Let Happy Help You Go Flavor Trippin’
Miracle fruit has been on my bucket list for a while, and I finally gave it a try. It’s a berry from Africa that contains miraculin, a chemical that temporarily reprograms your palate to perceive sour as sweet. I was not able to get my hands on real miracle fruit, but I did buy miraculin tablets, made from the pulp of miracle fruit.
The brand I selected is called Miracle Frooties.A package of ten organic tablets cost about $16. One for you, one for me, and some for friends.
Miraculin is sometimes prescribed for diabetics and chemotherapy patients – one who craves sweets, the other who cannot taste anything – as a way to modify or enhance their diet. So it’s actually a real thing that has uses beyond “flavor tripping” parties. For our purposes, Frooties are for playtime.
Pop one tablet and let it dissolve on your tongue, giving it time to bind to your taste buds. Chewing a tablet or swallowing it whole will not work. A Frootie tastes vaguely like the rind of a watermelon. After a few minutes, you’re ready to eat. Expect the sensation to last for one or two hours.
The first thing I tried was a wedge of lemon. Like any rational human being, I braced myself for the puckering and shivering. And then the most delicious thing happened in my mouth. I definitely tasted the lemon, but it was sweet and good! Better than lemonade. To say it tasted like candy is not accurate, because there is no syrupy sweetness involved, and no artificial after-taste Limes were just as mouth-watering and surreal. This is fruit the way Willy Wonka intended it to be.
Cocoa powder and coffee beans did not become sweet, but the bitterness was completely subtracted. Cream cheese, as you might guess, tastes like cheesecake. Mundane things became exciting! For the first time ever, those uniformly shaped, flavorless strawberries from California are transformed into a thing that should be celebrated. Like wild berries picked on Jesus’s farm in Heaven. It’s a revelation.
I made shrimp with cocktail sauce. The shrimp flavor was there, though not in a gross way, but the cocktail sauce stole the show. I mowed through a serving of cocktail sauce with crackers, as if eating a chilled candy soup. To this day I crave it.
The biggest highlight, for me, was a gin martini. I added a squirt of lemon to it before shaking and pouring, and it was freaking REDONKULOUS. Very much like a Lemon Drop cocktail, but better because there is no sweetener involved and the complexities of gin are enhanced. I wouldn’t want a martini this sweet very often, but it was a hell of a kick and they ran dry far too soon.
Moving on through alcohol tasting, as Happy would anticipate, Frooties do not make booze immediately sweet. Cognac, whiskey and scotch did not taste like bonbons. What happens is that miraculin removes the burn of alcohol. If you don’t have a palate for liquor served neat, pop a Frootie and you’ll be able to sip like a pro. This is going to require that you act like a pro and make the effort to use some restraint, because everything you drink will go down way, way too easily. Do the world a favor and hide these tablets from any teenagers going to prom this month, unless they’ve got a ride.
Be realistic too – don’t consume entire lemons and limes while on Frooties. Frooties are not a protective shield against citrus burn. As much as I wanted to finish my lemon in peace, I held back and saved my taste buds for salted peanuts (like honey roasted), and cucumbers (honeydew melon). Oh, and vinegar! My God. Cider vinegar is all about being apple cider.
Can you imagine what Frooties could do for the worst wine in the world? I’ll bring the cocktail sauce and crackers, and you can bring whatever costs $2 plus ice. We party.