The news you've been waiting to shove in front of your "foodie" friends' faces is finally here: Bull. Shit.
Need proof? Look no further than the awesome trick a bunch of Dutch pranksters pulled at the annual food convention in Houten, the Netherlands. They gave pre-eminent food experts the cuisine of — you guessed it — McDonald's. And here's now they responded:
"Tasty." "Very rich." "Rolls around the tongue nicely, if it were wine I'd say it's fine."
As it turns out, all you need to fool some of the most discriminating palates in the world is an expensive-looking tray, some toothpicks and a good pitch — in this case, claiming the fare came from an expensive new organic food line:
"It's good. The structure is good. Yes. Not too sticky," one man says. Another woman remarks on how delicious the melon is, calling it "moist." With total sincerity, one man proclaims that the nuggets taste "like fish. Reminds me of cod."
The humiliation didn't end there: The pranksters told their victims to compare the faux-organic samples with actual McDonald's. "I like it, it's pure," says one well-dressed attendee. "It's just a pure, organic product and that makes it very tasty."
That's embarrassing. This isn't the first time pranksters have tricked connoisseurs of fine products into swilling crap and giving it platinum reviews. An experiment run by California winery owner Robert Hudson found that panels of judges selected by the organizers of the California State Fair couldn't even identify when they were being given the same wine repeatedly. Later, he found that wine awards were distributed more or less randomly. From the Guardian:
Hodgson's findings have stunned the wine industry. Over the years he has shown again and again that even trained, professional palates are terrible at judging wine.
"The results are disturbing," says Hodgson from the Fieldbrook Winery in Humboldt County, described by its owner as a rural paradise. "Only about 10% of judges are consistent, and those judges who were consistent one year were ordinary the next year.
"Chance has a great deal to do with the awards that wines win."
Jimmy Kimmel similarly found that the average consumer is incapable of identifying which cup of coffee was brewed from Starbuck's super-premium $40-a-pound "Costa Rica Finca Palmilera" and some of the cheapest beans he could find.
In a related prank, fake chef Keith Guerke was similarly able to lie his way into five separate morning shows while promoting his nonexistent book Leftovers: Right (though to their credit, the anchors seemed to catch on by the end of the segments):
To be fair, many of these people might just be being polite. But a 2006 survey by the American Association of Wine Economists found that most average people can't distinguish paté from dog food. Foodies themselves likely comprise an uncomfortable slice of the dog food fans.
Basically, the fancy-food industry sits on a throne of lies and the emperor has no taste buds. The next time you go out to eat, remember you're paying as much for the presentation, atmosphere, service and maybe even the prestige of the establishment as you are the food itself. You might even enjoy your meal more.