Saturday, December 20, 2008

Adulterated tastes

I prefer wine red and dry, vodka straight, steak almost bleeding with barely  any salt and pepper, beer dark and strong, coffee with no cream or sugar,  and oatmeal without any added flavors. These are merely personal preferences and there's nothing significant about anyone else disagreeing, but sometimes I wonder what the varying motivations are.

  1. Fusion can be good. Having a latte just isn't the same as drinking coffee and then milk.
  2. Some mixes are overtly functional. Mixed drinks become more popular during prohibition as a method for masking low quality liquor, and to this day college students can drink cheap alcohol thanks to coke and orange juice. Bloody Marys are a lot easier to hold down the morning after than even high quality vodka, plus they're a healthier breakfast!  Low-quality coffee, at an office or gas station (but hopefully not in a coffee drinker's own kitchen),   purchased merely for the caffiene can be improved by adding cream or sugar.
  3. Signalling something about oneself in a way that isn't pleasant for its own sake may be facilitated by something along the lines of the previous point. Somebody with no particular interest in steak, may still want to order a steak because of the connotations that go along with it. Cooking it and covering it with steak sauce until the flavor and texture distinct to the steak are lost removes all of the potential downside. Due to some cultural taboos relating to drugs, even legal ones, someone with a caffiene addiction who doesn't enjoy the taste of coffee may continue to consume it and mask its taste, rather than take caffiene pills. 
This line of inquiry isn't limited to foods and beverages, those are just the easiest groups to write about. 

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