Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Maximize chance of new food being accepted

Been reading my Food Quality and Preference journal. There are lots of interesting tidbits. In one of them Turner and Collison undertook a mathematical study of enjoyment of a meal at a student restaurant. They found that you could model reasonably well (R^2 0.70) the enjoyment of a meal with this formula

Meal Enjoyability = 0.57 + 0.43(entrée) + 0.21(sweet) + 0.14(starter) + 0.14(potato)

This means that the dish that most effects the enjoyability of the dinner is the entrée. This factor is about double the next impact which is the desert, starter or potato dishes.

Know this study was based in America, so for people in NZ we need to unpack the terminology. Starters in this study were things such as soup, grapefruit, shrimp cocktail, stuffed tomato or stuffed eggs. The entrée was what we NZ'ers call the meat portion of the main meal, the study had these dishes:
  • Roast Beef
  • Roast Port
  • Roast Lamb
  • Beef Carbonnade (?!)
  • Chilli con Carne
  • Fish in saucr
  • Fried fish
  • Fried chicken
Unsurprisingly the potatoes variable were how the potatoes were served and same with the vegetable variable and the sweet was unsurprisingly the desert.

Application to optimal health: If for your dinner you are trying a new food, or a new way of cooking something, get the meat dish enjoyable, then your new food has a much higher probability of being enjoyed. This is because the meat portion dominates the enjoyability equation.

Would be very interesting to see if this works in real family homes, not just restaurants.

PS for those who have a polytec or other tertiary trainer that teaches chief/cooking cheap and enjoyable meals can be had - the trick is getting an invite!

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