Saturday, 24 November 2012

When blue is red.

I still find myself drawn to those brightly coloured sweets that lie on the shelves in supermarkets, garages and newsagents across the land. Those sweets whose colours betrayed their flavour before you ate them. The bright green, lime; the yellow, banana; the purple, blackcurrant. These are the sweets of my childhood, the ones that left your tongue stained with whatever chemicals the manufacturers added to obtain that distinctive look.

Then came the day when these artificial colours were vilified for creating hyperactivity in children. Certain coloured sweets were withdrawn until the manufacturers were utterly convinced that all traces of these chemicals had been removed from their products. Some drinks popular back in the day are now not found on the shelves of the local grocery store having not survived the artificial colour purge.

I think it's interesting that people are so against the idea that a colour manufactured in a chemistry lab is so much worse than an identical compound that has been purified from a natural source. Cochineal for instance, a natural colour, is extracted from the crushed shells of the Cochineal beetle. Sounds delicious...

There are still certain foods out there that we eat that are brightly coloured.

Take sweet and sour sauce from the cheaper end of the Chinese take away as an example. It comes in a polystyrene cup a thick, gelatinous, viscous liquid, a deep orange or red colour, clear, yet so deeply coloured the bottom of the cup cannot be seen. This sauce is ready for pouring on your balls; usually chicken or pork, and in some cases onto the special fried rice as well. According to my reading this sauce was designed to disguise the taste and apoearance of poor meat and pineapple chunks, which it does well. Just think what that colour does to your insides!

Today I had one of those brightly coloured foods that seem to play havoc with your senses. An anomaly that we all recognise but may well have forgotten.

A blue slushy drink.

Here is my drink.

A cold sweet beverage, not my usual choice and especially not on a cold, wet and windy November day but forgive me I was in a nostalgic mood.

The blue slushy, raspberry in flavour. Raspberry, that's right.

Upon swallowing the first big mouthful of a blue slushy, just after the daggers of cold stab into the small of your back and just before the first ice head feeling, that question, "How is a raspberry tasting drink blue?" pops into my mind?

Is it simply because red has already been taken by strawberry and dark red is cherry? According to the unsubstantiated google search this is actually the reason.

Bright blue and raspberry. Brilliant. It tasted just as I remembered and it stained my tongue blue...but just in case you were wondering my urine was unchanged.


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