J. Kenji López-Alt Broke Down The Best Way To Cut An Onion According To Math

J. Kenji López-Alt is most definitely not of the mindset that cooking only involves heating up a pan or an oven, throwing ingredients in, and having edible food come out at the end of this low-energy endeavor. To people who think that school doesn't need to play a part in cooking, López-Alt has repeatedly shown that a bit of math and chemistry can go a long way in the kitchen.

In a recent Instagram post, López-Alt decided to boggle his followers by presenting what looked more like a geometry lesson than a cooking tip. He shared an illustration of the interior of an onion when sliced in different ways: one with all vertical cuts, one with cuts at angles in the direction of the heart of the onion, and one with what he said was "radial cuts aimed 60% below center." As if that weren't enough, the famous cook also featured a chart explaining the "standard deviation in piece size with vertical cuts vs. 60% radial cuts."

Before you dismiss this as an overly complicated use of time, López-Alt explained that these charts are actually intended for a very useful purpose: to show the best way to cut an onion in order to get the evenest pieces. He found that "aiming for a point about 60% below your cutting board (assuming the radius of the onion is 100%) produces pieces with a standard deviation of around 30%, as opposed to the 50% you get from doing vertical cuts."

Following the (food) math

López-Alt's math-heavy Instagram post might not have appealed to everyone. One user responded, "Bro, it's an onion," but others embraced their inner geeky chef aesthetic. Some users seemed relieved that a chef figured out their burning onion-cutting questions for them. "NERDS!!! ( I love this, btw, was just recently thinking about the horizontal and vertical cuts into the onion, and if some of it was wasted effort. This provides the data, and as they say... the data will set you free)," one thankful commenter said.

Though mathematically perfect diced onions may be "inconsequential" in the grand scheme of things, as one Instagrammer noted, López-Alt's technique is still "freaking cool." "I've not seen a person in this world who's so determined to know the BEST way to slice an onion, that they make a whole graph and all for it. Kudos to you, Kenji," they said. And while the chart offers no answers as to how to cut onions without crying your heart out, consider this comment from a López-Alt fan, saying, "All this time I thought I've been a sloppy onion cutter yet I've been the most efficient onion cutter. I think I'm gonna cry, damn onions."