Can you tell by taste?

Can you tell the difference between liver pate and dog food…by taste?

Now I must confess that I did this once with my brother at a party when we were teenagers…basically we fed dog food with crackers and cheese to party goers by dressing it up to look like pate in a bowl. It worked, and we had great fun…until they found out…then we ran.

But it turns out that most people can’t tell…by taste:

It turns out most people won’t notice the difference between paté and dog food, so long as the latter is suitably presented with the right sort of garnish. And as for our ability to discriminate wine, even experts may confuse a white wine with a red when it is served at room temperature in a dark glass. And we’ll enjoy soggy old potato chips, it turns out, if our chewing is accompanied (over head phones) by the satisfying sound of crunching. …

Context matters, and so do our attitudes and expectations.

My dad used to say that Chinese food tastes better with chop sticks. And he was right. Not because he was snob, or deluded, but because he appreciated that enjoying the food is wrapped up with a way of thinking about it, handling it, chewing it. We can discriminate dog food and paté, red wine and white, holding hands with someone we love and holding hands with a stranger. But what we are discriminating, when we do this, is not neural events in the mouth or hand, but what we are doing.


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    Did the same with an Irvines mince pie(family size)once.Gutted the filling,and replaced it with jellimeat.Fed it to a mate.Said it was the best one he ever had.Still has not forgiven me.

    • Anonymous

       Ewwwww……. jellimeat!  Revolting stuff. I don’t have pets of my own, but when I was at home and fed the family cat I used to gag at the bloody awful stink of jellimeat.


        Must be similar to irvines pie filling,cause he did not pick it.Helps that it was heated first.

  • Could not agree more “Context matters, and so do our attitudes and expectations.”

    Back in the 70’s we camped at Kaiteriteri (when you could still sleep on the beach without arrest) we bought some chelsea herbal tea at the local camp dairy and sold it to some sons of “wankers” from Christchurch. They thought we were real cool hippies and pestered us for ages for some “weed”. They allegedly got high (LOL) and said it was the best dope they’d ever had…..

  • Brian Smaller

    I had a flatmate who once dished us up a curry and rice. We scoffed the lot including seconds  (he had already eaten apparently). Then he sprung it on us that it was casserole style dog food. You know – it was not that bad:)

  • Blokeintakapuna

    That’s why Winston’s supporters smell like pet food – and stale urine – but that’s another matter entirely…

  • Lofty

    There are those who do not know the difference between shit & chewed dates of course, without going into whom.

  • Hey Jude

    My husband once did that exact same thing years ago at a party at his flat. Not one person noticed and they gobbled it up. He always put it down to the fact they were pretty drunk at the time.

    •  They might have been listening to Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” too…..

  • Steve P

    Probably not a good idea to give people dog food deliberately. Many years ago I had a holiday job at a bacon and small-goods factory. All the rotten meat that came back from the supermarkets because the vacuum sealing had failed was tossed into the dog-roll machine.