Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Roadtrip Rations Ratings

Quantifying the food's characteristics
  [vote for,

It's a fact that people like to eat, and don't much care where they do it. The dining room, kitchen, in front of the TV, bedroom, wherever. Most of these don't have risks associated with them - beyond the obvious nutritional deficiencies of modern convenience food. The greatest, most immediate risk associated with eating is where it's done, and under what conditions. In particular, the car.

The juxtaposition of trying to enjoy a huge, sloppy sandwich while piloting two-tons-plus of steel down the highway at 60 mph or more is terrifying. To which do you pay the most attention? The sandwich and the fact that it's about to ruin a $400 suit coat, or the road? Sure, there's nothing in your way right this instant, but that gutburger is coming apart and something's got to give.

Americans tend to lack common sense, and rely in large measure for others to do their thinking for them. To that end, perhaps we can remove or at least reduce some of the risk associated with eating in a moving vehicle.

Ratings can be applied to the fast or convenience foods that will allow the consumer to make a more considered judgment. On a scale of 1-5, a food's attention requirement, mess potential, and nutritional value can be summarized at a level the average consumer can handle.

A local convenience chain offers, among other things, a sausage-egg-and-cheese sandwich that comes already cut in half. The halves are absolutely solid with no propensity to drip molten cheese or bits of egg, and each half is completely severed from the other. So for its attention rating, this sandwich gets a four out of five (higher is better). It would be a five, but the wrapper is taped shut and sometimes requires I take my eyes off the road to get it open.

This same sandwich is on, unfortunately, white bread which has been toasted. It's a shame that it's white bread, but the fact that it is what it is means what few crumbs it drops are generally pretty small and flip right off my shirt. These are all the bits it ever drops. There's no grease left on fingers with this sandwich, which is another plus. Mess potential score: 4 - no crumbs at all would be a 5.

Nutrtional value: 2. This thing is pretty high in protein, low in complex carbs, lacking in lots of vitamins. The fat content is pretty high, considering. On whole wheat bread it might be a 3.

There's lots of examples of how this can guide your in-car eating: Subway's Veggie Delight: 1/1/5 - it's a two-handed sandwich for sure, dropping bits left and right, some of which are wet and will stain, but you won't overflow your waistband on a diet of Veggie Ds. Another healthy choice would be V8 juice: 4/2/5 - once you've got the can open, it's a one-hand no-eyes operation, but that chock-full of antioxidant juice is a permanent stain.

elhigh, Oct 30 2006


       A USAian translation of the Michelin Guide?
ConsulFlaminicus, Oct 30 2006

       Sorry about the snafu - you guys are quick, though. I discovered that hitting TAB - because I'm a firm believer in paragraphical format - causes the page to update, whether I'm ready for it or not. I spaced a couple of times for each graf, but they don't show up online.
elhigh, Oct 30 2006

       Why would you need a tab? It is not used in modern-style typed documents (it's a leftover from handwritten and maybe early typewritten work) and will not be rendered in HTML anyway.
webfishrune, Oct 30 2006

       I need a TAB because I grew up pounding away on an old Royal manual typewriter. I was taught that A Paragraph Begins With an Indent, and the Lord's people shall say, Amen. However, I was not taught the exact reasoning why this was so. Nonetheless, I honored conventional practice, and everyone got along. So no, the actual need is not there, but a very old habit is.
elhigh, Oct 30 2006

       //Americans tend to lack common sense, and rely in large measure for others to do their thinking for them. // I'll give you a bun, just for that.
baconbrain, Oct 31 2006

       I would give you two, for the same reason, if I could. ++ Also, because I love to eat in the car on roadtrips. Of course, I hate to drive, so I'll have to ride with [21Q], since he can eat while driving... which is important because I don't like to eat alone, no matter the circumstances.
Pericles, Oct 31 2006

       //Americans tend to lack common sense, and rely in large measure for others to do their thinking for them.//   

       Quite the loaded sentence there buddy-o, and I'm ready to disagree just as soon as someone else comes up with a reason. Then we'll have an argument on our hands, just you wait.   

       Oh, can we have a handicap adjustment module on this? I like to read while eating and that *might* change the attention quotient needed for both eating and driving. Just trying to cover all the bases here without actually running them over.
NotTheSharpestSpoon, Oct 31 2006

       An attention rating is a great idea, now all we need to do is await the class-action lawsuit that will make it a reality.   

       "Danger, lasagne. Do not attempt to eat while driving."
zen_tom, Oct 31 2006

       I love to settle down with a snack and a good book. For some reason though, crab legs and Alistair Reynolds just don't mix...   

       Hey, if my comments on Murricans offend, my apologies, but I'm just calling 'em like I see 'em: whizzing by, stuffing their faces, yelling into their phones and watching DVDs.
elhigh, Nov 01 2006


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