Reader's Digest

Baker’s Math


With a dozen eggs or a dozen roses, you know how many items to expect: 12. So why does a baker’s dozen mean 13? In medieval England, there were strict laws about the prices bakers could charge for bread by weight. Rather than risking shorting customers and facing a flogging, careful bakers began including an extra loaf with orders of 12—sometimes bumping up the total to 14, just to be safe.

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