Sunday, August 27, 2006

Stick out your tongue and say "Yum!"

So, I'm one of those lucky people who, when asked what they do for a living, actually has something fun to talk about. My official career is a freelance writer for magazines and newspapers. I write about health, food and travel, and I just love doing it. I'm very fortunate. But I've also got my cool side job as a taste tester for Cadbury Schweppes, maker of such fine products as Dr Pepper, 7 Up, Snapple and all sorts of other labels. When I first saw the ad in the paper, I thought, "Oh my God! Cadbury Creme Eggs!" Alas, the chocolate tasting is done in England and the gum division is in New Jersey. We work on beverages and apple sauce. But the training we went through was really rigorous but fun and it's given new dimension to my personal candy tasting hobby. We did some fun tasting experiments with candy. Like what, you ask? (I'm not giving away any trade secrets here, I assure you.) Well, take a peppermint TicTac. That initial flavor you taste is not mint but in fact a marshmallowy vanillan flavor. It's that first moment of flavor that I love the most in Tic Tacs.
Then there's the test to demonstrate how much a part your sense of smell plays in the whole taste game. Plug your nose and have someone put a Lifesaver on your tongue. Bet you can't tell the flavor. Now release your nose. You'll be able to tell right away if it's peppermint or spear-o-mint, lime or orange. Fun!

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