Wired teamed up with The Food Network to turn data from their recipes into numbers -ratings numbers, that is- in order to compare different ingredients to answer various questions about what appeals to us the most. One of those questions concerned the current fad of adding bacon to everything. How did bacon perform as an ingedient? Does it really make everything better?
We calculated the answer, following a simple methodology that made the most of the 906,539 ratings on foodnetwork.com. First, we searched out all the recipes that fit a certain description — sandwiches, for example. Then, we calculated the average rating for those foods if they did not include the word 'bacon.' We ran the numbers again using only recipes that did include bacon. The results were pretty great. Of all the foods we analyzed, bacon lends the most improvement to sandwiches. Many other foods also benefited. In fact, we found that when you crunch the data for all recipes, those with bacon do in fact rate higher.
The effect was more pronounced in some food categories than others. As you can see from the chart, including bacon does not raise the overall ratings of pasta or dessert recipes.
NPR checked the math, and found it to be true. However, the effect is not huge, and there are some other ingredients that, when included, consistently raised recipe ratings: feta cheese, cream cheese, cranberries, strawberries, avocado, and whipped topping. -via Digg
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