Thursday, November 30, 2006

The All-Soda Thanksgiving Dinner: No Thanks

I'm a big fan of Jones soda. They make crazy flavors, they put customers' photos on the bottles—I feel like they're good people. So naturally I was enticed by the Jones Holiday Pack. In case you're not familiar, the flavors include Turkey & Gravy, Pea, Dinner Roll, Sweet Potato, and Antacid. This Saturday, after I had eaten the traditional Thanksgiving dinner both Thursday and Friday nights (thanks, Melanie and Chase!), I gathered a duo of guinea pigs (thanks, Anita and Sean!) for what I was hoping would be the First Annual All-Soda Thanksgiving Dinner. We begin with the main course.

Turkey & Gravy
This suspiciously murky soda contains not only sucralose, but also something called saib. I always thought that this was the name that colonial Indians called their English overlords. It is actually, says this study, SAIB, an acronym for...
Sucrose Acetate Isobutyrate...has been used for over 30 years in many countries as a 'weighting' or 'density-adjusting' agent in non-alcoholic carbonated and non-carbonated beverages...
Also, the third ingredient is salt, but the soda tasted nothing like turkey OR gravy. What did it taste like? Our distinguished panel came up with "salty," "mint?" "the ocean off Santa Monica pier," and "tuna in olive oil." After a few bemused sips each, we poured about half the bottle down the drain, hoping that, as with many Thanksgiving dinners, the side dishes would save the day.

Dinner Roll
Again, the name and the taste failed to match up. Although it looks like champagne, Dinner Roll "smells like soap" and tastes like either "movie theater butter," "skim milk," "yeast," or "white lifesavers." And again we poured out about half the bottle, praying that the soda gods would reward our sacrifice by making Pea the best vegetable soda ever.

Well, maybe not so much "pea" as "crackers,"sweet and salty," or "chemical-ly." Oh, and it "looks like a bog." Another half-bottle down the drain.

Sweet Potato
Far and away the best of the bunch! From its striking golden color to its taste, which was likened to "butterscotch candy with a touch of earthiness" and (gasp!) "sweet potato," Sweet Potato was an oasis in a desert of awful, even if there was a suspicious layer of oil floating on top of it. Sean and I actually had second tastes, and damn near finished the bottle.

Okay, I get the joke, and I appreciate it on an intellectual level. But if we're getting intellectual, then I have to ask why would you make a soda that, if it succeeds in tasting like what it's supposed to, has a taste that most people associate with wanting to barf? Anyway, antacid was "minty," "chalky," "medicinal," and made Anita say, "I feel like I'm not supposed to swallow it."

And that was that. The First And Only All-Soda Thanksgiving Dinner.

After a dinner that consisted of the liquid form of food that is usually solid, Sean figured we should have a solid form of something that is usually liquid, so he made a red wine pie. Sean, like Jones Soda, gets an A for creativity...and something in the F- range for actual taste. But I encourage both Sean and Jones to keep experimenting, and I thank them for an experience that I am glad I had—and am equally glad that I never have to have again.

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