How would you do in a blind taste testing? The sensory-deprivation (no sight or sound) taste testing during Hell's Kitchen (um, a cooking competition show I enjoy) is one of my favorite challenges. I'm not sure how well I'd do blind-folded, sound canceling head-phones on, being spoon-fed unknown substances, but when OYT and The Engineer wanted “real maple syrup”, I thought I'd see how tuned their palates were.
Perfect pitch refers to the ability to hear a musical note and identify what it is. “Hmm...that feedback is an A-sharp”. Or if you're trying out for choir and they say, “Sing a high-C” can you do it? (I for one cannot. I can tell you if you did it wrong, but I cannot carry a tune if you put it in the basket, strapped the basket to my back, and then gave me a jet-pack...yet I'm cursed with the ability to hear my LACK of ability, and that of others. But I digress...) The Engineer has what I, in my word-nerd mathematical-analogy-ridden brain have come to refer as a perfect-pitch palate.
He can taste a dish at a restaurant and tell you what spices were used, then replicate the dish at home fairly accurately. He doesn't do this nearly enough, and not in a long time, but it's an amazing skill, and again, one I do not have. I can follow a recipe. Very well. But I still need to know what's in it.
I decided that when I put the $11.99 syrup (for 12 ounces) in my cart, instead of the $2.99 version (for 24 ounces) that I would put them to the test to see if it was worth 8x as much. (See! Useful math!) (Which I will explain at the end of the post for you unfortunate souls who got stuck with bad math teachers...)
I put a little bit of each kind on spoons (we had some of the cheap stuff still left at home). They made the mistake of tasting with their eyes first. One kind was very thick and rich looking, the other lighter and runnier. They both declared the cheap, high fructose corn syrup laden artificially flavored syrup much better. Creamier, fruitier flavor, much more pleasant than the slightly woody, thinner stuff.
They were not happy when they realized I had fooled them. OYT, ever the trying-to-please child, said, “Well thanks for the special treat, Mom, but you don't have to buy it again.” And put the cheap stuff on two out of three waffles. The Engineer decided to have eggs instead.
How perfect is your palate? Do you buy real maple syrup? Am I a cruel mom? Do tell...
P.S One way to solve the problem is to make both syrup bottles the same size, so the 12 oz for $12 becomes 24 ounces for $24 dollars (double the size, double the price). Now you can compare $24 for 24 ounces versus $3 for 24 ounces. 3X8=24. It's 8 times as expensive.