So... we ate Miracle Berries.
I know that sounds like I'm either a druggie or a hippie, but I swear I'm not.
Miracle Berries are this crazy fruit from West Africa. They're bright red, have a large pit in them, and taste a bit like a weak grape. So why eat them? Because they have a protein in them called miraculin (seriously) that binds to the sour receptors on your tongue and makes sour things taste sweet for half an hour.
When I read about these, I had to have them. My friends and I pooled together and ordered 20 of them from Curtis Mozie, a miracle berry grower and farmer in Florida. They weren't cheap - about $65 for the order which was shipped overnight to keep them fresh.
We arrived at Central Market and went totally nuts. Lemons, limes, grapefruit, kumquats, rhubarb, raspberries, varigated pink lemons, mayer lemons, and granny smith apples were all corralled in our shopping carts.
I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical. How could it be that this is the ONE food that alters your taste? It seemed ridiculous, but people on the internet raved about them. And you know... if people on the internet like it, it must be great.
We cut up all the fruit into bite sized pieces and ceremoniously ate our berries at the same time. We glanced at each other as if to say, "you feel anything?"
We didn't. They tasted like almost nothing. Not unpleasant, but no real flavor of their own. As I spit out the pit and swallowed the fruit the aftertaste tasted mildly sweet.
Everyone reached excitedly for a lemon slice, with peel still attached, and chomped down. Almost simultaneously everyone said the same thing :
It was amazing. We could eat lemons without so much as wincing - they tasted like sweet lemonade. Limes were amazing. The apples tasted about the same. Raspberries, kumquats, and mayer lemons tasted like candy. Rhubarb tasted like apples. I wasn't too impressed with it until I tried some after the berries wore off. Totally inedible. Grapefruit was delicious and I don't even like grapefruit.
The effect didn't quite last half an hour. Maybe fifteen or twenty minutes of voracious eating. Eating two at once didn't change anything.
All in all... pretty neat.