Tag Archives: sandwich

Cold sandwiches are calorie traps — don’t fall for it

For some reason, we tend to feel that cold food isn’t as filling as hot food, and it’s tricking us into overeating.

When you’re tempted to conclude that the human species is rational, you may want to slide over to marketing research and check out a journal called Appetite. The journal looks at sensory and other influences on people’s selections of food and drinks. It doesn’t take long to understand the selections we make don’t exactly scream common sense.

A recent research effort in the journal examines our practice of adding orders “on the side” if our main item on order is a cold sandwich. They found that customers who bought cold sandwiches were twice as likely to order a la carte extras such salty crisps and cookies, as if the sandwich, just for its being cold, could not possibly satisfy them without companion sides.

Imagine customer Raph telling the waiter what he wants. After studying his lunch menu, he pats on cold crabmeat sandwich. He wants to know, “What will it come with?” Raph looks at the sides list on the menu and taps on stuffed olives and plantain chips. Was Raph’s sandwich (580 calories and 26 grams of fat, but who’s counting) was not enough to sustain him for a few hours?

If we look at the research in focus, we know that Raph or customers standing at takeout counters think they need more than just the sandwich to complete a sit-down eating experience, because it’s just a cold sandwich, and that’s not much. They simply feel that the cold sandwich alone will not offer ample satiety.

“We show that the temperature at which foods and beverages are served impacts consumers’ complementary purchases, defined as additional foods and beverages purchased for a consumption episode.” wrote Sara Baskentli, Lauren Block, Maureen Morrin in their journal article, “The serving temperature effect: Food temperature, expected satiety, and complementary food purchases.”

Somebody cared

Anyone hunting for explanations for this behavior might remember all the family memories of steaming food on a table marking religious holidays and celebrations. A psychological add-on is that the hot food is a reminder that somebody in the household cared enough to stand, mix, pour, bake, braise, and simmer so that you could be pleased and nourished. Translation: Hot food equals caring. Cold food? Not so much.

To test the hypothesis, researchers examined customers’ café orders over a two-week period. The researchers saw 123 customers’ orders at a New York City café with sandwiches on their menu. People buying cold sandwiches were twice as likely to buy other food items. As for cold beverage orders? Calorie and money traps were evident, too.

“When a customer purchased a cold beverage, they were three times more likely to also buy food items, such as a croissant or a muffin,” said the news release from Rutgers.

The authors in their paper nailed the good news for restaurant business and the caution for the rest of us.

“Serving temperatures that increase complementary purchasing may enhance the firm’s bottom line, but could add unnecessary calories to the meal, and thus is of interest to both consumers and managers.”

In the bigger picture, this is a research discussion that indicates the important difference between appetite and hunger. Scientists like to point out the difference between the two words. Appetite is not hunger, plain and simple. According to the Aspen Clinic, for example, “appetite” involves a “conditioned response to food” and the word is more closely linked to behavior and emotional connection to food. Appetite “can increase/decrease due to hormones, emotional state, and taste preferences.”

A corn beef sandwich encased in acrylic to prevent decay, on display at the Grissom Memorial Museum in Indiana. Image: Collect Space

50 years ago today, an astronaut smuggled the first sandwich to space

A corn beef sandwich encased in acrylic to prevent decay, on display at the Grissom Memorial Museum in Indiana. Image: Collect Space

A corn beef sandwich encased in acrylic to prevent decay, on display at the Grissom Memorial Museum in Indiana. Image: Collect Space

When you gotta eat… well you gotta eat, even in space. On March 23, 1965 astronaut John Young launched to Earths’ orbit aboard the Gemini 3. With him was crewmate Gus Grissom and a two days old corn beef sandwich, smuggled without permission on the spacecraft. Apparently, Grissom is a big fan of corn beef, so Young decided to offer him a treat, especially considering how bad space food was in those day. Here’s an excerpt from the mission’s transcript.

Grissom: What is it?
Young: Corn beef sandwich
Grissom: Where did that come from?
Young: I brought it with me. Let’s see how it tastes. Smells, doesn’t it?

This move didn’t bode well with NASA administrators, and the matter was even discussed in Congress. NASA’s deputy administrator George Mueller had to promise something like this will never happen. But what’s the big deal? Remember, everything behaves differently in space and this sort of uncertainty can bite you where it hurts the most. Specifically, the sandwich crumbled in a myriad of tiny pieces. Eventually, Grissom put the sandwich away after a bite or two, but even so their flight cabin was littered with rye bread crumbs. Of course, microgravity affects the odor molecules as well, and the smell went stale throughout the cabin.

Young (left) and Grissom (right) abord Gemini.  Image: NASA

Young (left) and Grissom (right) abord Gemini. Image: NASA

Luckily, the flight only lasted for five hours and soon enough the two astronauts were back home safely. This fairly innocent, but reckless move could have costed the whole mission dearly, however. The crumbs could have easily infiltrated through the back wiring, interfering with electronics. Who knows what might had happened.

“After the flight our superiors at NASA let us know in no uncertain terms that non-man-rated corned beef sandwiches were out for future space missions. But John’s deadpan offer of this strictly non-regulation goodie remains one of the highlights of our flight for me.”

What was on the menu for Young and Grissom. Yup, now I get it. Image: NASA

What was on the menu for Young and Grissom. Yup, now I get it. Image: NASA

Ironically, corned beef finally turned up on NASA’s menu in 1981 for the first ever shuttle launch. Not coincidentally, Young served as the commander of Columbia. Young worked for NASA for 42 years and announced his retirement on December 7, 2004.  enjoyed the longest career of any astronaut, becoming the first person to make six space flights over the course of 42 years of active NASA service, and is the only person to have piloted, and been commander of, four different classes of spacecraft: Gemini, the Apollo Command/Service Module, the Apollo Lunar Module, and the Space Shuttle.





Finally, robot that can make you a sandwich is invented [with video]

Scientists from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) working at the Intelligent Autonomous Systems Group reported creating a robot that can finally make you a beverage and get you a beer.

TUM Rosie

TUM-Rosie and TUM-James, as the two robots have been called are quite special; for one, Rosie has what is called a “very high degree of cognition”, which means that it can accurately sense surrounding environments and make decisions accordingly. Practically, this means it can used its two four-fingered hands to manipulate objects such as… let’s say bread, cheese and salami – for you, lazy human.

Tum James

James on the other hand has other skills, just as useful; the robot is equipped with a Kinect 3D camera sensor and several other cameras and sensors which make him good at fetching objects without dropping or crushing them and bringing them from one place to the other. If you’re thinking what I’m thinking, then yes – it works on beers too. Here’s a video portraying their special abilities.