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Chris Magyar

There's Way Too Much Banana In This Banana Pudding

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Flavor overload always freaks me out. I understand how things can go faster, or get taller, or get louder, but I don't understand how a flavor can taste more. I mean, our sense of taste is regulated by our brain, pretty much, right? So some flavors get on our tongue and all up in our sinus cavities and into our nostrils, and the taste buds and olfactory epithelium diligently record the sensations, send them up the nerve pipes, and then, depending on mood and sensory exposure and time of day and probably hormones (because I was raised to believe that all physical and mental experiences are really just hormones), the brain goes, "Flavor!" And then it gives the flavor a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down or a message-board 'meh' or activates some mad gag reflex, yo.

So you've had bananas, probably from a very early age, back when your brain was going "goo goo ga ga make shit cry nap mom." This banana flavor, it's locked in. Your brain is ready to recognize banana at the drop of a hat, and it even has "pure banana" input with ID 1 in the flavors_fruits table of its brainy SQL database, so you'd think there could be no permutation of banana that would surprise your brain. Banana flavor is like the nice guy standing in the middle of your yard in broad daylight talking to you normally who, in a casual voice, and with plenty of warning, says "boo." Would that scare you? (Well, maybe if the guy was a mailman with a beard, but I digress into a place of personal darkness.) Brains should be basically immune to banana scares, is what I'm saying.

Then what the hell was in that pudding? Sure, it must have been some artificial chemical compound made to mimic banana, but this wasn't one of those "that almost tastes like banana, but gross" situations, like flavored dentist toothpaste or Tang. This was actual banana flavor somehow turned up to 11, like a banana blitzkrieg rolling banana tanks over my tongue and shooting banana cannons at the back of my throat. Each small bite of the pudding tasted like it contained six thousand bananas compressed into some sort of impossibly dense dwarf star and then reconstituted into pudding powder. 

There was, in my life, a previous setting for "maximum banana," and that setting was calibrated to "one actual banana." So how can a bite of pudding exceed that amount of banana flavor? How is that possible? I know I'm repeating myself over and over again, dear readers, but it's been three weeks since I had this pudding and it's still blowing my mind

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