Bacon by numbers

Ransom Riggs

As someone who has since childhood insisted on the importance of texture in my food over and above most other qualities -- leading to strange rainy-day combinations like ice cream and Ruffles potato chips -- I can really get behind the British scientists who spent 1,000 hours testing 700 varieties of bacon (or rashers, as they say across the pond), and found that crispiness and crunchiness were their most crucial aspects. Using a computer that measures texture and a panel of 50 bacon-loving volunteers, they have announced that the ideal bacon-crunching sound should measure 0.5 decibels, and should break when 0.4 newtons of chewing pressure is applied. Dr Graham Clayton, who led the research team, said "We often think that it's the taste and smell of bacon that consumers find most attractive. But our research proves that texture and sound is just, if not more, important." A scientist after my own heart. (Er, tongue.)

But how can you determine the ideal crunchiness/crispiness of your bacon? Simple! Just use the following equation. You don't even need a graphing calculator!

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

N = force in Newtons required to break the cooked bacon.
fb = function of the bacon type.
fc = function of the condiment/filling effect.
Ts = serving temperature.
tc = cooking time.
ta = time or duration of application of condiment/filling.
cm = cooking method.
C = Newtons required to break uncooked bacon.