The O-town Scene

May 10, 2012

The O-town Scene - Oneonta, NY

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 17 of 31

Old garden hose. Weirdly fishy. Take a panel of seven foodies and ply them with with exotic versions of popular American snacks from around the world, and these are the reactions you get. Tentative nibbles and scrunched noses. The taste testers gathered recently at the headquarters of The Associated Press in New York and represented varying levels of culinary pedigree. Could 'Grilled Meat' Chips Be Popular in the U.S.? NEW YORK (AP) — Chocolate dog food. Varieties of Drunken Experience By Will Oremus writer of Slate's Explainer At least six teens have reportedly turned up in Los Angeles-area emergency rooms in recent months after imbibing hand sanitizer. Would getting smashed on 120-proof Purell feel any different than getting equally intoxi- cated on wine, beer, or tequila? Maybe. Ethyl alcohol is ethyl alcohol whether it's fermented from grapes, barley, or agave. (The stuff in hand sanitizer tends to be either synthetic or fermented from corn.) There's no evidence to support the popular theory that different types of alcohol tend to incite different moods while drunk. Red wine may not lead to frivolity, or whiskey to violence, but it's possible that the nonalco- holic ingredients in a particular beverage could alter other symptoms of inebriation or hangover. About 8 percent of the population is allergic to something in red wine, for example, and those who are experience coldlike symptoms or severe headaches after drinking it. Those ill effects have long been blamed on sulfites, but recent research suggests the main culprit may be organic compounds called glycoproteins, which share traits with allergens found in fruits, nuts and latex. protect the stomach lining from damage dur- ing a bout of drinking. Mostly, though, these compounds are bad news. A recent study supported the theory that the particular byproducts of fermenta- tion in each kind of booze can play a role in the severity of hangovers. Subjects in a controlled experiment were given either bourbon or vodka (masked with a cola mixer) one night and a nonalcoholic pla- cebo another night. The bourbon drinkers woke up feeling slightly worse, on average, than the vodka drinkers, though the differ- ence was much smaller than the difference between those who drank alcohol and those who drank the placebo. They included food bloggers, famed French pastry chef Jacques Torres and Marilyn Hag- gerty, an 85-year-old North Dakota newspa- per columnist whose high praise of the Olive Garden went viral earlier this year. A New York fourth-grader and self-proclaimed junk food aficionado rounded out the group. The spread of international snacks didn't consist of any barbecue-flavored Lay's chips or black-and-white Oreo cookies. Instead, the menu included "Forest Mushroom" and "Grilled Meat" Lay's from Russia, fruity Oreos from China and lemon-pepper flavored Tang drink from Saudi Arabia. The reactions were mixed. Haggerty, who said she never met a potato chip she didn't like, struggled to find some- thing nice to say about the Lay's from Russia. She thought that the "Pickled Cucumber" chips tasted like an "old garden hose." Her verdict on the "Red Caviar" chips was a tad more positive. Packages of Nabisco Oreo's and wafers. Associated Press lover whose culinary resume includes acting as a body double for TV chef Bobby Flay. Novich thought that the chocolate Cheetos tasted like Cookie Crisp cereal. But Shelasky, the magazine blogger, thought they could pass for doggie treats. "If I didn't have anything else I'd like these," Haggerty said, noting a weirdly fishy after taste. She took several more bites just to make sure. The mixer matters too: Researchers have found that drinks made with diet cola are more likely to produce drunken vomiting than those made with regular cola. Hand- sanitizer, for its part, contains mostly alcohol and water, so fermentation byproducts are unlikely to be an issue. The main concern is simply the high con- centration of alcohol, which makes it easy to get drunk quickly. Hard alcohol can also contain various types and amounts of toxins in addition to their alcohol content, including acetone, furfural and polyphenols. A few, including the butanol found in whiskey, might actually 18 O-Town Scene May 10, 2012 What about the folk wisdom that it's a bad idea to mix your alcohols, or that beer before liquor makes you sicker than drink- ing liquor before beer? Again, there's no evidence for these rules of thumb, assuming your overall alcohol intake is the same. Robert Gwyther of the Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies at the University of North Carolina and Damaris Rohsenow of Brown University. Meanwhile, Alyssa Shelasky, a New York magazine food blogger, declared the "Crab" chips to be "food poisoning." "It actually smells like mushroom and it tastes a little bit like mushroom," Torres said. "It's surprising." Torres also noted that flavors like "Grilled Meat" and "Red Caviar" were cooked up specifically for Russians, whose tastes differ dramatically from Americans. So to better gauge the authenticity, he suggested that the AP provide real caviar the next time around for comparison's sake. Pastry king Torres gave his seal of approval to the "Forest Mushroom" chips, which got the best reviews overall. Most of the fruit-flavored Oreos from Asia were a bit too bizarre for the taste testers. Clay Williams, who writes for the blog, said flavors such as "Raspberry-Blueberry" and "Mango-Orange" came across as too fake and processed. "People who love Oreos want the purity of an Oreo," Shelasky agreed. "Purists love Oreos because they're not complicated. It's black, it's white and you dip it in milk. It always tastes the same for your entire life." When it came to Tang, panelists were at first skeptical about exotic flavors like "Lemon- Pepper" from Saudi Arabia. But they were relieved when they didn't detect any pepper after a couple sips. Everyone agreed that it tasted like lemonade, so much so that they thought the flavor could do well in the United States — with one little tweak. "This one I think would sell if you took away the pepper shaker on the cover," said Jocelyn Noveck, a national writer for the AP who sometimes writes about food. "No one in America is going to buy it with that on it." "Tamarind" Tang from Mexico was another favorite. Williams of liked the tropical-fruit flavored drink so much that he said he'd go looking for it next time he's at a Latin grocery store. As for the sweeter treats, everyone thought the chocolate, cream-filled Cheetos from Rus- sia would do well with kids around the globe. The chocolate-smeared mouth of fourth-grad- er Bob Marley Jones showed that he agreed. So did Jeff Novich, a 32-year-old junk food Although panelists said they wouldn't buy most of the items, they agreed that the flavors could be fun at a party. Novich, the junk-food junkie, said he'd serve the fruity Oreos twisted open so guests could see the bright pink, blue and orange cream centers. Bob Marley Jones, the 8-year-old, added: "You would like to see the look on the other people's faces when they walk in and they see grilled meat chips. That would be fun."

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of The O-town Scene - May 10, 2012