Silly statistics, to be taken with a very large pinch of salt.

The headline reads: "UK food goes global", and the story went on to tell the readers that "a new study reveals that in 2016 most people consume twice as much international food as traditional British dishes".
Read on, and you find some amazing deductions from a survey of 2000 people, commissioned by a restaurant chain whose philosophy is to introduce diners to international flavours.  Their set menu for evenings starts with: Salt & Pepper Squid, or  Tacos locos, or  Halloumi skewers, or World breads.  Nothing there that is a "traditional British dish", so it is not surprising that the spokesperson for the restaurants said "At our restaurants, we've noticed an ever-increasing hunger for dishes from further afield".
I haven't been able to find the survey questions.  So I don't know which traditional English dishes were compared with which international food.  Would roast lamb served with rice be British or international?  What would curry and chips count as?  If they are both "international food" because my grandparents would not have eaten such dishes, then the finding in the first paragraph could be a reasonable deduction from a survey.
But the report went on, and I did wonder whether the writer had really engaged his or her brain with  what was being reported: "The average person will eat 2079 American meals, 1890 Indian dishes and 1701 Chinese meals in their lifetime".  2079, not "about 2100", please note.  How do you measure that from a survey?  It is a Gee-Whizz statistic.  Take some dubious data, extrapolate it far beyond what is reasonable, and present it as an accurate fact.  Incidentally, what is the significance of distinguishing between "meals" and "dishes"?  And Italian food is even more popular than American meals, according to the survey.  
I'd better stop; it's time to eat.  We'll start with Bean sprout soup (Indian) with a flatbread (Middle East), go on to Lemon chicken (Chinese/Thai), Baked potatoes (are they English - or an import from America 400 years ago?), Sweetcorn (US), and end with Tiramasu (Italian) with French white wine, Port (Portuguese) and a cup of tea (we like a Kenyan blend).  (oh, and we'd better have more meals like this, or we won't be average)


  1. "... 2079 American meals, 1890 Indian dishes and 1701 Chinese meals in their lifetime." Assuming that "dish" = "meal", that's 5,670 meals. Perhaps this is just a sign of gluttony on my part, but I usually eat three meals per day. Even assuming two per day (does the "average" person skip breakfast?), that accounts for less than eight years. Double that to allow (generously?) for Italian, French and other non-UK cuisines, and the average denizen of the UK is still eating a lot of ... something. Could it perhaps be British food?


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