Thursday, August 16, 2007

Let's get baked (part 1)

In one of my earlier posts here in Salamanca, I made some rather disparaging remarks about the quality of Spanish baked goods (the phrase "silica gel" was used as a reference comparison, for instance). Upon mature reflection, and because I had a little time on my hands (by the time I made up my mind to go see "Ratatouille", it had already gotten too late), I decided that such snap judgements are not in keeping with the fair and balanced tone to which this blog aspires. So, just now, right here in the delightful kitchen in the Don Quijote piso de lujo, I mounted an impromptu "Operation eSpanish baked goods", in an effort to get a better handle on this thorny, but important question. In the spirit of truthiness in reporting, I now share with you the results.

Materials and Methods:

In the local supermarket "El Arból", two separate types of baked goods were purchased, each at the higher end of the price scale, thereby allowing maximum opportunity to score highly on the Culinary Institute of America's baked good deliciousness index (CIA-BGDI). The CIA-BGDI is a comprehensive, internationally accepted, statistically validated (Kronbach's alpha = 0.82) scoring scheme which rates baked goods on several orthogonal factors such as appearance, palatability, "mouthfeel", desiccation quotient, among others (all identified by the latest factor analytic methods).

The products selected for testing were the following.

SUPER brand magdalenas rellenas de mermeleda de albaricoque (M):

Operation Baked Goods 1

Bizcocho con frutas, from la Panadería de "El Arból" (B)

Operation Baked Goods 2

Readers are asked to excuse the amateur quality of the photos shown here: locating an experienced food wrangler was beyond the budget of this study.

Limited resources dictated use of an N=1 design; however, standard experimental design methods were implemented to maximize the integrity of study results. Specifically, tasting was conducted in a manner which balanced across product sequence, with each sequence (MB and BM) being used once. Further replication was deemed potentially injurious to the participant's health.

Participating subject in the N=1 design was a healthy, 50-year old Irish male, deemed sufficiently acclimated to the vagaries of eSpanish diet by virtue of 5 months' residence on the Iberian peninsula. Copious supplies of mineral water were on hand, in case of SDS (sudden desiccation syndrome) onset, and as a palate cleanser between tasting sequences.

Unfortunately, results of this pioneering study will have to wait until the next post, as the study subject/principal investigator has homework to do. Tune in tomorrow, for the exciting conclusion. The results may shock you!

1 comment:

bilby said...

The green bits are dessicated fern picked from mammoth hooves. Surely.