back to article Boffins cook up ultimate bacon sarnie

The UK's universities are fast forging a reputation for the kind of ground-breaking research which can only leave lesser seats of learning looking on in awe. Indeed, hot on the heels of the Aberdeen better darts project, triumphant scientists at Leeds have cracked that most imponderable of posers: how to create the ultimate …


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  1. Martin Gregorie

    Pseudo science rules (apparently)

    There is almost no science in this "study". OK, they get points for doing the experiments, but the "formula" is pure gibberish. Any first year science student can tell you that an equation that mixes units the way that one does is just garbage.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Oh dear - they're definitely treading on thin ice here, especially as most of the IT departments I've worked in, including the one I'm in now, are *true* connoisseurs of the not-so-humble bacon buttie. To quote one of my colleagues:

    "Pah! Anyone who hasn't experienced one of my Saturday morning triple decker bacon and egg masterpieces has yet to live (and if they eat enough of them, won't live very long)"

    Quite ...

    Myself, I prefer smoked bacon on homemade rye bread. Sauce of any description on a bacon sandwich is an abomination (and I'll probably go to Hell for that comment ;-) )

    Also, as an ex-academic I find their research methodology wanting somewhat: where's the comparison between smoked and unsmoked bacon? Why didn't they factor in the effects of adding fried egg and (ideally) sausages? What about the effects of 10 pints and a curry the night before on ones appreciation of said sarnie?!

    I suggest our plucky food scientists engage in a second round of research to address the points above, and I hereby put myself forward as someone willing to test their findings :-)

  3. Tom Richards

    Enough with the bloody 'equation' stories!

    Jeezus, this really has been done to death. The ideal equation for parking your car, for this, for that, for the other. Stop printing press releases, and do some analysis! This really is Tesco Value Science, as Ben Goldacre puts it:

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Waste of money!!!

    I can't help thinking that with the closure of a number of physics and chemistry departments recently that this smacks of a misuse of funds!!! Surely there are better things our top minds could be researching.

    Mr Angry.

  5. Robert Walker

    Thank goodness for research

    I for one am hugely relieved that the thousand man hours of research and no doubt tens of thousands of pounds of food has gone towards answering this all important question.

    I was concerned that the starving homeless people of this world would be served up a lesser scored variety of this classic meal on God forbid, WHITE BREAD!

    Whilst I'm sure my taxes didn't go directly towards this and were instead disguised as a research grant, I'm just glad it wasn't wasted on something unimportant like solving world enery solutions or global warming!

    What a relief !

  6. Chad H.

    THIS is how you get people interested in science!

    Forget walking on the moon stuff... This is how you get kids to study science... The Ultimate Bacon Sandwich, Perfect Fries, the best temprature for Serving coke.

    Everything they're going to need in their future McJob....

  7. Andy S

    call themnselves scientists?

    They missed out all of the details :)

    smoked/unsmoked, thin/thick cut, traditional farm bacon, or that mass produced stuff.

    Then theres the type of grill, gas/electric/george forman.

    let not forget what sort of butter was used, if any, and was it white/brown/granery/rye bread.

    I hope this wasn't an undergraduate dissertation as i'd have failed them for their shoddy attention to detail. Somehow if they had scraped through on those grounds, they'd then have been failed for performing a meaningless study, as taste is subjective.

  8. Ian Ferguson


    Please can there be a media blacklist for research projects that present their findings in a comedic press-release-friendly formula? We've had formulae for everything from the perfect cup of tea to the perfect way to organise your underwear. Frankly, it may have been funny the first time, but our scientists need to learn a new joke.

  9. Bedders

    wrong wrong wrong

    How can this be the ultimate if they haven't FRIED the bacon?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Not to mention the choice and decantation of sauce - of course it has to be brown sauce, HP, but does it go on the bread before the bacon is served, or afterwards? Should the sauce be warmed beforehand?

  11. steve


    OK so its supposed to be a bit of fun but....

    1) There an implicit assumption that all tastes are homogeneous. I'm sure Levitts 1974 prediction hasn't come true...

    2) If you can't make a formula dimensionally consistent, don't make a formula at all...

    3) How much did this cost the taxpayer?

    4) Gov't funded research is justified by the externalities associated with that knowledge. Are there really positive externalities to this research? I.e. why couldn't it have been funded by a bacon company?

    5) Surely this just degrades all scientists who have a degree from Leeds?

    6) Can you imaging the Vice Chancellor of Leeds at a conference with other Vice Chancellors.... the bacon buttie jokes will be endless...

    7) Finally WTF is a food scientist? You have Chemistry, Biology, Bio-Chemistry, Physics, possibly Zoology, but really "Food Science" that involves eating bacon sandwhiches... What the hell are our universities coming to???

  12. Tim

    Thats a formula?

    It just goes to show that any subject with Science in the title isn't really a science. Chemisty, Physics, Biology even Maths are sciences. They alone should be trusted with "scientific formulae".

    Confusing mixed units, whats it supposed to mean anyway? Functions the functions aren't mentioned might aswell have N = +/- undefined constant.

    And is it just me that wonders where they took personal preference into account? With just 50 samplers it'd be interesting to see their statisical analysis (though that was probably to indepth for them so they drew something pretty in Crayon.)

    Tim (Studying MPhys, for which I had to study A-Level maths, and further maths)

  13. Joe Soap

    Reply to Steve

    3, 4) I'm sure that no Governement funding went into this study directly. The tart who was interviewed on the radio (Today programme) twice mentioned "Danish bacon" in his replies to the interviewer's questions. The only person named on the BBC website article is Commercial manager of the Food Science Department, located at the "Food Chain Centre of Industrial Collaboration". I suspect that Danepak, or some other manufacturer of plastic Danish bacon, approached this group directly because of their known willingness to take money to come out with whatever rubbish is required about the perfect way to dunk a McVitties Digestive, or whatever.

    5) Yes, it does. It's not just Leeds though: Ben Goldacre has a piece over at badscience about a chap loosely associated with Cardiff University, who comes out with formulas for worst Monday and so on (paid for by tour holiday operators, if I recall correctly). A few days after Reading closed its physics department there was a press release about one of its computer scientists solving the '2000 year-old problem' of division by zero.

    7) I have to disagree here - there is a perfectly respectable science of food, essentialy a sort of practical physics and chemistry applied to proteins, fats and carbohydrates, including the way these are broken down by the digestive system. Unfortunately it also covers the technology of making bacons 'cuts' from mechanically recovered meat (i.e. abattoir slurry), or finding new uses for pam oil.

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