Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Le Jambon-Beurre Tient Bon

The jambon-beurre sandwich, the staple of my impecunious youth in Paris, is holding its own against the hamburger, outselling the detestable import 10-1. Indeed, Le Point has established a jambon-beurre index to rival the infamous Big Mac consumer price index with which The Economist tracks the global economy. Paris tops the J-BI at 3.27, followed by Poitiers at 3.15 and Strasbourg at 3.11, while you can snap up a sandwich from an independent baker for just 1.69 or get one at une grande surface for 1.88.

The J-B spread awaits its theorist. Let u(w, q, b, t, h) be the utility derived from consuming a sandwich with weight of ham w, quality of bread q, pats of butter b, cafe table rent t, and hours wasted lingered at lunch h, and assume that u is increasing in w, q, and b but decreasing in t and h with continuous second derivatives <0 in w, q, b ...

3 comments:

TexExile said...

I thought that the "J-B spread", as you call it, was BUTTER. Isn't that the point, Art? Or are you one of those people who puts butter AND mayo on the same sandwich?

Unknown said...

No mayo for me, only good moutarde de Dijon, the hotter the better.

Anonymous said...

Dunno about the variables : there's quality and quantity together.

Maybe one index for quality (seconds are zero? positive?) and one for quantities, with seconds negatives and decreasing after a while for each ingredient?