There are a few food-related questions that I prefer not to ask for fear of being judged and permanently banished to the frozen goods aisle of a supermarket where foodie frenemies Sarah Lee and Betty hold court. Many of these questions involve imitation vanilla extract, pudding mix, a couple of sticks of buttery spread and mockolate, with a handful of giant, rock-hard fruits from Argentina thrown in for good measure. It's not that I like these things or use/buy/eat them, but they're modern day conveniences that I have a lot of questions about; these frankenfoods simultaneously frighten and intrigue me. For the same reason, I'm also curious about the world of flavor science - how does one decide what the essence of any one natural food tastes like? Obviously, it's not a simple task, as so many artificially fruit-flavored foods and drinks are really poor imitations of the real thing. Some are easier to recreate than others, I imagine, but the most difficult and most often disappointing has got to be watermelon. How can a crisp, lightly sweet, cucumber-esque summer melon in any way resemble the tangy, cloyingly sugar-heavy watermelon-flavored candies that occupy the largest tract of artificial watermelon-flavored real estate? It's a question I've had since the first time I gingerly popped a Jolly Rancher into my mouth.
Thanks to Amy at Playing House, I no longer have to keep my watermelon quandaries to myself...in fact, I'm spreading the word and blogging about it: "watermelon flavor" sort of accurately portrays real watermelon. She conducted a gutsy experiment with her new dehydrator, putting fresh watermelon to the test. Not only did it work, but the result was "almost like a chip. A bit softer in places, and a bit chewy in places, but mostly crisp, in a good way. The flavor reminded me of watermelon Jolly Ranchers or other fake watermelon-y candy."
There you have it. Now, any bloggers out there feel like experimenting with pistachio pudding mix? (I'm joking...or am I?...)