|Totally Not Blueberries|
I was really enjoying my blueberries. Shoving fistful after fistful into my mouth, when I had a thought, what exactly do blueberries taste like? They don't taste like a regular berry with that phenoly-clove flavor. They don't taste blue. Neither part of the fruit's name is helpful, I was left solely to the guidance of my tastebuds.
Which, with another birthday on the near horizon are not quite what they used to be. I have come to believe my taste was at its pinnacle between ages 35-38 – still young enough to be useful and well trained enough to be more accurate than a CSI lab. As I age, I find salt, acid and spicy are the 3 components of flavor that get my tastebuds excited. Not so amazing Thai and Vietnamese food are my favorites these days.
So even if I'm at a point in my life where subtitles are lost on my tastebuds, I'm not sure it's me. A survey of coworkers found that no one quite knew how to describe them. Kiwi was the best answer. And that makes sense – kiwis are essentially a commercial breed of Chinese gooseberries. Gooseberries are berries – kinda, they are botanically a currant, but it's flavor we are talking about – this is how wine can be described across a spectrum of flavors – grassy, blackberry, floral, cherry, oaky yet grapes are obviously not grass, flowers, berries, cherries although wine does spend time in oak.
I did extensive taste testing and the nice thing about blueberries not having a very specific flavor is that after all the pints I put away, I never got sick of blueberries. The flavors/taste – the skin is astringent, slightly bitter, the flesh sweet, an undetermined sweet, it's easier to identify beet sugar than it is to pick up the blueberry-centric sweetness. There is a nice pop when you chew and a slight melon-kiwi aftertaste.
Other than that nothing really. Then I started to think about the things I like blueberries with – lemon curd in blintzes, with yogurt, and in the bottom of a lemon drop – like an olive and a martini. And before you start to speculate that lemon drops aren't a cocktail fitting a man, I would argue it's the perfect combination of sweet and sour and vodka before I would ever argue that I'm not much of a man.
So here is my conundrum – blueberries don't have a very distinct flavor. I like the fruit best when they are mixed with other highly acidic sweet food (yogurt, although unsweetened in my house, is very high in lactic sugars), foods that could be argued overwhelm whatever natural blueberry taste there is. So why do I like blueberries as much as I do?
I want answers people.