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Blind taste tests that you think would lead to surprising results

If you have ever read or watched America's Test Kitchen, you have seen surprising results of blind test tests. The most famous one is imitation vanilla vs real vanilla extract.

What other categories do you think there would be surprising results?

I have a couple.

Salts where table salt, sea salt, kosher salt and iodized salt on food is compared.

Chicken stocks with and without carrots and celery.

Store brand vanilla ice creams.

Different varieties of ground black pepper.

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  1. Organic vs. conventional [fill in the blank]

    30 Replies
    1. re: nofunlatte

      Yeah, but the selling point for organic is not really about better taste, it is about better health, so even if organic chicken tastes the same or even worse than conventional chicken, I don't think that will impact the organic chicken demand.

      What would be surprising is a study which compares the health effect of organic chicken vs conventional grown chicken. However, that will be a difficult study to conduct, I believe.

      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

        Funny, I am constantly hearing from food network personalities that organic tastes better.

        1. re: mlukan

          No, no. I understand that. What I am saying is that most people that buy organic foods is for health reasons or maybe for environmental reasons, the better taste part is merely a bonus. Even if the organic food tastes no better than conventional grown food, it won't have a big impact on the sale.

          1. re: mlukan

            Some people think organic tastes better but I think it's less that the food is organic than that foods that are produced under organic guidelines are generally produced with more care and attention than mass-produced industrial food. Not always, of course: there can be good conventional products and, unfortunately, industrial-quality products that are nominally organic.

            1. re: Ruth Lafler

              I've had a number of friends tell me they think organic produce tastes better. I would LOVE to give them a blind taste test!

              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                100% agree, I would still be willing to bet the average palette would not be able to tell the difference.

                1. re: mlukan

                  Probably not, and even if we can tell the small difference, the difference may simply be a difference, as oppose to good tasting vs nasty tasting.

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      Chem,

                      Totally agree with you on this. Even different fruits of the same type (i.e. conventional) will taste different.

                      Take two conventionally grown bananas from the same batch, there is absolutely no guarantee they will taste the same.

                      This is why we have threads going on and on about the best way to pick a watermelon, or a mango, or a whatever ...

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        +1 from me. I don't buy organic everything, but the stuff that I can taste a dramatic difference in, I do. The stuff I consistently purchase are eggs, chickens and bread (though the bread I'll admit is probably just made differently).

                        It's amazing how often chicken just tastes of nothing at all.

                        1. re: Soop

                          Eggs and chicken from the farmers market taste much better to me than store bought, regardless of regular store bought, or organic store bought. Hands down different. Store bought chicken is mealy and sometimes taste ammonia-y, regardless of 'organic' or not.

                        2. re: ipsedixit

                          actually, unless you buy those tiny finger bananas, all the "normal" bananas people buy are clones of each other! weird, right?
                          http://lsned.com/facts/bananas-are-cl...

                    2. re: Ruth Lafler

                      I think a lot of organic Producers grow heirloom varieties and breeds which may have more to do with the taste than the methods used.

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    I agree, CK, and I buy a lot of organic goods. But I'm not sure I could taste the difference (and the OP referenced TASTE tests). My personal experience leans more toward local than organic--less transit time, so the produce can actually be harvested when ripe. Local AND organic would be my top choice, though. I have had some pretty awful organic carrots, for example, and some tasty conventional ones.

                    FYI, my own personal taste test has shown that organic chicken is FAR superior to supermarket conventional--skinless, boneless organic chicken breasts actually have flavor! I buy nearly all of my meat/poultry at the local organic store and there really is (to me) a flavor difference.

                    1. re: nofunlatte

                      I haven't taste tested organic chickens. In fact when I see a sign says it is organic, I usually run the other way.

                      I do suspect that yard fed chickens, if that is what organic is, are probably more flavorful. After all, a supermarket chicken is raised on kibbles or whatever and harvested after only about 6 weeks. How much flavor could they accumulate?

                      Make that covered pen raised chickens. We have plenty of hawks in Texas. Yard fed chickens wouldn't last very long.

                      1. re: Hank Hanover

                        But the hawks would appreciate them! The deserve organic chickens too! ;)

                        1. re: Hank Hanover

                          most places have hawks. For the small producer at least its' not that hard to hawk-proof your chickens. Netting over the pen is pretty cheap, and there are also moveable pen designs that would minimize the amount of overhead space that needs to be protected.

                        2. re: nofunlatte

                          I think it has less to do with what "organic" really means, rather than how, in general, the product is raised/grown. I believe that a chicken that was allowed to roam around eating whatever it wanted, yet the grass is pecked on was treated with some non-organic fertilizer, it couldn't be called organic chicken, but it would be in all other ways similar.

                          The point is, it's not that no preservatives, chemicals, etc. have been used, it's more the concept that the animal/fruit/vegetable was allowed to grow in more natural circumstances. In the case of chicken, greater taste comes from better diet variety, and not "bulking" up the chicken to maximize muscle mass. With fruit, it might mean varietals that have less yield, but greater flavor - whether a pesticide was sprayed on them at some point won't really affect a strawberry's flavor, but the varietal used matters a lot.

                          1. re: foreverhungry

                            Your post has some interesting distinctions, and makes me wonder for the first time if fois gras from manually fattened goose or duck must by definition not be "organic." Not much nature happening there!

                            1. re: Bada Bing

                              I think there is a lot of confusion over what "organic" means. The last time I read up on the topic, there were 4 different "organic" certifications, all slightly different. It's not something that is federally controlled (at least as far as I know...things might have changed), so in theory, anyone can claim their product is organic. There are certification organizations that, for a fee, will examine a product's processes, and if deemed organic, allows them to put their organic "seal" next to the organic claim.

                              I do think people get caught up in the "organic" labeling, without knowing exactly what it means. For some products, it's an "environment" thing, for others there might be a taste difference, and yet others a health consideration. Do "organic" carrots taste better than conventional? I don't know, but carrots with their tops still on sure taste a lot better than ones with tops cut off. With carrots, I frankly don't care if they are organic - but I want carrots with their green tops on. Chicken and beef? Organic? Couldn't care less. But I do prefer free-ranging and/or grass fed.

                              BTW - with "free ranged" chickens...I read that a producer can label a chicken as free ranged if the chickens have an opportunity to go outside and roam around. But in reality, even coops that have outside access, chickens don't go outside, because they were born and raised indoors - so they have no reasont o go outside, and are afraid to. So a chicken labeled "free-range" may literally have never seen the light of day. Don't know if that's completely true - just something I read last year.

                              1. re: foreverhungry

                                Organic is defined by the USDA and companies are not allowed to claim they are, if they don't follow the practices.

                                http://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/pubs/of...

                                1. re: chowser

                                  Thanks for the USDA info on "organic". Very interesting stuff. In looking at their website and the accompanying documents, there still seems to be some liberty in what's considered organic and what's not. Some pesticides can be used, some cannot. Some fertilizers can be used, some cannot. Small farmers and producers don't need to be certified, and can still claim organic status. It doesn't appear to be a cut and dry process - as well it couldn't be, because it is a complicated affair.

                                  Add that to the fact that most people have absolutely no idea where their food comes from, how it's grown, and what affect different procedures have, it's no wonder there's lots of confusion over what "organic" means when it comes to food.

                                  1. re: foreverhungry

                                    Yeah, it's a shot at trying to give consumers information, quick and dirty but not complete information. It's more important to know the farm/farming technique and, many small farms are organic but can't afford the certification; or they have sustainable techniques but aren't technically organic; or they're transitional and I will support that, too. And mass produced organic is less preferable, IMO, to a small local farm that isn't certified. I don't think, though, that small farms can call their products organic unless they fit the definition. They can say they're "antibiotic free", "rGBH free" etc. but only if they are. When you come down to it, Whole Foods sources it organic frozen foods from China--I don't think you can get further from the sustainable, environmental idea than that (it's a hyperbole, in case anyone gets on my case that there is worst).

                              2. re: Bada Bing

                                I think foie gras would be easy to be "organic" because the feed is completely controlled by the producer since the geese don't have access to anything else. It doesn't have to do with nature. Humane is another issue but organic, yes. There are mass produced organic milk companies that want to use dried milk from New Zealand to augment their production--not at all "nature" but within the definitions of organic.

                                1. re: chowser

                                  This is a great example of confusion over what "organic" means. Why would organic fois gras matter? Given the humane issues (full disclosure - I love fois gras and will eat it whenever possible), and given that it is exceedingly unlikely that there are taste differences between organic and non-organic fois gras, what difference does it make?

                                  Well, perhaps to marketers that might garner a few extra bucks from unsuspecting (ignorant?) customers, it might matter...

                                  1. re: foreverhungry

                                    I believe the selling point for "organic" is not so much about taste, but rather being healthy or environmental. Is it really healthy or environmental? That is another topic.

                                    1. re: foreverhungry

                                      Yes, I only want organic feed crammed down the gullet of a goose for my fois gras.

                                      Actually, I have never had fois gras. One of those things I am looking forward to.

                                      1. re: Hank Hanover

                                        Not directed at you HH, but this is the end of the thread at this oint.

                                        Further u there is the comment that Organic is better for you, now we have organic foie gras...ergo (i love that word) eating organic foie gras is good for you.

                                        Oh man show me the grocer who sells that healthy alterantive to Frosted Flakes.

                                        1. re: jfood

                                          jfood. I "know" you well enough to know that you know that there are healthy alternatives to Frosted Flakes. :)

                                          And they are as ridiculous as organic foie gras. IMO life's little luxuries need to be enjoyed as such—rarely and with a full appreciation of what the animal (in the case of FG) went through or what your system (in the case of FF) is going through. By all means spend 99% of the time making responsible choices. Spend 100% of the time doing so if you are an exceptional human. I for one am only average.

                        3. ooh. How about grass fed vs corn fattened choice rib eyes or prime if you can find a grass fed prime steer.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Hank Hanover

                            I'm pretty sure I could tell the difference between the two. The question is which one would taste better? That's a matter of preference, familiarity, and expectations. Most people are more familiar with the rich fatty flavour, and silky texture of corn raised beef. With grass fed beef, the texture will be more chewy, the flavour more "beefy". I would bet most people would prefer the corn raised beef, because that/s the flavour they expect. I'm not sure which I would prefer personally.

                            1. re: haggisdragon

                              Yeah, a lot of Americans really don't like grass-fed beef.

                            2. re: Hank Hanover

                              i find the difference very noticeable, and i actually i prefer the minerally, gamy flavor of grass-fed beef to corn fed. in fact, i now only eat grass-fed.

                            3. a blind test on bottled water v tap would be interesting. Some swear they prefer Zephyrhills or Evian over store brand or tap. At the same temperature and from a glass I wonder how many could really identify waters with a blindfold on.

                              18 Replies
                              1. re: smartie

                                High quality municipal water systems such as those that serve Boston, NYC and metro Denver could earn some bragging rights from a blind test with fancy bottled water.

                                1. re: Veggo

                                  Recently heard the majority of bottled water is from municipal water sources.

                                  1. re: monku

                                    Sure. That should not be a surprise. Where else the water would come from, right?

                                    The "for" argument is that the bottled water was from the municipal water sources, but it undergoes additional and extensive purification before being bottled.

                                    The "against" argument is that the ADDITIONAL purification process does not really improve the water.

                                  2. re: Veggo

                                    We spent alot of time over the last two months in Reno, NV, about an hour from our home at Lake Tahoe. The Reno water is blah tasting at best and when they're actively chlorinating, it's pretty yucky. I finally started bring gallon jugs of water from home. But overall, I can rarely tell a difference. 'Course I also really rarely buy bottled water. And I agree that NYC water is quite good.

                                  3. re: smartie

                                    I would also like to see a taste test on bottled waters. That would be interesting.

                                    Yes Monku. Most bottled waters are municipal water run through a filter. Wouldn't you like to sell 16 ounces of filtered water for $1.50? Running it through a charcoal filter would even change the taste (for the better).

                                    At least the environmentalists are finally catching on to that. Such a waste of plastic.

                                    1. re: Hank Hanover

                                      If I remember correctly it was the "pseudo" environmentalists that were protesting the municipal water and jump starting the bottled water fad.

                                      1. re: monku

                                        I have a water softener that I use potassium chloride (no rock salt) in then I have a filter set up under the sink which includes regular filters plus a charcoal filter for taste.

                                        I don't have chlorine, sediment, hard water minerals or sodium in my water. It may have trace amounts of Potassium but that's a good thing.

                                        1. re: Hank Hanover

                                          When I go to the store, I always see people buying bottled water by the case. I have some relatives that keep meaning to buy a $90 filter for under the sink but until they do, they are going to keep buying bottled water because theirs taste funny.

                                          I'm not a big environmentalist but that plastic doesn't go anywhere. With a filter, you can buy a sports bottle or two so you can still look way cool at the gym. You can even have it with you constantly.

                                        2. re: monku

                                          You are joking, right? The bottle water culture has much more negative impact on environment than many things I can think of. Forget about the plastic. The fact that you have to transport water (a very inexpensive and yet very density material) across country is just silly.

                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                            Well, no. There are all kinds of people who call themselves environmentalists, including those who are concerned to the point of paranoia about the chemicals that might be in their drinking water -- nevermind that public water systems are much more heavily regulated and to higher standards than bottled water. However, that was before the days when the major environmental concern was global warming and reducing carbon footprints and rafts of plastic bottles the size of Texas floating around the Pacific.

                                            I think the real culprits in the bottled water craze are the "you must drink 8 glasses of water a day" health "experts." Twenty years ago people didn't seem to need to have a bottle of some kind of liquid with them at all times to stave off imminent dehydration.

                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                              Of course I'm joking.
                                              I hate the mere thought of "paying" for water in a bottle.

                                              1. re: monku

                                                No, I mean you must be joking that a group of environmentalists started this water bottle trend.

                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                  FAKE environmentalists, eg moneygrubbers looking to ride the coattails of the green movement to the wrong kind of green - cash.

                                        3. re: smartie

                                          I've done this test. You can tell the difference between waters mainly because of their different mineral contents.

                                          I live in London, UK and cannot stand to drink the tap water here. I usually add a bit of lime or tea to it to make it palatable. Sometimes I buy bottled water too and have a scale of preferences among them.

                                          My wife one day decided to test how much was psychological and how much actual taste. The first test was tap water vs. bottled water and I passed that with flying colors. The next test was with different bottled waters that I had already expressed preferences for. She went to the market and got a bottle of each and served them to me in glasses. Again, I passed that with flying colors. I easily identfied my two favorites: Fiji water and Brecon Carreg.

                                          This is not to say that bottled is always better than tap. There are some bottled waters that to me taste as bad as the London tap water. And, likewise, there are tap waters which are absoluetly delicious. I used to live in San Francisco and the water there was fine. But the best tap water ever was the tap water when we visited Baden-Baden in Germany. More delicious than any bottled water I have ever tasted.

                                          1. re: r.vacapinta

                                            For me, bottled water always seems "flat" compared to tap water - even tap water from a Brita Pitcher. But I'm fortunate to live in an area with great tap water.

                                            However the tap water at my parent's farm always has the taste of iron for me now that I don't live there, and to me, the ice always smells funny.

                                          2. re: smartie

                                            Steingarten did an interesting piece on the difference between waters. He explained why IE if you prefer Poland Springs to Evian you will also like Fiji or Volvic, but if you prefer... etc. It was very interesting and fit perfectly with my experience. (That said, I drink good old NYC tap water if I have the choice.)

                                            1. re: smartie

                                              Was a water bar on R St Honore in Paris in basement below a high end gadget store called Colette that had at one point well over 100 bottled waters. They would serve them individually or in flights matched by flavor, salt content, or other things that allowed you to pick your favorite. Not the best but what you liked best, it worked well and now when ordering or buying bottled waters, l know what l prefer. There is a difference, especially in the salt and mineral content/taste, and size of bubble.

                                            2. I did this blind taste test of various products a while ago. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/664010

                                              19 Replies
                                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                                My son did a comparison test for science class on which box of raisin bran had more raisins, and he was surprised to see that the cheaper generic had more raisins.

                                                Somebody here did a nice little blind taste test of various Bourbons - - you can search for "Maker's Mark" to find it.

                                                1. re: GraydonCarter

                                                  Purely in the pursuit of science, I'm sure. I think I would like to do one on high end ice cream. I don't care if it has already been done!

                                                  1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                    Count me in on being on the panel.

                                                    1. re: monku

                                                      I've heard that ice cream taste testers for Ben & Jerry's end up hating ice cream.

                                                      I'm very willing to put that up to test, personally.

                                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                                        Yeah me too since my childhood dreams of marrying a woman that owns a Baskin Robbins fell through.

                                                        1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                          When I was in 7th grade I had a part time job at B&R, if you knew the owner's wife you'd be glad that dream fell through.

                                                          1. re: ipsedixit

                                                            When I was in 7th grade I had a part time job at B&R, I never got tired of it....scoopin it or eatin it.

                                                            1. re: monku

                                                              I think there's a palpable difference between "eatin" ice cream and taste testing it.

                                                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                I don't know....I taste tested all 31+ flavors several times and never got tired of it.
                                                                Think I saw something about the taster for Dreyer's and he said he loved his job.

                                                                1. re: monku

                                                                  Oh he does. John only need one tiny gold spoon to taste (yes, gold because of its inert). He also said he invented the favor: cookie and cream

                                                                  http://images.channelone.com/img/2004...

                                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                    Yeah, that's the guy.
                                                                    Does he look like he hates anything?

                                                                    1. re: monku

                                                                      No, he looks like he enjoys life quiet a bit. He also came across as a nice guy in the interview I watch. On the other hand, he cannot like everything he tastes. Afterall, it is his job to distinguish good ice cream from bad ice cream. Deyer's won't have hired him for so long to only have him to say everything taste good. Just like the fact that it is a movie critic's job to criticize films.

                                                                  2. re: monku

                                                                    I'm sure the Dreyer's dude love his job.

                                                                    But my fear is that if I were an ice cream taste tester, what would I do with myself when I want to go out for an ice cream treat ...

                                                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                      Yeah, I can see that. Once it becomes part of your jobs, it does take some joys away from it.

                                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                        It's like when I used to work at a donut shop. For a while there, I couldn't stomach the sight, nor taste, of any kind of donut.

                                                                        Thankfully, I'm cleansed of that phobia now ...

                                                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                          ipsedixit,

                                                                          You know you are not the first nor the second person who told me about "working in a donut shop make you sick of the donut smell". I think there is something almost universal here.

                                                                          I don't believe you will get the same strong negative feeling if you are to work as an ice cream taster. So send out your resume now to Breyer's now (Deyer's competitor)

                                                                    2. re: ipsedixit

                                                                      But to be a fair test, I think I would have to test at least 2 scoops of each ice cream. Daunting job but somebody has to do it.

                                                        2. I'd be interested to see if the much more expensive Japan raised kobe beef will actually beat American raised counterparts in blind tasting.

                                                          1. On Food Detective with Tim Allen they did a taste test with Liquid Smoke ribs and regular smoke ribs and they couldn't tell the difference.

                                                            7 Replies
                                                            1. re: monku

                                                              Wow. If this is true, then it will have some significant impact on the whole BBQ food industry and culture.

                                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                Liquid Smoke has been around forever and it's basically water infused with real smoke. Hasn't caught on yet it won't. Maybe a flaw i suspect was there were only four taste testers if I remember and they weren't BBQ experts.

                                                                1. re: monku

                                                                  Well I'm not a BBQ expert either, and neither are most people. If it takes an expert to tell the difference then I contend it's not much of a difference. It's certainly not a difference that matters.

                                                                  1. re: ZenSojourner

                                                                    I'd submit that the sweetness of the sauce is so overpowering that the only way you could detect the smoke is via the smell. I wonder if they smelled the sauces?

                                                              2. re: monku

                                                                You would be able to tell visually as there would not be a smoke ring.

                                                                Be very careful about talking about liquid smoke here. These people get very upset about the subject.

                                                                I brought up the idea on a thread to use some liquid smoke in a bbq sauce if you didn't have time or access to a smoker. You would have thought I had told them that Everclear was as good as any champagne.

                                                                1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                  I think people get very passionate about BBQ. There are two things you don't make fun of a Southener, his mama and his BBQ.

                                                                  (yes, you can probably make sure of his old man before his BBQ -- just kidding)

                                                                  1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                    Liquid Smoke has it's place and I'm guilty of using it sometimes. That's as far as I'll go.

                                                                2. I think with some things, we are conditioned to enjoy the mass-produced flavors. So it would not surprise me if a blind taste test found that people liked caged chickens, tortured cows, or brazenly insulted goats better.

                                                                  Living in Washington, DC I have had the pleasure of meeting people from all over the world, and some of them do not like our beef (I'm thinking specifically of people from Ethiopia and Kenya), so I know that conditioning plays some part in it. Since the Ethiopian folks often eat their beef raw, I suppose that would be the only true taste test.

                                                                  WIth some products, it would be hard. I tried to think of an experiment for sugar soft drinks vs HFCS, but it would be very difficult to get an accurate result. You would have to find a bottling plant that put out the same product in the same container, just with that one difference. Even then, I think there are many (myself included) who think that Coke out of those small bottles tastes better than Coke out of a large plastic bottle, but I don't know if there is a way to do this blind.

                                                                  I know that from going to the my local producers-only farmers market, there is a lot of inferior produce out there, no matter how well-meaning it is. So once I learn about which items really make a difference, I tend to stick to them regularly and I am very cautious when experimenting, because you can really waste a ton of money otherwise.

                                                                  21 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Steve

                                                                    "Living in Washington, DC I have had the pleasure of meeting people from all over the world, and some of them do not like our beef (I'm thinking specifically of people from Ethiopia and Kenya)"

                                                                    I am thinking it has a lot to do with the type of cattle. European cattle are breeded in a way to eliminate the off taste (which can be offensive for some people) that they also don't have the gaming taste.

                                                                    1. re: Steve

                                                                      On the soda comparison of sugar vs corn syrup, you can buy coca cola from Mexico. It is made with sugar. The american product is made with corn syrup and there is a huge difference in taste. Just depends on what you are used to.

                                                                      1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                        Yes, but the question is: is the HFCS the only difference? If they come from different countries, different plants, then you could certainly say one tastes better, but maybe not the cause.....

                                                                        Anyway, I think those little glass bottles are amazing no matter the sweetener.

                                                                        1. re: Steve

                                                                          Diet Coke/Coke Light tastes different in different countries, and it's not b/c of HFCS :) Coca-Cola does a masterful job of tweaking the formula to match the tastes of each market.

                                                                          1. re: mpjmph

                                                                            Could be, but Mexican coke tastes exactly like the stuff from Turkey. I know because I was only allowed to drink coke in Turkey when I would summer there as a kid. True bliss! Plus I have heard that another difference is in the tamarind flavoring they use, e.g. between Mexico and the U.S.

                                                                          2. re: Steve

                                                                            I'm pretty sure that Mexican Coke is simply sweeter by design. This is in line with the fact that Mexican sodas and sweets are generally sweeter than sodas and sweets in the US.

                                                                            (In my unscientific experience, Mexican Coke in plastic bottles tastes pretty similar to Mexican Coke in glass bottles, while Kosher-for-Passover US Coke doesn't taste all that different from regular US Coke. Anybody want to round up all four for a blind test?)

                                                                            1. re: lavaca

                                                                              Really? I find just the opposite -- that Mexican Coke is FAR, FAR less sweet (I would say at least 1/3 less sweet) than American Coke! I don't drink American Coke at all anymore unless it's poured over an equal amount of ice, because it's so dang sweet, compared to Mexican Coke from my local Mexican grocery that I happily drink straight from the glass bottle!

                                                                              1. re: LauraGrace

                                                                                You are the only one. Do you also find lime Jarritos to be less sweet than Sprite or 7Up?

                                                                                1. re: lavaca

                                                                                  Hahaha... I'm not the only one. You're the FIRST person I've ever heard say that Mexican Coke tastes sweeter. The appeal of it to everyone I've spoken to about it is that it's less sweet! :)

                                                                                  No, I find Jarritos to be sickeningly, cloyingly sweet.

                                                                                  1. re: LauraGrace

                                                                                    That is impressive. I've never heard anyone say that, and I've been drinking the stuff since you had to go to a taqueria to get it in the US (the "it's better because it doesn't have corn syrup" meme is pretty recent). I then did some Googling and saw that, while most people say that the Mexican stuff was sweeter, a few people did claim the opposite. Fructose sensitivity, maybe?

                                                                                    1. re: lavaca

                                                                                      See, now you've got me curious! Do you find a ... I don't want to say "textural" but it's the only thing I can come up with... maybe a mouth feel difference between Am. and Mex. Coke? I find that all HFCS-containing drinks leave a sort of "slick" in my mouth, which I do not find in sugar-sweetened beverages.

                                                                              2. re: lavaca

                                                                                Anynmore, I can't find 'Kosher for Passover' Coke except for 2 liter bottles. Unfortunately, those big bottles produce the worst flavor (to my unblindfolded taste buds).

                                                                          3. re: Steve

                                                                            I'm a Native Atlantan, home of Coke. Years ago I wound up sitting next to a chemist from Coke and asked him about that. He laughed and said that I wouldn't believe how much money they've spent on that very question. Even large glass and small glass where the ONLY difference might be surface tension. BTW, I've stopped eating the hot dog special at Costco cause they switched to Pepsi. I don't DO Pepsi :)

                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                              So did your chemist acquaintance come to a conclusion?

                                                                              1. re: Steve

                                                                                Nope. Actually this was so long ago we were comparing large glass bottles to the small ones. Not plastic or metal.

                                                                              2. re: c oliver

                                                                                ha! c, i went to college in ATL, and the school was nicknamed Coca-Cola U so you can probably guess where i did my undergrad ;) we weren't *allowed* to have Pepsi products on campus!

                                                                                oh, and back in my soda-drinking days, i nailed the Coke vs Pepsi challenge every time. VERY different flavors.

                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                  I think that rule should still be in effect :) Do you think the Varsity would ever change?!? Don't even think about that.

                                                                                2. re: c oliver

                                                                                  It's not the switch the Pepsi that necessarily bugs me, but the fact that they have two soda machines with sixteen heads at the Costco here, and yet can still only manage to offer five flavors total (3 of which are caffeinated so I can't drink them anyway.) Needless to say, between that and the changeover to their own brand hotdogs (which I find rather mediocre) I've been eating a lot less Costco dogs lately.

                                                                                  1. re: Steve

                                                                                    I like coke from a can better than from a plastic bottle. And, of course, the little glass bottles are the best.

                                                                                  2. Of course, the most famous taste test is Coke vs. Pepsi.

                                                                                    Not long ago I was reading about New Coke. In blind taste tests for months, people regularly picked the new formula over the old. When it came to market, they practically couldn't give it away.

                                                                                    MHO is that it was all a stroke of brilliance. They was suffering in the cola war and that "Gaffe" renewed people's love of Coke.

                                                                                    DT

                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Davwud

                                                                                      When I was drinking it regularly I could instantly tell the difference between coke and pepsi. Pepsi is a sweeter product which is why Coke tried to come up with a new pepsi-like product and still keep the old one as classic.

                                                                                      It didn't work well but did reinvigorate coke buyers. When asked if they had planned it all.. they said "We aren't that smart."

                                                                                      1. re: Davwud

                                                                                        Like Hank, I can really tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi. Pepsi tastes sweeter for sure.

                                                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                          To me, Coke also has a stronger "spice" flavor, sort of an allspice component to it.

                                                                                          1. re: weezycom

                                                                                            Pepsi has Pepsin in it. Hence the name. It's very noticeable to me.

                                                                                            DT

                                                                                            1. re: weezycom

                                                                                              Yes. I agree. Thanks. (I were looking for that word "spice")

                                                                                          2. re: Davwud

                                                                                            Malcolm Gladwell had a piece in the New Yorker about the Coke vs Pepsi test. Because Pepsi is sweeter, when you have a two ounce cup, as you do in the taste test, you're more likely to pick Pepsi. But when tests were repeated with larger glasses, most people chose Coke, because they found Pepsi too sweet and cloying after a while.

                                                                                            Gave me an appreciation of two things. First, since kids generally prefer sweeter things, Pepsi's "For those who think young" and "Forever young" campaigns were quite remarkable in their attempt to build on that.

                                                                                            Second, I now take any tests that are divorced from the real world with a grain of salt. EPA mileage estimates, how many hours I'll get from a light bulb, or taste tests - interesting pieces of data, all of them, but not enough to convince me on their own.

                                                                                          3. I heard about an egg blind-tasting on the radio (NPR) where a group of foodies blind-tested grocery store eggs (<$2 per dozen) with a bunch of other eggs, including backyard eggs, farmers market eggs ($6/dozen), and "boutique grocery" free range organic eggs. The conclusion was that, in the absence of visual cues (color of yolk, color/thickness of shell), the tasters could NOT tell the difference! There are compelling reasons not to buy factory farmed eggs (ie. treatment of the chickens) but flavor is not one of them.

                                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: chococat

                                                                                              Interesting that you brought that up. I recently paid the premium to a local farmer for a dozen fresh eggs and other than the shells being different colors and the size of his eggs not being as big as my large eggs at the store, I didn't find much difference. I didn't even see a difference in the thickness of the yolk which I was expecting. They weren't even a darker yellow and I have seen some local eggs that at least had that.

                                                                                              1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                                                BUT they were probably fresher than any eggs you'd get at the supermarket. So now you can poach!!!

                                                                                                1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                  I do find a difference in taste, but not all "free range" chicken eggs are the same. Some people feed their "free range" chickens the same meal that the factory birds get. I occasionally have negative reactions to factory eggs which I believe is probably due to feed additives such as dye that I never have with fresh eggs. Keep in mind that most of what you buy at the store labeled "organic" or "free-range" really aren't. The only way to be sure you're getting free-range or organic eggs is to raise them yourself or to personally know who you're buying from and how they treat their birds. I've done both.

                                                                                                  There used to be a huge difference in yolk color, now not so much because battery chicken farmers have caught on and now add yellow food coloring to feed.

                                                                                                  There is also a difference in freshness, as has been noted, you would be shocked to know how old those grocery store eggs are. Whites spread and are thin and runny, and yolks are flat and have no body. How much of that is age and how much is difference in feeding and exercise for the birds is arguable.

                                                                                                  I'm curious how they prepared the eggs. I imagine you would have more trouble telling the difference in a scramble than a plain fried or boiled egg.

                                                                                                  1. re: ZenSojourner

                                                                                                    Traveling in Europe on business my breakfast eggs always tasted so good. I was told it was because they were fresh.

                                                                                                    The brown bread was much better, too. I'd be curious as to why.

                                                                                                    1. re: ZenSojourner

                                                                                                      My sister had a neighbor/friend who had chickens that just roamed the yard and ate bugs and stuff in addtiion to chicken feed. Those eggs were amazing. Then the friend started selling eggs and went to a small but factory-style organic operation and the wonderful taste of the eggs dropped noticeably and the yolks got much lighter. Not worth it.

                                                                                              2. Comparing extra virgin olive oils at various price points would be very illuminating.

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: haggisdragon

                                                                                                  The few pricier olive oils that I've bought, in smaller bottles, have been more peppery than one I regularly use.

                                                                                                2. Many of you will never believe this one,but here it is: taste testing of wines at room temperature, the main question being, "Is it red or white?"

                                                                                                  I read an article in the New Yorker years ago by Calvin Trillin on this topic, and because I was traveling to visit a big group of relatives and we were having lots of gatherings, I decided to make such a taste test part of one of the parties. Everyone interested in participating was to bring a wine that cost less than $20 to the "'Red or White?' Party." For obvious reasons, you need blindfolds and also someone with no stake in the testing to write codes on bottles in paper bags, etc., and keep track of taster comments (we used a genial teenager).

                                                                                                  Results: As Trillin had noted, many and even most people had a hard time answering all the time whether a wine was red or white, and these are people who drink wines regularly and pay attention to styles and makers, etc.

                                                                                                  Interestingly, my father, who is perhaps the most serious wine snob of us all, had one of the poorest averages, but, to give him his due, he did better than most people at such things as guessing the region and climate conditions.

                                                                                                  12 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: Bada Bing

                                                                                                    Most people couldn't discern a $10 bottle versus a $100 bottle in a blind taste test. Robert Parker included.

                                                                                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                      Gordon Ramsay did taste tests on his show "the F Word" and only the most refined vintners could distinguish between expensive wines and cheap wines, and not even 100% of the time. He had Cliff Richard take a blind taste test between a "good" wine and his own "celebrity plonk". Ramsay said "'He couldn't even identify his own wine. We are now using it for vinaigrette at Claridges."

                                                                                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                        We did this once with two different wines, and most, if not all preferred the $30 to the $18 bottle.

                                                                                                        1. re: limster

                                                                                                          Well, first, I'll suggest to limster that a two-bottle sample is perhaps too narrow to draw conclusions on. But more importantly, contra ipsedixit (with all due respect), I think that differences are discernable to average wine devotees. Perhaps my original message (about people struggling to tell white from red) seemed to suggest that I think wine snobbery is a sham, I actually don't think that. I sent my message in a sort of humorous (but still factual) spirit.

                                                                                                          For one thing, few people are accustomed to tasting any white wine at room temperature. And I believe that wine temperature affects taste about as much as another often ignored variable: glass shape. Years before, I did a casual experiment in which we tried the SAME red wine in two different glass shapes (one flared wide, the other narrowing toward the top) and people were swearing left and right that they were tasting two different wines.

                                                                                                          I do acknowledge that some humdrum wines get sold overpriced due to various factors of region, varietal, prestige, etc. But wine tasting is a genuine skill, and if you observe controls of temperature and glasses and steer clear of getting too foggy from alcohol (spitting?), then you can get to the point that you'll rarely confuse a typical or even exceptional under $10 bottle with even a $25+ bottle, to say nothing of $100 bottles.

                                                                                                          1. re: Bada Bing

                                                                                                            Well then wine tasting skills are among those I plan never ever to develop, that I may continue to drink well and frugally. >:D

                                                                                                            1. re: ZenSojourner

                                                                                                              Yeah. Luckily, there are indeed very good cheap--by which I mean circa $10--wines to be had.

                                                                                                              What the cheaper wines inevitably lack is a handful of qualities that can only be gotten through low-yield growing and production (pricey producers will prune away most of the grapes from a vine, allowing the small remainder to be fed by the whole plant). But cheap wines can still have all sorts of other great qualities.

                                                                                                              As I see it, it's analogous to enjoying great parmagiano cheese ($15-25 per pound) at times while also enjoying cheaper cheeses in their own roles.

                                                                                                            2. re: Bada Bing

                                                                                                              Agree entirely - we only had 1 data point, but it argues against a general thesis. And if more people chime in with their data, we could do a metaanalysis.

                                                                                                                1. re: Bada Bing

                                                                                                                  I will say that any of the truly dreadful wines I've had have been cheap ones. I'm not talking about preferring one wine to another - I'm talking about two buck Chuck and worse, where I'd pour it down the sink rather than even cook with it.

                                                                                                          2. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                            All of this assumes wines are fairly priced. I've had great cheap wines and horrible expensive
                                                                                                            wines.

                                                                                                            The conclusion is not that wine snobs are mistaken and that there is no such as thing as great wine. If anything, it says we might have a greater need for wine critics to help us uncover the good values.

                                                                                                            1. re: Bada Bing

                                                                                                              I bet it gets harder after more tastes. I find after tasting anywhere from 5-8 wines in an hour, I lose all ability to distinguish one from the other and only time (1 or more hours) seems to restore it.

                                                                                                              The taste test I think would be enlightening is any product when you're full vs. when you're hungry. It's amazing how much difference in perception a little hunger provides.

                                                                                                            2. i'd take the salt challenge. i can't stand the sharp, metallic flavor of iodized table salt, and you can tell the difference between sea salt & kosher salt based on the shape & texture of the crystals/flakes.

                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                I don't think a blind taste taste of salts would be proper in their "dry" form.

                                                                                                                I think the only way to do it right with different types of salts would be to dissolve them in water and then take a sip.

                                                                                                                Still game?

                                                                                                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                  for the iodized vs non, definitely. but not the sea vs kosher ;)

                                                                                                              2. how about decaf vs caffeinated coffee? or different coffee brewing methods - e.g. drip vs press.

                                                                                                                brings to mind the tasting challenge at Starbucks when they were promoting the launch of their instant coffee (Via something?). it was REALLY poorly designed - they were comparing two different beans & roasts! the instant was Italian Roast, and the drip was their nasty Pike's Place standard house blend. one sip and i knew the difference. the demo guy said i was one of the only people who had gotten it right, which i thought was really odd.

                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                  It is easy enough to tell the difference between drip and press - at the end of the cup. Press, or anything using a strainer as opposed to the paper filter, will have some sludge.

                                                                                                                  1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                    That and there is a very different taste and mouth feel with pressed coffee. Now if you ran the pressed brew through a paper filter I'm not sure how big of a difference there would be.

                                                                                                                2. Wow! Release the hounds!

                                                                                                                  We are just going crazy with this subject. Who'd a thunk it?

                                                                                                                  On the salt test, you would have to ingest it a couple of different ways. Dissolved in liquid. sprinkled and mixed into say mashed potatoes and left for at least 5 minutes to insure that it dissolved. Sprinkled on a steak while resting so it had a chance to dissolve. In butter on white bread, perhaps.

                                                                                                                  And I doubt most people would even be able to taste the iodized salt as it is only 2% of the salt, maybe and that is diluted severely by what you put it in.

                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                  1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                                                                    I can pick out iodized salt on lots of things. It's the smell, for me. I don't notice it so much on dry, cool food.

                                                                                                                  2. Somebody suggested extra virgin olive oils. I assure you. There would be extreme taste variances. I once got a sampler pack of 4 Italian extra virgin olive oils. Each from different provinces of Italy. They ranged from delicious to abominable. I don't think the whole country can be more than 500 - 600 miles long or wide.

                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                                                                      Almost 750 miles long. A little over 115K sq mi.

                                                                                                                      DT

                                                                                                                      1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                                                                        I've been told repeatedly that there is huge adulteration and cheating in the labeling of extra virgin olive oil.

                                                                                                                        1. re: macca

                                                                                                                          Mmmmmm... Dukes...

                                                                                                                          Yep, Southern ladies will stick by their preferred brand to the death! :)

                                                                                                                          1. re: LauraGrace

                                                                                                                            I live in the NE, so no Dukes around. But i vacation on the outer Banks of NC every year. never pass up on the peaches, and this year I bought a few jars of dukes, after reading on this, and other boards, how it was the greatest. I use hellmans at home. to be truthful, i did not see the big difference- so i wonder how a blind taste test wuld fdare!!

                                                                                                                            1. re: macca

                                                                                                                              I think the paprika extract in Dukes moves the needle in its favor, but I have never hosted a blind taste test of mayonnaise for fear of a low turnout.

                                                                                                                              1. re: macca

                                                                                                                                It's definitely made a big difference in my potato salad, for sure. And Duke's + bacon + tomato slices on white bread? An umami bomb and the best damn sammich this side of anywhere.

                                                                                                                          2. For a birthday 'gift', my family arranged for a blind tasting of many of the pizza places in Toronto. They bought pizza by the slice from about 6 or 7 different places, blindfolded me and had me choose my favourite. This was more entertainment for them than they could have hoped for, since I chose as my favourite, the place that I despise the most! Very embarassing for a CH, I have to say. But, lots of fun for THEM!

                                                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: Yongeman

                                                                                                                              Mortification can still be fun. Have you relented in your feelings about the place, or do old views die hard?

                                                                                                                              1. re: Yongeman

                                                                                                                                Not exactly a great way to eat pizza. Couldn't they have bought a few smalls and let everyone have a go at it??

                                                                                                                                DT

                                                                                                                                1. re: Davwud

                                                                                                                                  Good point. Single slices traveling from various places under various conditions. Anyway, all in good fun.

                                                                                                                                  I've heard of some places making real Napoli-style pizzas that refuse to allow take-out orders, on the view that the product suffers, or might suffer, unacceptably.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Davwud

                                                                                                                                    Yeah, I don't see what's so good about eating old pizza. I'm sure I couldn't tell the difference under those circumstances either.

                                                                                                                                    The problem with many blind taste tests is that it is sometimes difficult to recreate the same circumstances under normal Chowhounding. So I think it's a good idea to try different brands of mayo, for example, but the only true test would be to eat the same sandwich with the only difference being a change in mayo. Taking one bite isn't necessarily a good test.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Davwud

                                                                                                                                      Sure DT, but the point was to give the CH a special birthday 'treat'--so deflating to have chosen Pizza Pizza! Yuck. And to answer Bada Bing, no, I haven't started to eat the one I chose. I have just rationalized that it probably tasted 'better' because it was saltier or something. You're right...old views do die hard. Ha ha.

                                                                                                                                  2. A huge one for me would be:

                                                                                                                                    Real mayo vs the cheap sugary glop that a lot of places call mayo these days.

                                                                                                                                    I've heard many ppl say they do not like "mayo" because it's too sweet. WHAAAAAA?
                                                                                                                                    Real mayo is NOT sweet.
                                                                                                                                    ==========

                                                                                                                                    I also (probably incorrectly) believe that ppl who eat processed meat product lunchmeat type foods like turkey loaf and roast beef loaf would never eat those things again if they ever had the real thing. I'd love to see a side by side comparison of someone eating a sandwich made with real turkey breast, and then eating a sandwich made with the stuff that places like Subway call turkey breast.

                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: gordeaux

                                                                                                                                      Well maybe it's different over here, but most of the stuff I get is ok.
                                                                                                                                      If I had a chicken I prefer to eat it in another way than in a sandwich anyway - in a sandwich, I tend to add coleslaw or something, so you don't get much of a chickeny punch to it.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: gordeaux

                                                                                                                                        Most of us have eaten turkey breast sandwiches - on the day after Thanksgiving.

                                                                                                                                      2. I just think of a good one to test.

                                                                                                                                        Real turkey meat vs Tofurkey (tofu turkey). I have never tried tofurkey, but I read they do a good job imitating real turkey. I wonder how many people can tell the difference.

                                                                                                                                        23 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                          http://www.slate.com/id/2205361/

                                                                                                                                          According to this test, there is absolutely NO mistaking Tofurkey for actual meat. "Rubbery" is the first descriptor. I'd bet that the vast, vast majority of people could tell the difference between real turkey and Tofurkey. Thinly sliced, it would probably be much harder to tell the difference between Tofurkey and the processed lunchmeat kind of turkey, however.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: LauraGrace

                                                                                                                                            That is too bad. I hoped it would be a closer test. However, the article you put up suggests another one look promising: Gardein Stuffed Veggie Turkey Roast. That for 8 out of 10 for Meatiness and 10 out of 10 for Overall Taste.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                              But . . . but . . . but . . . wouldn't it still taste like TURKEY?

                                                                                                                                              1. re: ZenSojourner

                                                                                                                                                "wouldn't it still taste like TURKEY"

                                                                                                                                                I think that will be the goal. If a soy-based food mimics turkey meat in both taste and texture, then it is a big success. Do you not like turkey? Is that why you ask that question?

                                                                                                                                                By the way, I read an article about imitating chicken meat, but it is much more difficult and we are further behind on that one.

                                                                                                                                                http://www.time.com/time/magazine/art...

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                  Yup.

                                                                                                                                                  A quarter century happily turkey-free.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                      I had 14 years of Thanksgiving fish in the Caribbean - and liked it - but I was glad to get back to gobblers with chestnut and oyster stuffing.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                                        I suppose the upside is that fish is heavier than turkey and I have never heard of people said "I ate so much fish that I am getting fat", though technically it is possible.

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                        I don't bother with Thanksgiving anymore. EVERYDAY is Thanksgiving at my house, LOL!

                                                                                                                                                        I eat whatever I want year round, no need to wait for one time a year to make a bunch of stuff I don't even like for other people who don't appreciate it anyway.

                                                                                                                                                        And Turkey isn't anywhere on the list. Nor pumpkin pie, nor cranberry relish, nor anything made with yams and marshmallows. I eat jellied cranberry sauce, rolls, corn on the cob, apple pie, and stuffing whenever I feel like it.

                                                                                                                                                        So Thanksgiving is a day of rest for me. No more getting up at 5 am to start the bird! LOL!

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ZenSojourner

                                                                                                                                                          What have you eaten at some of your recent T'days?

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                                            Just regular stuff. I don't do anything special. Haven't since 1984. It's just another day in my house.

                                                                                                                                                            Well I did make a ham for my dad a few years ago. He's not a fan of turkey either. So I made the ham and some stuffing, had some jellied c.sauce for me, but my dad doesn't care for that either. Made baked potatoes, some rolls. Bought an apple pie with streusel top. Basically I made whatever my dad asked for, and sure enough, my sister bitched and moaned because there was no turkey. It was on my Dad's dime and I made what HE wanted. She could have made her own turkey if she wanted one so badly, but she expected my Dad to pay for it and me to cook it regardless of his wishes.

                                                                                                                                                            My family's selfish and mean like that. That's why I don't do bird-day any more. The last time I went full out for bird day my son was 3 days old, 1 day out of the hospital, I made the full dinner for something like 15 people, and they sat and bitched the whole time. My rolls weren't as good as so-and-so's; the turkey was too dry; why did I use THAT recipe for stuffing; if we'd had dinner at MY house I'd have served such and such; etc etc etc.

                                                                                                                                                            They didn't even offer to help with the dishes, and me just out of the hospital with a new baby 3 days old.

                                                                                                                                                            So no more bird-day for me. There hasn't been a whole-family thanksgiving dinner since then because despite all their bitching and pretensions, they're all too cheap and lazy to do it.

                                                                                                                                                            All of which I consider no loss. Just means I don't have to submit myself to their nit-picking and abuse, and pay for the privilege on top of it by having to buy and prepare the full spread. LOL!

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ZenSojourner

                                                                                                                                                              "My family's selfish and mean like that"

                                                                                                                                                              Everyone is selfish to some extends. Part of natural selection and human evolution.

                                                                                                                                                              I don't think your family has a selfish problem. It is just that they speak what comes to their mind. Other people may think the same things, but they usually keep quiet.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                You don't know my family. Let's just leave it at that.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                  Speaking their mind is one thing, but even thinking it was acceptable for someone 3 days post-childbirth to shop, cook, serve, and clean up a huge meal for the whiner plus another dozen or so people really is selfish and mean-spirited.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: weezycom

                                                                                                                                                                      One Thanksgiving my wife made a veggie terrine (pate).

                                                                                                                                                                      You should have heard her father bitch and moan about that one.

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                              Many people do not have turkey during Thanksgiving.

                                                                                                                                                              Our family for one will almost always have Chinese hot pot for Thanksgiving. Even if no hot pot, it's never turkey.

                                                                                                                                                              Chinese think Turkey is gauche, in more ways than one.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                                Vietnamese here. We never have turkey either. Instead, my mom roasts a goose or two - we've got big appetites :)

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                                  Old thread, but why "gauche in more ways than one"?

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                      No similarity. I served sliced tofurkey to my family once. They had no idea what it was but no one ate more than a bite. The texture is oddly rubbery and fake--it doesn't seem like real food. I think, even thinly sliced, in a sandwich, it would be obvious. And, the taste isn't the same, either.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                        Well, thanks for you and others pointing this out. I won't have known. I thought we have mastered imitation turkey meat from a Time/CNN article. The article wrote:

                                                                                                                                                        ' "Along with ham, chicken has always been the holy grail," says Seth Tibbott, 59, the creator of Tofurky and the dean of soy-meat inventors. Tibbott's Oregon-based Turtle Island Foods has become famous for its surprisingly full-flavored fake turkey. But Tibbott says efforts to create a credible fake chicken have foundered because of chicken's unique lean texture and its delicate flavor. ("Turkey has a gamier flavor," he says, "and it's easier to match stronger flavors.") '

                                                                                                                                                        http://www.time.com/time/magazine/art...

                                                                                                                                                        http://www.time.com/time/magazine/art...

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                          I've tried, over decades, different types of fake meats or imitation animal products. What I've decided is that it's not worth it. IMO, a vegetarian diet can be wonderful in it's array of vegetables, grains, legumes, etc. but fake meat isn't one of them. I think Morningstar does the most edible fake products, like their bacon and ground crumbles, but you have to think of them not as fake meats but a product of their own. And, that said, it's a very processed product so I don't use them any more. I don't think vital wheat gluten is better for me than natural bacon. Ethically, yes, there's no dead pig involved but taste-wise, health-wise, no. I wouldn't eat tofurkey, vegetarian or not.

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                          My ex-step-son would ask for it for T-day, and we'd cook it up. He and his girlfriend would happily eat it. Mom was the only one of us with the nerve (or room) to try it, and she liked it, but no one grilled her on the differences in front of the kids, and after sending the leftovers home with them, we promptly forgot about it.

                                                                                                                                                      2. BTW, here's a link to the archive for the SF Chronicle's Taster's Choice column. They usually are comparing different brands of the same thing, but sometimes they also put in something "real" with a category of product that is canned/imitation/altered. Here's an example: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article...

                                                                                                                                                        http://www.sfgate.com/columns/tasters...

                                                                                                                                                        1. Corn meal or grits - from grocery store brands and expensive mail order brands (e.g. Anson mills or imported Italian).

                                                                                                                                                          Hatch or Chimayo chiles v. no-name New Mexico chiles.

                                                                                                                                                          1. what about brand name cereals like Kelloggs or Post with the store brand copies? I am not much of a cereal eater occasionally corn flakes or frosted flakes but I always buy Kelloggs.

                                                                                                                                                            1. So how about:

                                                                                                                                                              Heinz ketchup vs all comers

                                                                                                                                                              Campbell's Tomato Soup Corrolary Q - made w water or milk.

                                                                                                                                                              I'll admit to having and using both, BTW, want to make something of it?

                                                                                                                                                              9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: myaco

                                                                                                                                                                I know what Campbell's tomato soup is... What is Corrolary Q?

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: myaco

                                                                                                                                                                  Hahaha... I think CI did a ketchup tasting with surprising results a few years ago.

                                                                                                                                                                  And I am 100% in the made-with-water camp. I had tomato soup made with milk once as a child and found it indescribably wrong. Of course now I make tomato bisque with a splash of cream at the end, so it's a moot argument, but as a child, I would have put up my dukes about it for sure.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LauraGrace

                                                                                                                                                                    I remember going to a friend's house as a kid and her mom made Campbell's tomato with water. I couldn't / wouldn't eat it. Vile!

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: weezycom

                                                                                                                                                                      Yup, just goes to show ya how much "the way mom made it" shapes our tastes, for good or ill! :)

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: weezycom

                                                                                                                                                                        Campbell's tomato soup (always made with milk) was my favorite lunch as a child - with a tuna salad sandwich and always saltine crackers crumbled over the top of the soup. I'm with you weezycom - it tastes horrible made with water. That makes it taste ... sort of ... watery. Of course it tastes better when it's made with milk; it's much more fattening that way!

                                                                                                                                                                        I never eat Campbell's tomato soup anymore, but I've been craving it for the past few months. I never remember this when I'm in the supermarket though!

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: woodleyparkhound

                                                                                                                                                                          I had Campbell's tomato soup recently--a last minute grilled cheese and tomato soup dinner and it was the only one at the store. I was surprised at how sweet it was. Almost like ketchup soup. Sad because I remember loving it when I was younger.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: LauraGrace

                                                                                                                                                                          My dad preferred it made with water. I made it with milk once while he was living with me thinking he'd like that even better (I swear I remember making it that way as a kid) and it's one of the few things I had to throw out and do over for him.

                                                                                                                                                                        3. re: myaco

                                                                                                                                                                          We prefer the Publix Greenwise ketchup to either Heinz standard or Heinz organic. The Publix isn't as overpoweringly sweet, IMO.

                                                                                                                                                                        4. Of things that interest me:

                                                                                                                                                                          Artisan Chocolate (about to do this myself this week)

                                                                                                                                                                          Coffee (I know what I like, now can I actually tell the difference?)

                                                                                                                                                                          Dried Pasta

                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: amokscience

                                                                                                                                                                            Did my chocolate experiment (two dozen ~70% plain chocolate bars):

                                                                                                                                                                            Expensive chocolates tend to have chalkier, waxier textures. They take much longer to melt in your mouth.
                                                                                                                                                                            I enjoyed/disliked chocolates along the entire price range.
                                                                                                                                                                            I hated quite a few, sometimes liking and disliking within the same brand.
                                                                                                                                                                            Milk chocolate seems way too sweet now.

                                                                                                                                                                            My initial conclusion is that choosing chocolate is a crapshoot. Just try whatever you feel like and you'll figure out what you like and don't (most bars don't advertise their flavor characteristics). My favorites tasted like... chocolate, not floral or fruity or nutty or medicinal, but were also not boring (as some definitely were). The few people I got to try a half dozen or so bars during my experiment seemed to agree. Our unrefined palates enjoyed smooth textured, chocolate flavored chocolate.

                                                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                                                          2. On different occasions I've had brown juice straight up: blended Scotch whisky, single-malt Scotch, Irish whiskey, Canadian whisky, Sour Mash, Bourbon, and Rye.

                                                                                                                                                                            I've wanted to do some kind of comparison taste test, maybe compare several bourbons and sour mash whiskeys, to see if I can detect the differences.

                                                                                                                                                                            But I'm kinda thinking that with distilled spirits, after a while your taste buds are going to burn out, so the taste test has to be short and selective. You can't ask the bartender to line up twenty different shots of brown juice and realistically expect to be able to compare them.

                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: GraydonCarter

                                                                                                                                                                              I see you're in Rahway. If you wanted to drive down to Philly and stay the night (recommended given the nature of this tasting):
                                                                                                                                                                              http://www.phillymag.com/whiskeyfest/...

                                                                                                                                                                              They have this every November--I attended 2 years ago and was really impressed. And the actual distillers are probably better sources of information than your bartender ;) (Oh, and take very small tastes . . .you'd be suprised at how quickly 20 of them add up--as I said, book a hotel room nearby).

                                                                                                                                                                              Not just browns either--found my favorite rye-based vodka here as well.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. THE TASTE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ORGANIC VS. CONVENTIONALLY RAISED CHICKEN can be detected in a blind test because it comes NOT from chickens running around cage-free eating organic feed, but rather as a result of flavor enhancers used to mask the smell and taste changes caused by the growth hormones and antibiotics used in conventionally produced chicken.

                                                                                                                                                                              It used to take 9 months and 9 pounds of feed to raise a fryer. Now with the use of growth hormones a chicken can be ready for market in 6 months on 6 pounds of feed. But chickens carry leukosis (tumor causing viral infection) and the growth hormones cause the turmors to develop rapidly, so the birds are dosed with antibiotics to combat the leukosis. When heated, as in cooking, the antibiotics have a distinct smell, so the birds are then injected with a garlic based "flavor enhancer" to mask the chemical odor of the drugs. Therefore in a blind taste test the organic or "natural/no added hormones or antibiotics" chicken does taste very different than a bird containing hormones and antibiotics and therefore "flavor enhancers".

                                                                                                                                                                              BTW, the growth hormones used to rapidly mature poultry and animals can also accelerate tumor growth in humans. It is also believed to be the primary reason for the current increase of early onset puberty in American girls and boys (average age of beginning menstruation has dropped from 13 to 11 years old), and for the rise of sterility in American males.

                                                                                                                                                                              If you wish to avoid ingesting growth hormones in your poultry, meats, milk and dairy products (dairy cows given the growth hormones can suffer udder infection called mastitis) you don't need to buy only organic, you can buy "natural - no added hormones or antibiotics".

                                                                                                                                                                              Also, if you do buy conventionally produced chickens, buy WHOLE chickens and cook them yourself. When the birds are processed at slaughter, those without detectable tumors are left whole while birds with manifested tumors must be cut up in order to remove the tumors (which are used in pet foods - "chicken by products") and those birds are sold as pieces i.e. breasts, thighs etc. Restaurants typically buy low grade chicken pieces because in the preparation, any taste or smell from the drugs or flavor enhancers is usually masked by seasonings, sauces, coatings, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ski_gpsy

                                                                                                                                                                                I lost my taste for supermarket chicken years ago.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ski_gpsy

                                                                                                                                                                                  I don't know what country you live in but in the US, steroid growth hormones are not approved of for poultry in the US:

                                                                                                                                                                                  http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/N...

                                                                                                                                                                                  "No steroid hormones are approved for use in poultry."

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                    *I've gotten into double posting on 2 different threads with relation to this subject. Here is a response to a statement similar to yours regarding no FDA approved hormones for poultry.

                                                                                                                                                                                    The June 2010 conference of the American Society of Clinical Oncology addressing findings on the effects of dietary estrogens in chicken, beef and pork on individuals with hormone dependent cancers noted that;
                                                                                                                                                                                    "Some may find the study results surprising with respect to chicken since currently there are no hormones approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for poultry. However, estrogen may be introduced in the form of soy protein and animal protein meal in chicken feed and possibly other sources. Based on the available evidence, breast cancer patients, survivors and those at high risk should consider avoiding beef and pork and limit their poultry consumption to organically grown birds..."

                                                                                                                                                                                    While you are correct that there are no FDA "approved" hormones for chicken, poultry feed containing "animal protein meal" or by-products made from animals that WERE given growth hormone can be used in poultry production. The practice is in the opinion of many, a sneaky way around for the segment of the industry that wants to use steroids to pump up their birds, and their profits. Which is why poultry in the United States that does not contain added hormones is labeled "NO HORMONES ADDED" even though technically there are no "approved" growth hormones for poultry.