Saturday, 13 September 2008

B3ta's Sellotapey Food Experiment: Part 1

Issue 341 of the B3ta Newsletter suggests the following:

"* SELOTAPEY FOOD EXPERIMENT - store your food by wrapping it in sellotape instead of cling film. How long does it stay fresh? What does it taste like? When you get your sandwiches out at work, what looks do you get?"

And so it begins...

The Plan

The plan is a wonderfully simple one, consisting of two key parts. Firstly, we're going to take a selection of delightful foodstuffs and wrap them in equally delightful sellotape, so we can take them into a highly populated area and see how people react when I dig into them. Incidentally, the 'we' I'm talking about is myself and my girlfriend, Emily, who aided me in recording the results, as well as selecting and wrapping the food in the first place (note the lack of 'we' when it comes to the actual eating).

The second part is a titanic struggle between the forces of cling film and sellotape. With a selection of identical food wrapped in each, we plan to see which of them goes off first. Naturally, this is going to take time and the food has only been packaged since about 8:15 this morning.

The Prediction

Do I really expect sellotape to keep food fresh for longer, or even just as long as, cling film? Fuck no. I do expect to get some odd looks sitting around and tearing tape off my lunch, though and I wouldn't be lying if I said I wasn't positively thrilled about the concept.

The Experiment

The experiment began with Emily getting up early (which I was reminded of throughout the day) and packing my lunch at about 8:15, using copious amounts of cheap adhesive tape to wrap up some cheap canned meat sandwiches and cheap apples. For some reason, she saw fit to avoid allowing the tape's cheap glue to contact the food, for fear of me being poisoned to death by toxicness, despite my objections that it took some of the fun out of the experiment. However, she still saw fit to feed me shitty canned German meat that came to a grand old total of of 39p a can, which is probably roughly equal to the metal's scrap value alone.

We headed into town at around 2pm and searched for a nice public place in which to unwrap my goods. After some hanging around waiting for old people to move the fuck out of our way, we snatched a bench outside The Bridges, Sunderland's indoor shopping centre. We were sat right by the doorway, as well as having a set of cash machines directly in front of and behind us, so this was a high traffic area.

As Emily fired up the camera, I rifled through my gay coloured cooler bag to find a suitable piece of fruit and instantly hit upon an issue. Finding the end of the tape was pretty tricky and I quickly gave up, resorting to brute force to try to get to the edible interior. Then when I snapped some of the tape and eventually did get a good length of it off, I quickly reached a point where the rest of it disappeared under the apple's massive tacky coating. It took some time. Close to EIGHT FUCKING MINUTES, in fact.

Despite the cocking about involved, there weren't nearly as many people weirded out by this as I thought there would be. When we first sat down, there was an old woman who obviously grew tired of me doing science in her presence and slinked off, muttering to her friend that one or both of us were stupid. The woman on the bench next to us was giving us an open mouthed stare and once the camera was off (fucking typical) she came over and told us that there was 'a bin just over there'. We did plan on rounding up the sellotape we'd released into the wild after we were through, anyway. A young man with fierce facial hair sympathised with us and pointed out that there was always one who complained.

With that, we packed up and wandered about a bit before heading for a pub, where I planned to unravel the German meat sandwich with a pint. Despite this pub being one that served food, Emily seemed to (WRONGLY) think it was good idea to ask them for a plate, because it'd likely be messy and unfair to the staff if they had to clear up the table afterwards. We were at loggerheads over this one, because I seriously doubted that they would let her have a plate, despite her lying about me having a food allergy and once we'd been told that we weren't allowed to eat our own food in there, we couldn't claim ignorance if quizzed. She clearly has too many morals to be a real scientist.

I managed to convince Emily, who was by now laced with wine, to try it my way at another pub, which we did. This time, the tape was easier to shift. Clearly I'd managed to get myself some awesome tape-picking skillz after the incident with the fruit. This attempt attracted even less attention than the previous one, curiously. While the video ran out before I could properly finish the eating of the sandwich, we did take this snap of the empty tape, which came about just a few seconds later.

The Conclusion

The conclusion I've drawn from part 1 is that if you use sticky tape instead of cling film, nobody will give a flying fuck, but that it takes some practice to get the stuff off. Maybe if you put some sort of paper tag on the end of the tape, you could wind it off like a beauty. By the time the sandwich was rescued from the tape, it was quite squashed, but it still tasted okay.

Stay tuned for an update on how the cling film vs sellotape head to head is going.

No comments: