I got a job! And a girlfriend!
Just joshing around. I still don’t have a full-time job yet (this blog has rendered me unemployable), and my girlfriend is still my right hand. For some reason you guys really like it when I’m miserable and barely scraping by, because I go to my secret dark place and think about how to destroy the only thing I love, which is food writing.
You’d think my secret dark place would be my closet, but it’s actually the trunk of my car. It doesn’t have an inner release latch, so I actually spent a week in there with your mother by accident. We were playing a game called Taken 4: Bad Parenting, where I was Liam Neeson’s daughter and your mother was Liam Neeson. We finally got out when my neighbors reported a “foul smell” coming from the back of my 2001 Honda. I learned that your mother smells exactly like a rotting corpse when she hasn’t showered for more than an hour. The cops didn’t find it too funny because I was covered in blood.
Anyway, that was the best introduction I’ve ever written. I’m even better at eulogies, if you can believe it.
This week, I’ve decided to conduct a scientific experiment, because I don’t get to ruin food science for you guys very often.
By the way, everyone, please welcome Charlie the monkey to today’s post. Charlie is Donald Trump’s long lost brother who lives on my nightstand. He is also an old friend of Harvey and Mr. Bee. He enjoys swinging in trees, staring off into space, and schedule 1 narcotics. Charlie is today’s guest so please be nice.
I’ve had these little reddish-pink tablets for a while now, and while you might imagine they are your mother’s herpes medication, they are actually called miracle berry tablets.
Miracle berries are one of the most interesting things you can ingest, because they have a very peculiar effect.
Miracle berries contain a substance called miraculin (real creative name, scientists), which is a glycoprotein that binds to the sweet receptors on your tongue.
Miraculin is still a little mysterious, so people aren’t exactly sure how it works yet. But the idea is that when you swirl miracle berries all over your tongue, miraculin binds to the sweet receptors on your tastebuds. When you eat something acidic, it triggers the sweet receptors, making anything sour or acidic taste like pure sugar.
To put it more simply: When you eat miracle berries, sour tastes sweet!
Fresh miracle berries spoil quickly, so people have found a way to dry them out and put them into dissolvable tablets.
Rather than swallow them whole like a suburban housewife chasing Xanax with white wine, you need to let them dissolve in your mouth. There’s no perceptible buzz or sensation; the raisin-cranberry-like tablets are just a little chalky and a touch sweet in and of themselves. I’ve experimented with miracle berry tablets using regular food, like lemons, limes, and vinegar, all which become delightfully candylike in sweetness — it’s quite entertaining. Some numbnuts decided to call this “flavor tripping,” but that name sounds like something made up by a person who’s never actually abused drugs properly.
But then I thought to myself, “Dannis Ree, you have done the conventional experiment of eating regular things while flavor tripping. What barely edible garbage can you put in your mouth that might taste even worse once you’ve blocked your sour tastebuds?”
Turns out, bitches, there’s a whole lot.
I visited the neighborhood grocery store along with the pet store to see which kinds of “food” I could experiment with for today’s post.
I purchased canned sauerkraut juice (oh my God), orange juice, beef and lobster dog food, sex lube (actually leftover from another taste test), creamed pickled herring, stomach relief medicine, and mouthwash.
I sat looking over my bounty while swirling the miracle berry tablet all over my tongue. I did not feel very good about myself or my life at that moment, but that’s how I knew this would be an important day for science.
I decided to go in balls deep with my first item, and I ripped into the sauerkraut juice.
Please note that this stuff is called “Kraut Juice,” so I basically tried a product with an antiquated unintentionally racist name. Why does this stuff exist? I picture an old Eastern European grandmother raising a glass of it every morning, looking at it sparkling in the sun, and then pouring it all over her own head. I have a really interesting imagination.
Man, it’s difficult to get over the aroma, which is musty, sour, and vaguely fart-like. I do not recommend drinking sauerkraut juice by itself, even when abusing miracle berry tablets. The acid simply does not go away, even though sour flavors are supposed to be cockblocked by the miracle berries. The fermented cabbage water is definitely sweetened by the miraculin, but has sweet sauerkraut juice ever been a good idea? The back of the can suggests you mix it with tomato juice for a drink, but whoever made that recipe is probably more brain damaged than me.
Verdict: Seven thumbs down.
Next up was an Oreo cookie dunked into orange juice.
I can see some of you shuddering when you read that last sentence. I’m a culinary kamikaze. Do not follow in my footsteps.
But was it disgusting? To my surprise, miracle berried Oreos in orange juice are actually really good! Imagine having a creamsicle dipped in chocolate and that’s pretty much what you get. The orange juice is intensely sweet, and the cream in the Oreo almost has a dairy flavor to it. It’s all delicious in an insanely sugary stupid way that shouldn’t work whatsoever. Normally the sugar in the Oreo would render the orange juice undrinkable, but I think I’ve discovered something truly amazing. Fuck you, culinary science, Dannis Ree wins this round.
Verdict: Fifteen dongs at full attention.
I decided to pop open the clam juice next.
Clam juice. Clam juice. Clam juice. Or, as my immigrant parents pronounce it, “cram juice.”
I’m no stranger to clam juice, mostly because I bottle your mother’s straight from the tap. But now and then I use it to make seafood soups, risottos, or even savory bloody marys that taste just like your mother. It’s not something you gulp down like Gatorade, but I don’t know why I’m telling you this. None of you drink clam juice unless it’s date night.
Room temperature clam juice straight from the bottle smells like water with a bunch of dried shrimp or anchovies in it. I don’t know what I was expecting when I drank it. It’s not like there’s any sour acidic flavors that come out of shellfish that would have been improved by miraculin. What I’m trying to say is that nothing good happened to the drink. I’m just stupid. I might as well have mainlined some miracle berries and drank pond water filtered through soiled diapers.
Verdict: I’m an idiot.
For my next taste test, I tried this really weird dog food puree that was made from beef and lobster by a company called Simply Nourish™ Accents.
I suppose this is like surf and turf for dogs, but let’s not bring up surf and turf dinners again. I can’t believe I decided to eat more dog food. Why the hell do I keep doing this to myself? To recap, in case you missed it, I’ve already drank dog beer (and made beer cheese from it), and I’ve also eaten a shitload of dog treats. Self-hatred is a hell of a thing.
Anyway, do not eat dog food. All dog food has no added salt in it, and this product has the texture of pureed chili with gritty bits of lobster shell. It looks like a regurgitated expensive dinner and also tastes like a regurgitated expensive dinner. I know you guys think I do this kind of stuff for shock, but that’s not true. I actually do it out of purely childish curiosity. I wonder what everything tastes like. Bleach, masking tape, small diaphanous rocks, poo, I just wonder about anything even remotely edible.
Verdict: One giant dog boner pointing downward while being dragged through cow manure.
My fifth miracle berry taste test was this leftover sex lube I had from a piece I did for The Onion’s A.V. Club, which you can read here.
The stuff was bad to begin with. It already tastes like cough syrup, but with miracle berries, it’s somehow more bitter than it is in its unadulterated form. Miracle berries usually mitigate bitter flavors, but somehow, the bitter medicinal quality is actually amplified, which I didn’t think was actually possible. I thought its saccharine sweetness would be amplified, but I was totally wrong.
Verdict: One sad Dannis Ree, staring at the floor, knowing he would only be using this lube on himself in the furnace room, enveloped by perfect darkness.
Did you think I was finished with eating seafood with miracle berries?
Well, you’re wrong, Penis McGee, because I decided on some creamed pickled herring. Nothing screams food boner more than pickled fish in sour cream. Whatever, I actually like the stuff by itself. It’s not as bad as it sounds if you’ve never had it. Altered creamed fish is really, really, sweet, and it leaves a chalky texture in your mouth afterwards from the dairy. Because pickled herring has been soaked in vinegar, the miraculin makes the fish taste like it’s been cured in nothing but sugar.
Verdict: I’ve come to the conclusion that I will do just about anything for no good reason.
Since I knew I wasn’t going to be feeling particularly well after this taste test, I bought generic cherry-flavored Pepto-Bismol.
At this point I felt horrible. I still feel horrible now, hours later. I took the liquid medicine like a champion in one big gulp and found out that it tastes like artificial cotton candy after you’ve had miracle berries. Usually my mouth is left with a metallic flavor after I’ve had Pepto-Bismol, but its miraculin-altered aftertaste is fairly pleasant. While bismuth subsalicylate may relieve an upset stomach, it does not raise self-esteem.
Verdict: This blog will never win a James Beard Award.
Finally, I decided to rinse my mouth out with some mouthwash.
Guess what? It tastes like mouthwash. I sipped on it thoughtfully and felt the menthol burn a hole through my esophagus. Nothing would take the taste of idiot out of my mouth.
Verdict: Whatever. This was dumb.
Well, this experiment was ill-conceived, just like every other decision I’ve ever made, and I wasn’t even drunk (until I finished the whole bottle of mouthwash). I drank racist sauerkraut juice, ate a whole Oreo cookie dipped in orange juice, gulped clam juice, choked down beef and lobster dog food, sampled red licorice motion lotion, followed that up with creamed herring, pounded knockoff Pepto-Bismol, and imbibed mentholated alcohol. I did it all for science. If you could even call it that.
If you guys are curious about trying miracle berry tablets yourself, I used the mberry Miracle Fruit Tablets that I got off of Amazon. It’s actually a really fun experience. A few nervous friends of mine have expressed concern that miracle berries might be an actual drug that messes you up, but they aren’t. The effects last for about 20 minutes in my experience (up to an hour for some folks), but if you eat a lot of things it wears off much more quickly.
Just promise me you’ll have normal food. Let’s pinky swear.
Okay. Now I trust you.
15 comments for “The Flavor Tripping Experiment Gone Wrong”