The Ultimate Dinner Special: How Many Delicious Meals Can You Create?

Imagine walking into a restaurant where the menu is not just a list of dishes, but a plethora of combinations that you can create. A place where you can mix and match your entrée, side dish, and desserts to create a unique meal every time. This is not just a food lover’s dream, but also a mathematical wonder. The question is, how many delicious meals can you create from a given number of options? Let’s dive into this culinary conundrum and find out.

Understanding the Basics

Before we start calculating, let’s understand the basics. The restaurant offers 10 entrées, 8 side dishes, and 13 desserts. You can choose one entrée, one side dish, and two desserts. The number of different meals you can create is a combination of these choices. This is a classic problem of combinatorics, a branch of mathematics that deals with combinations of objects belonging to a finite set in accordance with certain constraints.

Calculating the Combinations

To calculate the number of combinations, we need to multiply the number of choices for each course. So, for the entrée, you have 10 choices. For the side dish, you have 8 choices. However, for the dessert, since you can choose two out of 13, we need to use the combination formula which is nCr = n! / r!(n-r)!, where n is the total number of options, r is the number of selections, and ‘!’ denotes factorial. Here, n is 13 (the number of desserts) and r is 2 (since you can choose two desserts).

Final Calculation

So, the total number of meal combinations you can create is 10 (entrées) * 8 (side dishes) * 78 (desserts, calculated using the combination formula). This gives us a whopping 6240 different meals. That’s a lot of delicious meals to choose from!


So, the next time you walk into a restaurant that allows you to mix and match your meal, remember that the possibilities are almost endless. With a little bit of math, you can appreciate the vast number of delicious meals you can create. Bon appétit!


What if the restaurant allows you to choose two entrées instead of one?

If the restaurant allows you to choose two entrées instead of one, the calculation would change. You would use the combination formula for the entrées as well, which would significantly increase the number of possible meals.

What if I can choose more than two desserts?

If you can choose more than two desserts, you would adjust the ‘r’ in the combination formula for desserts. This would also increase the number of possible meals.