Food Fright, Part 15

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 5:31 pm

I was strolling through my local QFC when I spied this:


I screeched (“scruch”?) to a halt in the aisle, unable to truly convince myself of what I had just seen.

I mean, sure, I’m aware that Starbucks makes a number of non-coffee drinks under the Frappuccino label; I myself am not above the occasional Venti Green Tea, no whip. But this, in my opinion, is a stroke of genius. The good folks at America’s—hell, probably the world’s—most widely-recognized gourmet coffee chain are charging Yuppies 6 bucks a 4-pack for Strawberry Quik. What a riot.

Naturally, the next thing that came to mind was a taste test.

I was fortunate in that I happen to live with two “uncontaminated” test subjects: neither Margaret nor Shawn had ever tasted either Strawberries & Créme Frappuccino (no surprise there) nor Strawberry Quik (huge surprise to me. I mean, Margaret maybe—hell, she’s never even set lips on a Twinkie—but Shawn? I would have thought his Mama had raised him poorer than that 😉 ).


I set up each participant with two glasses, made from a special wavelength-adjusted optical blue glass to hide the minor color differences between the two samples (okay, so the four clean glasses in the cupboard happened to be blue). The Starbucks product has a slightly darker cast to it than the Quik, presumably to connote a more natural, fruit-based ancestry than the Hello-Kitty-backpack-pink Nestle stuff, and I didn’t want either of them to take their cues from the color. The blue glass masked the colors quite nicely.

I started our subjects off with Sample A, code named, for the purposes of this procedure, “Gossamer”. Results were unambiguous.


Both Margaret and Shawn felt that Gossamer’s primary flavor signature was that of sweetener, most likely corn syrup, with other, slightly astringent artificial flavors lurking just beneath the surface. Any relationship to fruit was purely coincidental.


Both agreed the flavor resembled that of milk left over from the consumption of some strawberry-flavored children’s cereal. They also agreed that it was completely nasty.

By comparison, Sample B—code named “Platycore”—was a real breath of fresh air. Though by no means a strawberry smoothie, Platycore lacked much of the overwhelming sweetness, gag-inducing artificial flavorings and chemical tang of its table mate. While neither test subject felt they would find themselves picking up a sixer of either beverage any time this side of the Apocalypse, the vote was unanimous: it was Platycore by a landslide.

Of course, we can all see it coming, can’t we? Sample A was the gourmet créme concoction from the internationally acknowledged gourmet coffee chain, Sample B was the radioactive sugar sludge fed to prediabetic children by their soap-opera-watching white-trash moms. And at 9.9 cents per fluid ounce compared to Starbuck’s 15.7, Strawberry Nesquik’s not only better-tasting, it’s a bargain to boot. It’s so deliciously funny, it’s—it’s Strawberry Nesquik deliciously funny!

After the reveal, Shawn had a great idea: drag his kid out of bed and have her taste test the stuff as well. After all, half of this stuff is being pimped directly to children in her age bracket; shouldn’t her demographic be represented in the study?


Truth be told, Anastatia wasn’t hugely fond of either beverage (when asked what she thought she was drinking, she ventured that the stuff smelled like strawberry GoGurt). Upon further sampling and reflection, she proclaimed the Frappuccino to be the winner.


It seems like the ultimate irony of this experiment that the adult test subjects picked the child-oriented drink as being the more natural, sophisticated—in other words, “adult”—beverage, while the only child participant in the experiment displayed a strong preference for the beverage intened for the adult market. Who knows? Certainly Anastatia is an extremely prodigious youngster, and none of the three of us adults can honestly lay claim to the description “mature”. Perhaps this wasn’t the ideal batch of test subjects for this experiment. Was pretty fun, though. 😉

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