Sandwich economics

The following is a factor price breakdown for the combination that comprises more than 80% of my lunches (n=28):

Sandwich factor pricing

The cheese in question is either Cheshire or Wensleydale: certainly the two best foodstuffs that I have experienced for the first time while in England.

The surprising factor is clearly the cost of tofu. That said, I do use about 62.5g worth per sandwich. It still seems unfair that the least tasty part of the sandwich should cost the most. If I do end up going to London this weekend – as now seems highly likely – I can pick up some much lower cost tofu in the small Chinatown there.

Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

16 thoughts on “Sandwich economics”

  1. I don’t even need to take into account toaster electricity costs, since they are part of our rent. Indeed, everything I know about economics urges me to toast relentlessly, night and day.

  2. While it doesn’t decrease the cost, marinating and baking the tofu would certainly increase its culinary value.

  3. Jessica,

    You realize this would be the first time since moving in that any of us has even turned on the oven. That said, if you send more specific instructions (or a link), I will definitely give it a try. These soggy blocks of organic tofu could be better.

  4. Milan,

    If you use your toaster every night and day then you and your housemates will experience the phenomenon called ‘tragedy of the commons.’ You should watch out for that.

  5. Clearly, we will take turns. The people suffering from the tragedy of the commons will be whoever pays the St. Antony’s electricity bills. In this case, probably future residents.

  6. Marinating tofu is ridiculously easy:
    First get a ziploc bag of some kind (big enough to fit the tofu).
    Then take some stuff that you think would taste good and dump it in the bag. You don’t really need all that much — perhaps a tablespoon to 1/4 cup max of marinade for an entire package of tofu?
    Then slice the tofu into pieces — size of course depending on what you’re going to use it for, and more surface area resulting in greater marinade penetration.
    Put the tofu in the bag with the marinade, squeeze out as much air as you can, seal the bag and put it in the fridge.
    When you want to use the tofu you can cook it in the marinade (bake/fry/sautee/etc). For salads i sometimes make the pices really small and just throw them in the salad uncooked — cooking tofu is really only about modifying texture.

    Some examples off the top of my head of things to put in a marinade (i find the work best if there at least somewhat liquidy):
    garlic, ginger, soy sauce, lemon juice, sesame oil
    ketchup or tomato paste, chili powder, hot sauce, lime juice
    garlic, basil, oregano, balsamic vinager, dijon mustard
    curry powder/paste, peanut butter, water
    Really anything at all. Just look at what you have (or buy a couple basic spices/spice mixes) put some stuff into a bag, taste it, change it til it tastes good, throw the tofu on in. It makes a BIG difference! I only started eating tofu – and liking it – withing the past year or two. Thinking of eating plain tofu out of the package makes me gag. Best of luck!

  7. maybe i’m the only person in the world who enjoys tofu out of the package…but then again, it’s usually pressed-or-bust for me.

    this ain’t sandwich-friendly, but give this a shot: soft/medium tofu in small cubes, sesame oil, black sesame seeds, tamari. a fantastic, simple dish.

    alternately, maybe try some hummus instead of tofu for your sandwiches. it’s cheap, (presumably) readily available in oxford and high-protein. i hear your mum makes a good one.

    ask me for my recipe if you like.


  8. Definetely under Geek stuff.

    Im being a vegetarian. I havent decided how long yet.

    The Red Light Video is the Rock Music Video Competition 6 now.

    I ran in to Meghan and Tristan at Karoake, and that was a good time.

    Take care milan,


  9. Mica,

    Meaghan (Beattie) and Tristan is a lot more likely.

    I will write a post about your new competition entry soon.

  10. Jessica and Hilary, thanks a lot for your suggestions. Knowing food-savvy vegetarians is valuable, indeed.

    Mike, the hummous suggestion is an excellent one. I have shifted to that, along with Red Leicester and Double Glochester cheese, for the next bout of sandwich making.

  11. Milan,

    Your post on the cost of tofu changed my life. I think I am in love with you. Let’s move to Wisconsin, start our own tofu production facility and make sweet, sweet love.

    Yours truly,

    Tofu Queen

  12. I rarely get such bold and intriguing offers. Can you provide more details about yourself and your plans for tofu manufacture?

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