Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The 7 Saltines in a Minute Challenge

Since the beginning of time there has been a task so daunting, so complex, so arduous that no one has ever been able to accomplish it.  The 4 minute mile?  No.  Solving California's budget deficit?  Nah.  I speak, of course, about the Saltine Cracker Challenge.  As Wikipedia states, "Although the challenge sounds easy, it is actually very difficult, because the crackers quickly exhaust the saliva in one's mouth. Even though six saltines can fit in one's mouth all at the same time, and a minute is plenty of time to chew, the resulting mess of crumbs resists swallowing. One is not allowed to use any external liquid to aid in mastication."

Longtime friend of Greg's Gourmet and creator of Josh in Japan, Josh went up against this challenge to prove all of the naysayers wrong.  While we managed to keep most of the press out of the event, one camera manged to record the entire attempt at history.  The results are simply amazing:

Yeah, the results weren't all that shocking, but still - it's a lot harder than it seems.  

Also for your enjoyment:

A half flat of strawberries for $6.99

As mentioned in the Gourmet Chronicle section, strawberries are my favorite food.  The way to pick out the perfect group of strawberries at the store is to check their scent.  If you put a box of strawberries to your nose and you can't smell anything then chances are the berries aren't going to be as good as they can be.  They may be okay, but for the real flavorful ones you want to pick up a scent.  Even if the scented berries are beginning to look overripe and the a box of really big ones look perfect; the ones with the scent are the ones that are most likely to taste better.

If using them for cooking, be sure to slice off the entire stem, don't just pull it with your fingers.  Believe me - rarely do you ever cleanly pull the whole stem out with your fingers.  By cutting it cleanly off you get rid of it at once as well as taking away the top of the berry, which is generally the least flavorful and sometimes last part of the berry to fully ripe.  The bottom of the berry, the part you bite into, sometimes isn't fully ripe as well.  While those aren't my first boxes of choice, if you cut the unripe part off the berry can still be pretty good.

As you can see in the above box, a lot of those berries were fully ripe and a few were beginning to become overripe.  But their scent was so strong and the berries in the smaller boxes (which looked much prettier by the way) had absolutely no smell.  These things were delicious and lasted about a week.  And for $6.99??  I don't know what's better; the taste or the value.

Thanks for reading!