Tuesday, September 16, 2014

How Bad Can It Go? Emergen-C

I've decided I'm going to try doing a series of food / drink experiments. I'm calling it "How Bad Can It Go" because I like to tempt fate, and because it's kind of my default mode of operation. Because I decided to do this while I was at work, and being of a very impatient constitution, I had to find something immediately accessible to use as my first experiment. That something ended up being a packet of Emergen-C that came into my possession as part of a "care package" that one of our vendors sent us all in preparation for our busy season. Yes, they send us some random stuff. I don't ask, I just squirrel the random stuff away for occasions like this.


So, if you're not familiar with the Emergen-C product, you can Google it, but the basic gist is that it's a powder loaded with vitamins and other good shit. It comes in a cute little .3 oz packet that you're meant to rip open, dump into 4-6oz of water, let fizz for a minute or so (the fizzing is a big selling point to me, not gonna lie), then imbibe and thus refresh your body with wonderful goodness. Or something. The packet does say that it's a dietary supplement, and it does point out that it contains "24 Nutrients with 7 B Vitamins, Antioxidants and Electrolytes", but it does not actually claim anything else, like "gives you energy", or "makes your hair curl", or "cures the common cold". Because it doesn't actually claim to DO...anything...(well, aside from fizz!), it doesn't really open itself up to a whole lot of criticism on the "does this shit really work" side of things...which is by design, I'm sure.

Since there's no way to judge the product on efficacy (because who really knows if that rush of 1000mg of vitamin C actually did anything for me or not. My vitamin C meter feels..fuller, maybe?), that leaves me with only taste to judge.

Funnily enough this, I feel, is where Emergen-C has some issues.

My packet was the "Super Orange" flavor. The ingredients include "natural orange flavor" and "orange juice powder", so I was certainly expecting something orange-y. Pouring the powder out into my cup, I got a weak waft of a Tang-like fragrance. I added about 6oz of water, and to my delight, the mixture started to fizz immediately! I love fizz. Unfortunately, the fizzing stopped after about two seconds. Bummer. I also noticed that while the powder was dissolving, the color of the drink changed from palest orange to, again, a very Tang-like bright unnatural orange. The color seemed to be encapsulated in bigger particles in the otherwise super-fine powder, because they kept floating to the top and kind of popping / disbursing. It was all marginally interesting to watch (more interesting than the accounting I should have been doing, anyway).

Once the powder had dissolved, I gave the drink a sniff. It still smelled like weak Tang. Which...if you drank Tang as a child, you understand the utter depressing nature of weak-assed Tang. It's just...ugh. So much promise, and so little delivery.

Anyway - so finally I screwed up the tits to taste the drink. It tasted like an unholy mixture of heavily watered down orange Gatorade and citric acid (which, surprise, was the second ingredient on the list - and if you've never tasted straight citric acid, it tastes like the coating on Sour Patch Kids or other super-sour candies. It's like, punch-you-in-the-jaw sour), with a strong background chalkiness akin to Alka Selzter (so possibly the fizzing agent is to blame?). It was unpleasant, certainly...but not unbearable. I could envision knocking a cup of it back if I for some reason felt desperately deficient of vitamin C or B vitamins, or more likely if I was the type who really got a lot out of the placebo effect.

As an aside, there was far less fizziness to the drink than I was hoping there would be, which was a disappointment. Somehow, despite the lack of fizziness, the drink has been causing me to have intermittent Tang-scented burps for the last 20 minutes. Go figure.

So, there you go. Thus concludes my first "How Bad Can It Go" experiment. If there's anything you'd like to see me try out and rant about, feel free to leave a comment here or on the OneGirlCooks Facebook page. I will consider all suggestions (within reason. I am not eating poop. Or brains. Or bugs, OMG).