiply polynomials. Unsurprisingly, she knew an acronym, FOIL, but didn’t know why she was using it, and only had a basic understanding of how to distribute terms. I don’t like to teach FOIL, although I don’t mind the strategy of pairing and multiplying each term. When I teach distribution, I use the following method:

This technique builds on what students already know (distributing a monomial over a binomial)

This technique builds on what students already know (distributing a monomial over a binomial). Once they become fluent with this technique, shortening the approach (and skipping that first step) is great.

Intriguingly, the teacher asked the students to practice multiplying both “horizontally” and “vertically.” The same problem, solved vertically, looks like this (I’ve written out the steps in an exaggerated way, so you can see the progress. When solving, you wouldn’t need to write the question more than once):

I've circled the terms I've multiplied and connected them with their product. Step five is simply summing the different terms.

I’ve circled the terms I’ve multiplied and connected them with their product. Step five is simply summing the different terms. Conveniently, I’ve organized terms in columns according to powers of x, which makes this step particularly simple.

This technique works pretty well, and isn’t fundamentally different from the more common horizontal work. Interesting things happen when you do multiply multiple polynomials though. Using the horizontal technique, we get something like this:

Obviously, once you're proficient with this approach, you can consolidate a few steps.

Obviously, once you’re proficient with this approach, you can consolidate a few steps. That’s what happened with the messy 4 in the third step – my mind was fighting with me, combining terms automatically while I was trying to clearly write one step per line.

In contrast, doing it vertically takes significantly less space:


If you can’t see what I did there, I’ve made you a gif:


Does that pattern look familiar to you at all? Think on it before you read more. What if I turn it sideways?


Ringing any bells yet? Lets change the symbols from Xs and 2s to 1s and 0s:


Anything? One more gif to round out your thinking:


Yessiree Bob. The pattern that you follow when multiplying multiple binomials is the same pattern that you use to count in binary. For higher order polynomials, you’re in a higher base (Trinomials count in Base-3, four-term polynomials in Base-4, etc.). Similarly, the more polynomials you multiply, the more digits your different-base number has ( 3 polynomials yields a three digit number, 4 polynomials yields a four digit number, etc.).

The reason for this connection is the Fundamental Counting Principle (If you have A ways of doing one thing, and B ways of doing another, there are A*B ways to do both things). Distribution requires each term to multiply by all the terms in the other polynomial.  It’s the same combinatoric principle as counting: each position needs to be filled with all possible digits for that base, and unique arrangements of those digits signify a unique number.

I found this realization worth sharing for three reasons:

  1. It’s neat. That’s a pretty good reason to share it.
  2. Vertical multiplication, once I started playing around with it, is way easier for multiplying multiple, multi-termed polynomials. It saves space, effort, and reduces mistakes.
  3. I fight against the siloing of math concepts in education. Seeing deep connections between different topics is pedagogically interesting because drawing students’ attention to those connections can help with both understanding and procedural fluency. It reduces the amount of memorization required by showing how mathematical principles can be applied in a various situations.

Any thoughts here? Further connections that I’ve missed, or mistakes in my work? Lemme know below, yo.


Summary of Learning – ECMP 355

Short and sweet, that’s what an ending should be. I’m not one for tearful goodbyes (or displays of emotion, in general).

ECMP 355 is over! I’ve learned things. I will continue to learn things. This video summarizes that learning.

Note: for links to everything in this video, and a transcript of the video, follow this link.

Learning Project Conclusion

ECMP 355 is winding down. The formal, documented aspects of my learning project are thus ending, though the project will continue in spirit.

My Goal was to reduce waste and plastic use in my life. I didn’t know how to begin exactly, so I started saving vegetable scraps in the freezer. Eventually, those turned into some delicious chicken soup. I turned my eye to condiments, and how much wasted plastic goes into mayonnaise jars, so I learned how to whip up my own. Thanks to some prompting and encouragement from Celina and Matt, I went on to create home-made ketchup and BBQ sauce.

IMG_20160307_181405831At this point, about halfway through the semester, we all got feedback on our progress in the course and it turned out I wasn’t completing the learning project as desired. I was focusing too much on what I was learning, and not enough on how I was learning. This threw a wrench into my Inception Cooking Series, and Parts III and IV were never released (for the curious, I made BBQ shredded chicken, and then created a home-made BBQ Chicken pizza).

IMG_20160409_201621380I reoriented myself and started writing about the process of learning online. This was a challenge, because while I was learning new things (new recipes, new ways to reduce waste, etc) the process of learning wasn’t particularly new to me – I’ve been using the internet to expand my personal abilities for almost a decade. However, I wrote about discovering trust in online sources, and then went on to review comments sections – are they useful or not? I started exploring some myths about appropriate and ecologically friendly practices, and as a result, I’ve been scrubbing my cast iron pan in soapy water (after I use it) for the last month.

UntitledEssential to my learning project was the input and feedback I got from readers online. I’ve mentioned Matt and Celina above, but they were only two among many. Liam encouraged me to start buying meat from a butcher, to avoid wrapping, and I’ve been doing so (thanks Ukrainian Co-op!) Later, because of his and Kirsten‘s feedback on Kosher saltMarty expanded my mind around compaction of grains in storage. He provided, and I shared, a resource on this more advanced consideration which would have radically changed the way I taught Workplace 20 during internship. The next time I have the opportunity, this will be included. Jessica was a constant source of inspiration, suggesting growing herbs out of wine bottles, and out of old egg shells.

IMG_20160210_163103825This project has changed the way I shop. I’ve always used reusable shopping bags (thanks Mom) but I’ve become especially cautious when at grocery stores. I don’t put vegetables in those thin plastic bags – I’m going to wash them anyway, so they go straight in my cart. Sobeys made the horrific decision to only sell eggs in Styrofoam, so now I shop at Safeway. Whenever possible, I make multiple, small trips to the store, so I can fit groceries in my backpack and ride my bicycle, rather than drive. I avoid buying bagged bread, instead going to a bakery or baking my own.

The #LearningProject is done, but the learning doesn’t end here. This is a mission for life.

Online Collaboration and Helping Others (as Best I Can)

At the start of ECMP 355 (in the syllabus) Katia asked us to keep track of all of our online interactions. She was kind enough to bold the text. I don’t have any stats, but I suspect that lots of undergrads don’t actually read the syllabus – I’m not one of them! Reading syllabi and filling out my agenda with a semester’s dates is a highlight of my year. However, I ignored her request, so here I was today trying to compile all my online interactions of the last four months.

To all future ECMPers:

Don’t fall into this trap! I recommend a nightly update of your log, with the day’s activities.

Anyway, after two hours, my left hand’s pinky and and index fingers are tired (Can you guess why? Answer at the bottom) but I’ve captured most (not all) of my online interactions. Brief summary:

Google+ CommunitySadly, I had the fewest interactions here, and they were the easiest to locate. Just searched for my name. Thanks Google!

Blogging: This is where I likely lost the greatest percentage of interactions, because it limits how far back you can look at the comments you’ve made. Very poor feature WordPress.

Twitter: It’s easy to find interactions here, but I tweet a lot (imho). So this definitely took the most time. Yer arright Twitter.

If you want to read my log, you can do so here. If you want to read a summary with exemplars, read below.

How Have I Contributed To The Learning of Others?

First and foremost, I feel awkward writing this. It’s like a cover letter – you’re supposed to brag yourself up and that’s just painful. However, it’s even more painful for you to read about how painful the writing is for me. So, I have a compromise! I won’t mention it again, but every time I feel self conscious about what I’m writing, I’ll throw in a little asterisk (*) so you know how I’m feeling. Deal? Kk.

I’ll sort my contributions by medium, but there is overlap.


Blogging, and commenting on blogs, is a useful medium. I personally enjoy it because 1) I can express my thoughts fully and 2) because there’s less pressure time-wise. Unlike Twitter, if it takes me a few days to mull over a post before I respond, that’s perfectly okay. I prefer deep, reflective thinking, so this is great.

Rheanne blogged about ability grouping of students, a contentious issue, and I’ve got opinions! But they’re not easy to express. Here’s the opening to my response:

Read the rest here

Read the rest here

I’m setting up a fairly complex argument, largely drawn (in structure, though not message) from this Keith Devlin blog I’d read a fortnight earlier. That depth of thought*, that sort of connection between materials, is fairly natural in blogs as spaces. In this case, nobody has yet responded directly to my thoughts, but I don’t consider that necessary. When people respond, it’s validating, but I hope that people have read my thoughts and reflected on them – I don’t need their validation, although their input is much desired. Tori captures this in a post lower in the comments when she says, “I’m not sure that I have an answer to the questions that have been posed in this discussion. However, I love that they are being asked.”

A lot of discussion in this class has focused on Digital Identity, specifically looking at exposure to sexual material for youth. Ryan posted a lovely blog about the documentary Sext Up Kids, and the discussion in his comment section was exhilarating. I attempted to take that discussion away from the “shocking” nature of the documentary, and away from the way things were “in the good old days” and transition it towards a solution-based discussion. I did this by bringing in Sex-Ed, and what sort of progressive Sex-Ed is both necessary, and acceptable, for students living in a digital environment, at various ages. Ryan thanked me for my thoughts* and built on them, asking about the ways to incorporate this sort of discussion into pre-service teacher training.

Cole made a blog post addressing strategies and supports for students on the autism spectrum, and he provided a link to some lovely resources. This semester, in my Ed Psych class on Exceptionalities in students in Canada, I learned about person first language, referring to, for example, a student with autism, rather than an autistic student. I was happy to share that idea with Cole, and spread what learning I could.

The last blog I’m going to mention belongs to Bryan Penfound, an instructor at the University of Winnipeg (in Math and Math Ed). He’s going to come up a few more times in this post because we’ve had several in-depth exchanges about math pedagogy this semester. In this post, he was writing about some math work his students had done, and how he analyzed and detected errors. We had some back and forth in the comments, and I suggested he partner with a local math teacher so his pre-service teachers could try analyzing real student work. He seemed to like the idea:


No favourites. I couldn’t do it. Too self serving*****

Google+ Community

I didn’t find Google+ particularly useful, so I didn’t use it often. However, two attempts I made to help peers in that forum were:

1) Tori has become interested in Social and Emotional Learning this semester, so when she asked the community about emotional literacy, I responded as best I could.

2) Cameron, early in the semester, posted about the rejection of Learning Styles by recent research. Since my twitter feed had been exploding with overly-vitriolic comments about just that, I shared my thoughts, from what I’d seen. Katia brought in a neat article distinguishing learning styles from multiple intelligences (which also make people angry). I definitely felt some mutual growth through these exchanges.

3) (Bonus!) Curtis had been torturing Katia over her fear of puppets. I waded into the discussion, clarifying that, on a scale of terror, Marionettes > Puppets.

Haunting Eyes. From Czech Marionettes

Haunting Eyes. From Czech Marionettes


I went through my log and selectively chose what I felt were the best tweets where I helped people. I now have 24 tweets queued in tabs. It’s too much to put here, but there’s a lot of stuff I want to share. I’m going be incredibly brief on each tweet that I share, and maybe an extra sentence or two on the absolutely essential ones.




Justice Sinclair (now Senator Sinclair) retweeted and commented on my blog about his lecture. The next day, he tweeted it again. Spectacular and strange feeling.







During an EMTH class we were discussing useful software for drafting math assignments, and didn’t know any intuitive options. I sent a tweet to Desmos, and the CEO got back to us within 10 minutes. Our whole class benefited from that.









I continued a discussion with Michael Pershan, around an article about math anxiety, with Bryan Penfound.










I offered a counterpoint article to discuss growth mindset with Tori, Rheanne, Brea, and Lydia.









I set up a date with Leanne to help her through a more positive coding experience.










I prepared a screencastify on how to make sub-menus in WordPress for Brea and Tori.







I encouraged Regina to participate in Earth Hour. Brea told me she saw my tweet and shouted, “We need to shut off the lights, now!!!” and rushed around to get it done in time.







I was pulled into an (admittedly very productive) #SaskEdChat by Tori, discussing typing skills for students.






Responses and Interactions

I want to showcase three specific interactions that I felt had an impact, or in which I felt significant growth and learning:

First, I tweeted a photo of a mail-out from the Sask Party which led to a back and forth between Alec and I on bias in graphing, and the way teachers can tie local events (like a provincial election) into the curriculum. I had too many thoughts to share, so I had to turn the conversation into this blog post, which then got comments on it, further refining my thinking. The discussion and learning evolved naturally, and mutated through different spaces as required, but it all started from me taking a photo of an ad that came in my mail, and that felt very authentic.

Secondly, I had a lot of issues with this course, especially in the early months, surrounding the normalizing forces that happen in online spaces. I blogged and tweeted about it, and got great feedback and thoughts from Alec. It was nice to have a reasonable approach to what could be considered public criticism. I was nervous going into the blog post, but the results were excellent. Alec didn’t necessarily agree with me, but he was human and polite in responding to real concerns.

Finally, I sent this tweet to Alec and Katia requesting class be cancelled so we could attend Justice Sinclair’s lecture:


I got a lot of support from peers, and eventually, Alec and Katia agreed and we went to the lecture. I certainly wasn’t solely responsible for this happening, and a lot of credit should go to the instructors for agreeing to the change of plans, but I feel like I played a role in making this happen* and I would consider that lecture a pivotal point in the course, and certainly memorable for a lot of students. There were a lot of magnificent posts and reflections that came out of the experience.


I feel that throughout this course, I’ve been an active participant in online spaces, and I’ve done my best to further the learning of my peers. One advantage to my delayed approach to my log is that I got the opportunity (was forced) to reread all of my interactions for this course. And so, tonight, I replied to a tweet I sent in the first week. Brea had asked for some educators to follow and I recommended several. Tonight, after my experiences of the semester, I sent along several other, new recommendations. As I’ve written this (epic of a) blog post, every one of them has liked that tweet, and I got the following very kind words back from Bryan Penfound:


And that’s about as pleasant a conclusion as I can manage.

Answer: Control-C and Control-V, over and over again, with links to my interactions

Cleaning my Cast Iron Pan with Soap

Don’t clean your cast iron with soap. It will ruin it. That’s the conventional wisdom. There are even gifs to go along with it:

“MRW I walk into the kitchen to find my aunt cleaning my cast iron skillet with steel wool, soap and water.” – From Imgur


As part of my learning project, reducing plastic and chemical use, I wanted to stop using (and eating) Teflon. So I’ve been primarily frying with my cast iron pan.

Cleaning and seasoning cast iron is a small chore. I’ve been doing it for years with my parents’ pans, and my own. Generally, I don’t use soap, I scrub out a used pan with paper towel and re-oil it. Every few weeks (depending on use) I’d re-season it in the oven. If food was really cooked on, I’d scrub the pan with coarse salt, or boil water in it on the stove top.

However, a few weeks ago, when I was researching J. Kenji Lopez for this article, I found his notes on myths around cast iron. I read through, and one of them is to clean and scrub cast iron in a soapy sink. This was a radical suggestion and went against my beliefs about how the world worked. However, my article had been on trust, and I’d just finished blogging specifically about my trust for JKL, so I couldn’t be a hypocrite and discard his advice.

So, for the past several weeks, I’ve been washing and scrubbing my cast iron in soapy water. Once it’s clean, I pull it out, dry it a little bit, then throw it on a high heat burner to dry it completely. Once it starts to smoke, I rub in some oil with paper towel, leave it for another minute, give it another rub, then let it cool. Results?


My pan has never looked better.

Following Online Recipes

My Learning Project has been focused on reducing the waste and environmental damage of my household actions. A lot of my work has ended up focusing on creating my own condiments, to avoid the plastic of buying them. As a result, I’ve spent a lot of time perusing online recipes.

Here’s the big question (phrased as three separate questions – don’t be fooled!) when learning from online recipes:

  1. Do I follow the recipe verbatim?
  2. Do I make adjustments as my experience sees fit?
  3. Do I *shudder* read the comments and follow their advice?

Here’s what I’ve learned in my exploration:

  • If it’s a baking recipe, follow the directions fairly precisely.
  • If it’s cooking, make your own judgement calls.
  • If there’s sugar or salt, you can normally reduce it.
  • If the recipe calls for “no-salt butter” or “sweetener” ignore it and use regular butter and sugar.
  • Recipes often add adjectives, things like Kosher salt, Brand Name flour, or fresh basil. Just ignore the adjectives.*

The last third of the question is the killer. Do you listen to the comments? For an answer, please read this article. You won’t regret it.

All The Comments on Every Recipe Blog


*A bit of a joke here. Fresh and dried herbs are quite different. And Kosher food may well matter to you – it just doesn’t to me.

Coding Round 2

I read peers’ posts. They  had  fun – and struggles – with the Artist Hour of Code. I thought I’d give HoC a second chance and try it out.

It was fun. It was hard.

My final project was inspired by Dan Meyer’s Loop-de-Loop challenge (winners here – they’re better than what I managed). Here’s the link if you want to examine the code. Here’s the video:


Coding, and the Coding Ethos

There are two types of coders. The kind who do beautiful, well organized, and efficient work, and the kind who mash things together until they get a mostly-workable, very bugged piece of code. The first kind of coder is by far the more useful and professional type, and what we should all aim to be. However, being the second kind is often fun.

I was doing an Hour of Code project and it was terribly boring. Way too basic. So I ended up doing things like this:

It’s not a graceful solution. After nine seconds, my browser started lagging because there were too many Tauntauns and Mynocks running about. However, it was effective for the short term goal of beating that level.

I finished the 15 levels and decided I couldn’t write a blog on it. So I went to find something more interesting. I found this game: Untrusted

It’s awesome. And really challenging. And really simple. Here’s the first level, and how it works:

I mean, how did I find that solution? A little bit of trial and error, and some informed guesses about what the code was saying. Here’s another level, where I again went for the messy, but ultimately effective, solution:

A fun note on the messiness of code:

As always, xkcd.

As they do in the comic, check out Google’s source code. Just go to Google, right click, and hit “View Page Source.” Spoiler alert: you’ll see something like this:


A very good Sci-Fi author (in my mind, the best actually) is Vernor Vinge. In some books, he points out how code has a way of building up to the point where we can no longer manage it. Characters in his worlds have jobs like Programmer-at-Arms and Programmer Archaeologist. The first is a position on a military ship – they fight through programming. The second tries to dig through old code and look for booby traps and prizes that have been lost. There is no starting fresh – all of our code is now based on older code, which is based on older code, and so on down. Terrifying to think how messy the baseline code might be – just look at how poor my solutions were above. If those get incorporated into higher levels of code, my work here could cause bugs for centuries to come.

I really recommend, if you’re interested in coding and puzzling around a bit, that you try Untrusted. And then tell me how high a level you manage 🙂

Sext Up Kids, Shock Therapy, and Solving an Epidemic of the Soul

In my creative writing class, with the lovely Melanie Schnell (review of her novel here!), we’ve discussed “character as desire.” The big idea: a well written character has a deep, driving desire. This influences every action, every thought. However, the desire may be abstract. For instance, they may desire “self-respect,” but you won’t see them walking around saying that. Instead you’ll see them trying to reach short term goals, like winning a football game, or learning a new skill, or repairing a damaged relationship. How they express their desire will change with the situation, but they’re always driven by that deep goal.

Speaking of desire, a timely poem excerpt.

Speaking of desire, a timely poetic excerpt.

This concept of “character as desire” has helped me to resolve a conflict I’ve been struggling with for almost a decade.

My Conflict

My opinion since I started teaching youth (circa 2006):

  • “Wherever I go, kids are all unique individuals, but for the most part, they’re more similar than they are different. I really doubt they’re that different than kids have always been.”

Every demagogue/ letter-to-the-editor writer ever:

  • “Kids these days! What punks! What rapscallions!”
  • “Back in my day, kids respected their elders!”
  • “Generation X (or Y, or Z, or Millennials, or Hipsters,  or whatever) are the worst generation yet! They’re completely morally corrupt! They can’t even sign their name in cursive writing!”

To the authors of these ideas:

  1. Who raised the generation you despise? Was it you? Should you take some blame here?
  2. If you shouted less (the exclamation marks above are not exaggerations) I’d be more likely to respect, rather than dismiss, your opinion.

Some examples of the corruption of youth throughout the ages:

The Time cover is from 2013. Quotes from Mental Floss.

The Time cover is from 2013. Quotes from Mental Floss.


So who’s right? Have we as a species been devolving, generation after generation, for millennia? Are the most recent generations truly the worst yet? Or are kids still kids as they’ve always been?

My latest theory is that these view points are all true, but at different levels:

  • The deep desires, the underlying aspects of being a child, haven’t changed. Youth still want:
    • Support
    • Love
    • Independence
    • To test boundaries
    • To be with their friends
    • To have social acceptance
    • To make a difference
  • Youth meet these goals in new ways as our society changes and as their situations change.

It comes back to “character as desire.” The character of youth hasn’t changed – the expression of their desires does change with time. To preceding generations, these new expressions may appear morally decrepit.

Sext Up Kids

I chose to watch this documentary for class (one of two options). While watching it, I came to the above realization. You wanted proof of cross-curricular thinking being beneficial? This is it.

I assume everyone prefers logical proofs to be expressed symbolically. That's not just me is it?

I assume everyone prefers logical proofs to be expressed symbolically. That’s not just me is it?

Youth still have the same underlying, deep desires. The way they try to meet those desires has changed. As the documentary points out, access to pornography is up, sexualization of youth is a reality, and there are disturbing trends towards sexual violence in youth. So what’s our solution?

Shock Therapy

Adults, including in Sext Up Kids, focus in on the elements of youth culture that they find most disturbing, most shocking. For these elements, they attack youth (with the best intentions!) decrying the generation. They ask things like:

  • “How could you even think to send a photo like that!?”
  • “Why would say that to a girl?”
  • “Do you have no respect? Did I teach you nothing?!”

I call this shock therapy. It has nothing to do with electricity. Adults think that by focusing in on the elements that they find most shocking, they will be able to change the behaviour of youth. As one teacher in the documentary lamented, kids are desensitized to sexual imagery – they aren’t shocked by it at all (unlike, presumably, he is).

Why Shock Therapy Fails

When adults focus on the “shocking” elements of culture, they are thinking about the way their own generations expressed desire, at a surface level. Recall those deep desires of youth, the ones that haven’t changed in generations. Those still need to be addressed in today’s youth. The current generation doesn’t respond in the way their parents did because they live in a different time, and so their desires manifest in unique ways. We can’t tell stories from our own youth and expect children to relate to them perfectly – their world is different. Our stories are disconnected from their reality.

An Epidemic of the Soul

The discussion around the sexualization of youth culture is deeply tied to generational moral perspectives. Many adults can’t accept the level of youth porn use, or sexting, or sexual desire because they view it as morally corrupt. This is an ineffective way to communicate and influence youth behaviour. We can’t present moral arguments, because morals change.

This is not to say that the sexualization of youth isn’t a problem – it is. Issues are developing, including sexual violence, child exploitation, and poor social development. However, to effectively address these challenges, we need to change our approach. Instead of attacking sexualization as morally unacceptable, we need to remove stigma, and open ourselves to meaningful conversations about sex and sexuality with youth. We need to address their deep desires, the ones with which youth have always struggled. We need to change our language, away from shock and revulsion, and towards acceptance and support. Overall, we need to remember: our goal is not to make youth into clones of ourselves. Our goal is to help them grow and thrive in the world we’ve left them.

J. Kenji Lopez and Trusting People Online

Is that not the most beautiful hard-boiled egg you've ever seen?

Is that not the most beautiful hard-boiled egg you’ve ever seen? From JKL @ The Food Lab

When I began my learning project I said it was ill-defined but underway. I was, generally speaking, interested in reducing my waste and plastic consumption. As I’ve learned and experimented, I’ve become primarily focused on things I do in the kitchen. Specifically, I’ve made several condiments to avoid buying their plastic containers.

With almost every project, my first step is to google a recipe/idea/approach. What arises is an issue of trust.

Uhoh! I went on piratebay. Guess I better watch my back.

Uhoh! I went on Piratebay. Guess I better watch my back.

Do you see all the little skulls? It’s a ranking system Piratebay uses to tell leechers that a seeder can be trusted. It’s the same idea (different security principle though) as when your banking website puts one of these – 1– next to your url. It’s a visual reminder to say: “Hey, you’re among friends here. All is well.”

Building trust in online spaces is very important for continued patronage. So it is with me and finding people I trust for my Learning Project. Which brings us to J. Kenji Lopez.

JKL Looking Dapper

JKL Looking Dapper – from The Burger Lab

I was first introduced to this chef by my brother, and I was skeptical. However, in an article on proper (curled) pepperoni for a pizza he said:

There are times when I’ll head into a bog-standard New York slice joint, see those pre-cooked squares with their flat disks of pepperoni, watch some poor sap order them, and think to myself: Ah, you’ve fallen victim to one of the two classic blunders, the most famous of which is “never question your pizza toppings in Asia,” but only slightly less well known is this: “Never order a Sicilian when you spy flat-laying pepperoni on the line.”

Anyone who can so tactfully paraphrase The Princess Bride is doing just fine in my books.

JKL’s use of humour brought me in, and his excellence as a chef keeps bringing me back. He’s managed to earn my trust in an online space, and that makes my learning easier – I have a routine, and a place I know that I can go for good information.