Odd Pet News

A few interesting articles, all related to pets, in the news:


Taking the Bitter With The Sweet

The New York Times today has a very interesting article on a little berry called the Miracle Fruit. This is a berry, synsepalum dulcificum, native to West Africa, that creates an interesting reaction on the tongue: it contains a protein called miraculin that binds with the taste buds and acts as a sweetness inducer when it comes in contact with acids. In short: it makes anything taste sweet. You pop it in your mouth and scrape the pulp off the seed, swirl it around and hold it in your mouth for about a minute. You then eat various non-sweet foods for the different tastes. According those those that have tried it, it makes Tabasco sauce taste like donut glaze, lemon sorbet like a chocolate shake, limes were candied, vinegar resembled apple juice, goat cheese tasted like cheesecake on the tongue and goat cheese on the throat. Bananas were just bananas.

The berry is highly perishable and expensive (about $2 each). A freezer pack of 30 berries costs $90. Evidently, a party experience is being developed where people pay $15 a head to try the berry and all sorts of different fruits, sharing their experiences.

I guess you could try to grow your own, although it takes multiple years to come to maturity.

It actually sounds fascinating, and I’d love to see the effect of the fruit. My favorite exchange in the article was the following, however:

One woman wanted to see Mr. Aliquo [the party’s host] eat a berry before she tried one. “What, you don’t trust me?” he said.

She replied, “Well, I just met you.”

Another guest said, “But you met him on the Internet, so it’s safe.”