The Christ Church cook was well pleased to produce meringues from the ancient and famous College oven; and when Harriet had duly admired the vast fireplace with its shining spits and heard statistics of the number of joints roasted and the quantity of food consumed in term-time, she followed her guide out into the quadrangle again ...
|The kitchen at Christ Church, as it used to be|
In several of Dorothy Sayers' books, there are references to statistics; the writer worked for a time in the advertising industry, where she would have been confronted with measures of effectiveness. Another book, Five Red Herrings, needed detailed research about train times and road distances. In this respect, she is much more careful about her facts than was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who has given generations of readers questions about which train Sherlock Holmes would have caught on different occasions.
Oxford and Cambridge college kitchens still turn out huge numbers of meals, but today the statistics would have been about avoiding food wastage. St John's College, Cambridge (on page 16 of the news) has just won national awards for its sustainable food policy, and records that it has very little food wastage, less than 5%. Harriet would be impressed.
It made me wonder how different businesses in the food industry could reduce their wastage rates; there's scope for some interesting O.R. studies here.