Happy New Year to everyone! Hopefully 2014 won’t be a filler episode for you like 2013 was for many. Personally, 2013 was half a wonderful year & half miserable. It was wonderful since I finally graduated, met Josh–an amazing & hilarious individual I call my boyfriend–& I got to spend more time with some of my closest, but busiest, friends. Yet, it was miserable because if I wasn’t happy, I was stressed or depressed in some shape or form trying to organize the next decade of my life. If I wasn’t somehow masterfully disappointing myself, someone else would disappoint me instead.
I’ve never really enjoyed New Year’s & this year was no exception. Josh flew back home to Florida to spend time with his family. Despite being 3 hours ahead, he stayed up until it was 12 AM in California to Skype me even though his eyes were obviously growing heavy with sleep. Had I tried to keep him up any longer, he’d probably be snoring in the middle of my story telling! He didn’t want me to be alone, but my house was completely void of human life except my own. He was really sweet & it was the perk of the week especially since I was recovering from a 72 hour migraine & the cough I had, developed into a fever. I’ve been practically bedridden for a week, so I haven’t been able to study very much either.
Nevertheless, I’m using my break time from studying to post up my very first Blind Taste Test featuring corn puffs, ketchup, poptarts, & tea. I conducted a BTT with my roommate–who’d like to remain anonymous–Miss MOA (Michelle Obama Arms) & her friend David. Afterward, MOA tested our roommate Yuri & me with the same products. The results were pretty interesting!
Like science experiments, you need some sort of control test. I had the testers identify two spices–smoked paprika & cinnamon–to test their ability to differentiate between the spices. We used frozen grapes to cleanse their palate after each test.
Cinnamon » Both testers accurately identified cinnamon.
Smoked Paprika » David was able to tell that the spice had a “smokey” component, but didn’t know its name & MOA correctly identified that it was paprika.
MOA later conducted a Blind Taste Test with Yuri & me & had us identify pumpkin pie spice blend & cinnamon, which were very similar in flavor.
Cinnamon » Both of us correctly identified cinnamon.
Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend » Yuri thought it was a variation of cinnamon & I correctly identified the spice blend.
Pirate’s Booty vs. Trader Joe’s Corn Puffs
One of MOA’s favorite snacks involve fluffy corn puffs seasoned with cheddar called Pirate’s Booty. If you’ve never had them, they’re equivalent to eating clouds of cheddar. MOA snacks on it so often that she was absolutely positive that she’d be able to differentiate between the two brands. David had never had either brand before so his perspective was indeed, completely unbiased & blind!
Better Product Overall
While all of us agreed that both the products were very good, Pirate’s Booty was the overall champion with a 3 to 1 vote. What can I say? I love Trader Joe’s products! Everyone agreed that the cheddar balance was great in both, but TJ’s Corn Puffs had a stronger cheddar character.
Everyone correctly identified the difference between the brands, even David who had never had either!
Fluffier vs. Crunchier
After pretty much eating the entire sample, all 4 of us concluded the same thing: Pirate’s Booty is fluffier, TJ’s Corn Puffs are crunchier.
TJ’s Corn Puffs are a good substitute for Pirate’s Booty if you can’t find any at your local grocery store, but Pirate’s Booty reigns supreme. TJ’s Corn Puffs also comes in sour cream & onion while Pirate’s Booty is solely white cheddar.
Pop-Tarts vs. Trader Joe’s Toaster Pastries
When MOA isn’t eating a lean cuisine or Pirate’s Booty, she can be spotted near the microwave oven waiting for her strawberry Pop-Tart to warm. It’s her breakfast, lunch, dinner, & middle of the night snack of choice, so I wanted to see if she would equally enjoy TJ’s version too.
We had 2 Trader Joe’s Toaster Pastries flavors–Cherry Pomegranate & Strawberry–& 1 strawberry Pop-Tart.
Yuri & I both thought the cherry pomegranate flavor from TJ’s had the best flavor. David preferred TJ’s strawberry while MOA preferred the strawberry Pop-Tart.
While David, MOA, & Yuri correctly identified the strawberry Pop-Tart from TJ’s version, I thought the opposite. In my defense, I can’t remember the last time I had a Pop-Tart! Everyone agreed that TJ’s versions tasted much healthier.
Strawberry » Everyone identified the strawberry flavors in both brands.
Cherry Pomegranate » David thought it tasted like apple cinnamon, while MOA & Yuri said it tasted like blueberry. I knew it was cherry pomegranate since I bought it & thought it tasted like cherries mixed with pomegranate.
David & MOA both thought that the sugar balance in TJ’s toaster pastries were better & also thought they tasted healthier. I thought TJ’s strawberry toaster pastry was so incredibly sweet that I thought it had to be a Pop-Tart. It was so tart to me that I just thought it was awful. Meanwhile, Yuri thought the sugar balance was fine in all of them.
Pop-Tarts reign supreme in the strawberry kingdom, but TJ’s Cherry Pomegranate flavor is a good substitute. Both brands have many different flavors. My personal favorite is TJ’s seasonal pumpkin flavor. While Pop-Tarts really aren’t as bad for as you might think they are, TJ’s version is organic & less in sugar & calories.
Check back soon for the second half of Blind Taste Test, Part 1 featuring tea & ketchup! I’m hoping to conduct a Part 2 soon with eggs & soup. Give me some suggestions you’d think would be interesting to test. I value your input!