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  • Michael Krakovskiy 4:37 pm on September 18, 2005 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: acceptable food, , , Coca cola, Coca-Cola C2, , , , , kobe, Mexican Coke, myth-shrouded beverage, , , , , , , , , ,   

    The Taste of the Old New Coke 

    Let me start with one of my favorite quotes from The Matrix:

    Tank: Here you go, buddy; “Breakfast of Champions.”
    Mouse: If you close your eyes, it almost feels like you’re eating runny eggs.
    Apoc: Yeah, or a bowl of snot.
    Mouse: Do you know what it really reminds me of? Tasty Wheat. Did you ever eat Tasty Wheat?
    Switch: No, but technically, neither did you.
    Mouse: That’s exactly my point. Exactly. Because you have to wonder: how do the machines know what Tasty Wheat tasted like? Maybe they got it wrong. Maybe what I think Tasty Wheat tasted like actually tasted like oatmeal, or tuna fish. That makes you wonder about a lot of things. You take chicken, for example: maybe they couldn’t figure out what to make chicken taste like, which is why chicken tastes like everything.”

    There are certain things that you should really taste at least once, but are usually hard to get a hold of to taste, like let’s say top quality caviar, or kobe beef, Peter Luger’s steaks . Other things, like oysters, haggis, Gray Papaya and Nathans hot dogs, high quality sashimi and other notable foods, that might be hard to obtain everywhere, but are still more or less affordable. There are whole lists of “things to try at least once” out there.

    Then there’s a category of items that were eaten in the olden times, but are not considered acceptable food anymore: whale meat, horse meat and other intelligent and/or exotic animal meats. I’ve had whale steaks back in the day, whale meat was widely available in the Soviet Union, as well as horse sausage. Since I ate a lot of hot dogs , I am sure I had my share of cats, dogs and pigeons.

    And of course, there are commercial drinks with formulations that are not made anymore. The first Coca Cola (the one with cocaine), Starbucks Tazo Blended Drinks, Incredibly and Sharkleberry Fin Kool-aid (as well as many other discontinued flavors.)

    I was always especially interested in one soft drink that I never got a chance to taste: the “New Coke.” The myth-shrouded beverage seemed to be out of reach for me, until thanks to the twin wonders that are packrats and eBay, I got my own unopened can or genuine New Coke. That’s a reason for the new installment of Gastronomic Adventures, of course.

    I chilled the $10+shipping can of soda and photographed it in all its glory. Look, just look at it!

    I was expecting the can, that is at least 13 years old (in 1992 New Coke was renamed Coke II) to be completely devoid of carbonation. I was ready for a foul smell, discolored soda, etc. To my surprise, the carbonation was mostly normal and the coke smelled just fine.

    I kind of knew what to expect — in theory New Coke has the same formulation as Diet Coke, except with sugar instead of aspartame, and should taste similarly to Diet Coke With Splenda. I knew that New Coke was supposed to be sweeter than Coca Cola Classic.

    Of course, taste tests are a tricky thing. I am pretty sure I would have a lot of trouble telling Pepsi from Coke from Mexican Coke (the one in glass bottles and sweetened with cane sugar) from Diet Coke (if it’s with ice).

    In any case, decade old New Coke _did_ taste a bit like Diet Coke With Splenda. It was not as sweet as I expected, and had that weird little aftertaste that I always associated with the Splenda Coke. I think in Diet Coke it’s masked by the aspartame and in Classic by higher acidity.

    I seem to have not suffered any stomach upset or anything of that matter. Upsettingly I did not acquire any noticeable superpowers, except the ability to say that I’ve tasted the New Coke.

    P.S. Does anybody know how to obtain some surströmming online or in New York?

    P.P.S. I Know about hufu. I think it’s a hoax.

     
  • Michael Krakovskiy 12:16 pm on August 8, 2004 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Coca cola, , , , , Moxie, , , , , , ,   

    Glass or Plastic? 

    Why, glass, of course. I hate soda sold in plastic bottles. Hate it, hate it, hate it.

    Here in New York in many restaurants you can find Coke and rarely Pepsi in glass bottles.  Yes, Coke in the original bottle shaped like the cacao tree seed pod instead of the coca seed. They are made in Mexico, I think found out the reason why they taste much better than the plastic bottled ones:
    “She told me that they were bottled in Mexico and I nodded since I already knew that and said, “I think it is because they use real sugar.”
    She shook her head, “No, no, not the sugar. It’s the water.”
    She leaned in like she was telling me a secret, “Mexican water is the BEST water in the entire world.”
    Just then a smaller woman leaned in beside her grinning with a single eyebrow raised and whispered.
    “It’s MAGIC water!”

    Apparently it is not Montezuma’s revenge that assails unsuspecting tourists, but the magic waters that sour in the bellies of the unimaginative, somewhere South of the border.”

    Remember I mentioned Pepsy Crystal?  People called it second New Coke, but I actually liked it. Well, these days it’s a bit more expensive – single can sells for $20-25 on eBay. Overall “coca cola unopened” and “pepsi unopened” bring back very interesting results.

    Apparently they still make Moxie and Diet Moxie. Yep, the drink that gave us a word for “ability to face difficulty with spirit and courage“.

     
  • Michael Krakovskiy 11:39 am on August 8, 2004 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Carbonated water, Coca cola, , , , , , , Soda syphon, , , , Tarhun,   

    Syphon Filter 

    One of the chores that I had to do weekly when I was little was refilling two large soda syphons in a little kiosk a few blocks away from where we lived in Odessa.  You can still buy a soda syphon today, but these are crummy tiny cartridge operated ones.  Mine were big metal units that were refilled by what was probably a hundred year old machine operated by a cantankerous old dude or his equally cantankerous wife. 

    In the kiosk they also sold soda by the glass, adding syrup from a very interesting dispenser that operated on the same principle as a titration buret. The choice of syrups was the same as in soda vending machines.

    Once, on a trip to Kiev, my father took me to an amazing giant shop that sold soda. They had a whole forest of those syrup dispensers, all different. The place was operated since before the revolution of 1917 (a huge rarity in the Soviet Union). I remember trying the most delicious tarragon flavored soda.

    Actually a very delicious bottled tarragon soda was also sold in the Soviet Union under the brand name “Tarhun”.

    Soviet soda was sold in glass bottles with crescent shaped labels. For some weird reason Pepsi was sometimes made available in different bottles with square labels. I’ve never seen a Soviet Coke bottle, but apparently they existed :

    I had my first taste of Coke in Moscow in the late eighties in a theater’s concession stand. 

    The label above and the ones below are from the site of some dude who has an amazing collection of Soviet soda labels. he sells them at $2.50 a pop. I think I’ll buy some. Oooh, these bring back a lot of memories.

    One of the neighborhood grocery stores here in Brooklyn once stocked very interesting plastic seltzer bottles from Brazil (I think) that operated as siphons. Iv’e never seen ones like that since.

     
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