One of the qualifying questions to be selected to participate in this test was a positive answer to, "Would you be willing to be blindfolded and wear a nose clip during the test?" That didn't come into play in part one, but it did today:
The way things went down today was that I sat at a table instead of in a cubicle like last time, once again I tasted 12 samples of sour cream with a two-minute period between samples, and once again I was encouraged to take a sip of water and a bite of a cracker to clear my "pallet" between samples.
Yes, I'm at it again pointing out the wrong spelling of the word. It's what I do. And it is still wrong. And as a complete bitchy aside, I think it's kind of important for people in food science to know how to spell the word palate. It's part of their nomenclature. Pallet vs. Palette vs. Palate.
Let's see. Where was I?
The server approached me from behind and said, "Please put on your blindfold and nose clip now."
Once it was on, I could hear her put the pan down with the sample on it, and in a couple of seconds, she would stick a spoon in my hand. Only one time—which I thought was pretty good—did I stick the spoon into my chin instead of into my mouth.
After handing her back the spoon, I took off the blindfold to answer three questions, but I had to leave the nose clip on until they were answered. They were the same three questions they asked in part one:
- Rate the creaminess of the sample with a scale from "Not creamy at all" to "Exceedingly creamy."
- Considering everything about the sample how much did you like the sample?
- Rate how much you like the creaminess of the sample with a scale from "Not creamy enough" to "Way too creamy."
Once those three questions were answered about the sample, the next screen directed the removal of the nose clip.
Thoughts and observations about the blindfold and the nose clip
- For the first sample, I put on the blindfold first, and then I put on the nose clip. This made my nose hard to find.
- For the second sample, I reversed the order, which worked much better.
- At about the 5th sample, I started just sliding the blindfold up onto my forehead between samples. Process improvement.
- Originally, I clipped the nose clip vertically onto my nose.
- After about the third sample, I looked around, and the participant to my left had her nose clip on horizontally. I wondered if mine being vertical made me look gay.
- For the next sample, I tried it horizontally, but I actually liked it better vertically, so I went back to that from then on. I thought, "I might look gay, but she looks like a platypus."
Thoughts and observations about the samples and the questions
- I gave the same answer to the second and third question for all 12 samples. For question #2, about how you liked it overall, I indicated, "Neither liked nor disliked," and for question #3 about how much I liked the creaminess, I answered, "Just about the right creaminess," as I don't care how creamy (or not) sour cream is. I suppose if it had chunks in it, I wouldn't like that, but that wasn't ever the case.
- I was pretty sure that you can't taste things if you don't have your sense of smell, which is exactly what happened. This is why I couldn't say if I liked it or disliked it, because I couldn't taste it.
- It was very strange that, even though it had been 30 seconds to a minute since the sour cream was in my mouth, when I took the nose clip off, in 1-2 seconds I could taste the sour cream that used to be in my mouth.
My biggest concern when it was all said and done was, "Did putting that blindfold on and off mess up my hair?"
So, I'll let you be the judge: "Is my hair messed up?"
Obviously, I took this picture blindfolded. Not only couldn't I see the camera, but even if I could have seen it, I had to face it with the display away from me. Imagine my amazement when I looked at this one and only picture expecting to see it off-centered, with various parts of my face cut off.
Since I might get called back for part three of the test, I just had had to give feedback to someone about that misspelling. I told someone who seemed like she might be in charge that they have the wrong spelling of "palate" in all of their materials. She didn't seem to care enough herself, so I added, "Would you please pass that on for me?"
And, finally, today's compensation for participation in part two:
Go to Part III (of III) of the Taste Test.