Bacon as "Miracle Food" and Other Findings: Wired Analyzes 49,733 Food Network Recipes
Wired might not the first place you think of when you're looking to read about food -- because God knows you don't do enough of that already -- but maybe it will be now. The magazine recently partnered with Food Network to analyze the 49,733 recipes and 906,539 comments on the network's website and presented all sorts of fun findings via nifty interactive infographics. The first subject of analysis: Bacon. Of course.
Anne Fishbein Popcorn bacon at Black Hogg
In general, Wired found that Food Network recipes with bacon rated higher than those without it, leading the magazine to declare bacon a "miracle food." Given that bacon may negatively affect male fertility, though, maybe men who want to have kids should stick with another miracle food (green smoothies, sprouts, coconut oil, etc.). And maybe don't bother with pasta and dessert recipes that call for bacon: Those didn't rank so high. This makes sense, because do you really want bacon in your cheesecake? No, you don't.
Other tidbits read like a Harper's Index. Number of cupcake recipes: 362; with sea salt: 26. Number of pie recipes: 468. Total number of possible three-course meals: 763,956,163,818. Bobby Flay is most popular in Fremont, we here in L.A. seem to be awfully fond of lamb sandwiches, the female Food Network chefs tend to cook more chickens than their male counterparts and -- no surprise if you have fond memories of the network when it was more Barefoot Contessa and less bacon -- Ina Garten's recipes are very dependable.
Altogether, Wired's fun with data mining coincides nicely with its October food issue, which is worth a read after you're done perusing all the above infographics. There is, for example, a Deep Blue versus Kasparov-like face-off in which a dessert recipe created by the humans at Epicurious is tested and compared to a recipe created by an IBM algorithm. And there's an article on "stunt foods" like Burger King's Bacon Sundae, which "emerged when the chain's innovation team was scanning Pinterest and other social platforms to analyze how consumers were using bacon in creative ways." See also: Bacon cheesecake.
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