A sense of scale

I’ve often wondered how to convey the enormity of ninety pounds of chocolates. The stack of containers is misleading, because each container is only about 2/3 full, and the pile of boxes, while pretty, doesn’t really give you a sense of the sheer quantities involved.

Of course you can work out the calculations: most of the bonbons weigh .45 ounces apiece, and if you divide ninety pounds by .45 ounces, you get about 3000 chocolates. It is actually probably considerably more than that, considering that the fudges and caramels weigh slightly less, and the candied citrus peels even less. Figure 3,500 or so.

But those numbers are still hard to visualize, so I did a little experiment to make things a bit less abstract. First I filled a sheet tray with chocolates – one of those big, professional-bakery sheet pans, 18 x 26″, and got my friend Lieven to photograph them for me:

one sheet pan full of chocolates

one sheet pan full of chocolates

It turned out to hold a bit over three flavors. So ten sheet pans would hold nearly all the chocolates (some flavors, like the fudges, toffees, and caramels, had significantly more pieces than the bonbons on the tray).

That was still hard to visualize, so I laid out three more sheet pans, which completely covered our dining room table (which seats six people):

a dining room table's worth of chocolates!

a dining room table’s worth of chocolates!

Extrapolating, ninety pounds of chocolate is about 2.5 dining room tables covered in chocolates.

Or is it? About 15-20% of the chocolates were rejects, and didn’t make it to the sheet pans. Adding an extra twenty percent to cover the rejects adds another half-table, for a total of 12 big sheet pans or three dining room tables covered in chocolates.

All in all, quite a production.

Meanwhile, a different sense of scale:

Tigress on 9-22 (adoption day!)

Tigress on 9-22 (adoption day!)

Tigress, six weeks later (11-5)

Tigress, six weeks later (11-5)


Fritz, on 9/22 (the day we adopted them)

Fritz, on 9/22 (adoption day!)

Fritz on 11-5 (six weeks later)

Fritz on 11-5 (six weeks later)

Yep indeedy, them kittens be growing. (In another week or two, they’ll have doubled their weight since adoption!)


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  1. Posted November 6, 2013 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    I love the way your mind works.

  2. marion
    Posted November 11, 2013 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

    Thank you Tien,
    my box of chocolates arrived today. They are gorgeous, and yes I had a little taste…yummy. So many I now need to think of how to share. Maybe I can donate them to the ashram for a special treat this weekend.
    So good to see the finished product and sample after reading so much about them. Again a very big THANK YOU for your generosity and inspiration and chocolates!

    • Posted November 12, 2013 at 5:30 am | Permalink

      Oh, good. I’m glad they arrived in time and that you’re enjoying them! I was a bit worried about shipping to Australia, but it seems to have all worked out OK. :-)

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