Friday, April 13, 2007

In Praise of Bacon Sandwiches

One of the best food experiences I've ever had was on an early morning, leaving Edinburgh, just off High Street among the gray granite walls and old churches turned into office space. I saw a sign for "Bacon Rolls," and I have never been quite the same since. I'm a sucker for food that is widely available, cheap, and good (well, good-tasting, not necessarily good in any other sense). Bacon rolls/sandwiches in Britain are all three. British bacon is different from American bacon, and when put on bread that's like a fluffy dinner roll, with butter, it becomes sublime.

Apparently I'm not the only one who thinks so. A group of scientists in Britain have conducted a rigorous study of 700 variants to determine the equation for the perfect bacon sandwiches. Since this is an intense area of personal (although non-funded) study for me, I was interested to get into the literature. Here it is:

N = C + {fb(cm) · fb(tc)} + fb(Ts) + fc · ta

And an excerpt from the New York Times to explain:

"In the experiment, some of the tasters sampled between four and six bacon sandwiches a day for three or four days."

"And so the formula evolved to establish the amount of force in the bite, expressed in newtons, and the level of noise, expressed in decibels, to make the perfect crunch."

"Ideally, Danish Bacon said, 0.4 newtons should be applied to crunch the sandwich, creating 0.5 decibels of noise. The formula uses these values: N = force in newtons; fb is the function of the bacon type; fc is the function of the condiment or filling effect; Ts is the serving temperature; tc is cooking time; ta is the time taken to insert the condiment or filling; cm is the cooking method and C represents the breaking strain in newtons of uncooked bacon."

I just want to know, why didn't I hear about the fact that they offer grant money for this kind of thing? A bacon-research sabbattical in Britain is looking pretty good right now.

To quote Everybody Loves Raymond:
Ray: (Reading from the Christmas letter about Frank.) "His love affair with bacon continues."

1 comment:

Unknown said...

You definitely got the genetic Gardner love of bacon in large quantities!!!! When eggs used to bother you, bacon was the natural preferred choice of breakfast protein (term applied loosely).
I loved reading this piece....I would like to join you on said study!! Hope you're having a good Friday. TGIF and all that love you, Mom