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June 12, 2009

Bucky does the yogurt test

Pumpkin%20pie%201.JPGThis is guest poster Bucky's idea of a fair test. Bucky, no human being would like unsweetened yogurt on pumpkin pie. The idea alone makes me gag. To be fair, I want you to cut up a ripe nectarine and mix it with a quarter cup of blueberries. Put the Fage yogurt on top of that, and I guarantee you'll like it. Here's Bucky. EL

So, last week Elizabeth piqued my interest (and that of PBC Rob, Bourbon Girl and Stacy) with her comparison of Fage yogurt to whipped cream.  I like whipped cream — the real stuff, not Cool Whip or the kind that squirts out of a can. (Although the kind that squirts out of a can is fun, in its own way, and that’s a point in its favor.) ...

I’ve already reported in the comments that I didn’t think Fage yogurt tasted like whipped cream.  But to provide an independent assessment from someone who knows what "that yogurt taste" actually is, I went by the bakery last Sunday and picked up a pumpkin pie.  When we finished dinner, I told Mrs. Bucky to go on down to the family room and I would get us dessert.
I fixed us each a slice of pumpkin pie, complete with “whipped cream” (which was, in fact, Fage Total 2% plain yogurt) while Mrs. Bucky settled into the big, green La-Z-Boy and turned on “I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here."
Ha ha ha…she didn’t turn that on, of course.  “I’m a Celebrity…”  isn’t on Sunday nights.  She turned on the Lakers-Magic game.
No, really, she did.  I married well.  Kaikala has four brothers, all of them accomplished athletes in their day, and she learned all about sports early in life. That’s one of the things that attracted me to her in the first place. 
I handed Kaikala her slice of pie.  The Magic got a turnover and started a fast break.  Without taking her eyes off the game, she took a little dab of “whipped cream” on her fork and then took the point off the slice of pie and put both in her mouth.
One of the other things that attracted me to Kai — the very first night I met her — was the cute way she wrinkles up her nose and squints her eyes when she tastes something she doesn’t like.
“What is THAT???” she asked, with VERY squinty eyes.  “Yogurt? Why on earth would you put yogurt on my pie?”
Myth: Busted.  Fage yogurt tastes like yogurt.
Posted by Elizabeth Large at 2:17 PM | | Comments (37)


I've been waiting and waiting for this report. I didn't really see how yogurt could taste like whipped cream.

(The GrandBoys like to have Redi-Whip squirted directly into their moths.)

Moth torture. Someone call PETA.

Fage. Gak.

I was at the Washington Food & Wine Festival last weekend and stopped by the Fage booth because of all the chatter here. I think it has a mouth feel of whipped cream and that is it. Yogurt is tart and whipped cream isn't. I actually took a picture of the Fage booth wondering if I should send it to Elizabeth.

I have to agree with Mrs. Bucky: why on earth would you put yogurt on a pie?

Fage, or Greek yogurt if you prefer, isn't really like yogurt, though it tastes more like yogurt than whipped cream, both of which I dislike. What Fage reminds me of is something I had in France called fromage blanc. I have yet to figure out if they are actually the same thing or just similar, but one thing's for sure: I adored fromage blanc and I adore Fage. Mix it with fruit, with a dollop of preserves, or with a spoon of sugar (And after this last, then perhaps you can get away with putting it on top of pumpkin pie. Though I doubt it.).

I still maintain that Fage isn't worth the extra buck a pop. Plain ole Dannon strained through a coffee filter is the same thing! I swear I could do a blind taste test and say that it's the same. La Misma.

Es la verdad!

Oh, yeah (he says, hitting his forehead with the palm of his hand)...fromage blanc...that's what it tastes like.

Hi Abigail! Good to hear from you!

Great post Bucky, and good job. You got an experienced yogurt eater to try it and now we know.

I bought some of the 0% Fage yesterday. I'm going to try it soon.

I still say a mouthful of milk, a shot of white vinegar...shake your head

Thanks Bucky. Your taste test experiment was perfectly designed to answer my questions about Fage.

The fact that your poor unsuspecting wiife immediately identified it as yogurt is enough for me - if a yogurt eater says it tastes like yogurt, then I don't want to have any.

Which is a shame, I had my hopes up about this one. But the truth is most important.

PCB Rob, you will report on your taste testing too?

Yes, I will. I'm going to decide whether, as a non-yogurt eater, whether it is tasty enough to eat.

I'd do it now, but I am very tired. Was up early this morning and played 18 holes in blistering heat. I might do it tomorrow morning for breakfast.

stay tuned...

I tried Fage. It tastes more like yogurt than any yogurt I've ever had. Tres gak.

Now we need a scientist to do the work that will reveal that some people, due to a genetic deficiency, lack the sensory equipment to enjoy yogurt, just as with cilantro (see story in last week's Sun). Or maybe some of us are just more evolved ...

Update: Mrs. Bucky likes to make herself a smoothie for a snack and last night she put the remaining Fage yogurt in her strawberry and banana smoothie; she said it was "pretty good". Just so you know.

So if you take ordinary yogurt and strain out some liquid it tastes like yogurt. Stunning. ■|:o)

Evolved to eat yogurt?
Color me Australopithecus (provided they're carnivorous and like cocktails).

Cilantro is different. People describe the taste differently; everybody describes the taste of yogurt in the same way. It's probably the case that people in America don't appreciate bitter or tangy flavors because they dump sugar on everything. Many people have never tasted grapefruit without sugar. I'll bet that most people here have never tasted plain yogurt.

"Now we need a scientist to do the work that will reveal that some people, due to a genetic deficiency, lack the sensory equipment to enjoy yogurt, just as with cilantro (see story in last week's Sun). Or maybe some of us are just more evolved ..."

I gotta lot of deficencies, and genetic probably tops the list but my sensory equipment is just fine thank you!
I still say yogurt tastes sour and has a
peculiar texture. That said, I am gonna take one for the team and try this Fage Yogurt and try to edumacate my taste buds.
Still have a problem with that name tho!!! Kinda like Homo milk!!!:)
Not that theres anything wrong with that!!!

Hue, the homophobia is not very becoming.

Hi Abigail! Good to hear from you!

Thank you! I'm still lurking around, despite not speaking up much.

Sitting here reading the comments and decided I'd weigh in.
I just opened the Fage 0% container and tried it. To me, it tastes like a mild sour cream. It wouldn't be out of place on a baked potato, and probably healthier.

I was afraid it would be nasty (per jl's comment above) but the texture is that of whipped cream and not at all unpleasant.

Note: I drove 1.5 hours to the airport to pick up my parents, sister, and husband, and drove 1.5 hours back. It has been about 9 hours since I last ate, so probably anything would taste good.

But this Fage stuff is okay. I can see where Bucky says some fruit goop might help it. How about a little salsa instead of fruit?

Well, I just mixed it with some salsa (medium) and it is very good.

While we are the topic of Greek yogurt, has anyone had the Oikos stuff that is right next to Fage?

My wife tried Fage on a taco last night. Liked it a lot.
So, if you like sour cream (I don't, so it's no surprise I'm not a Fage fan) Fage might be your yogurt.
That it didn't taste nasty to you is a sign of your advanced genetic development.

Oh, jl, I was making a little joke there--don't get all huffy!

Why on earth would you put yogurt on my pie?

Doncha wish we'd heard him talk his way through this answer?

Thanks PRob for the additional info.

This is all very confusing. Following the whipped cream suggestion, when tested Bucky's dear wife knew it was yogurt. It reportedly doesn't taste good plain. PRob says it tastes more like sour cream, which I like in dips and as a tex mex compliment, but would never eat straight with a spoon. JL's wife liked it in a taco, but if she likes yogurt anyway that isn't much help.

I eat so little sour cream that it's not worth it to me to have a strange yogurt as a substitute.

I think I'm with jl on this one. I will just have to accept my genetic inferiority. :)

I had the Oikos, Rob. I liked it pretty well but found it kind of dry. I just must not have a sophisticated palate.

I like plain Greek style yogurt to mix with shallots, finely chopped cucumber and some dill to put on top of chicken (marinated in Greek salad dressing and grilled) on pita bread with lettuce, onions and tomatoes.

I just like my Dannon fruit on the bottom for plain ole yogurt eating!

Oikos is nutritionally superior to Fage in several ways. Oikos is organic, Fage is not.Oikos is made by Stoneyfield Farms in Vermont, USA. Fage has two common yogurt cultures Bulgaricus and Themopilus. Sure they sound like ancient warriors, but are they the most beneficial? I think not. Oikos has five yogurt cultures including L. Casei, which is a proven immune booster.

το γιαούρτι είναι υγιές

Oh Wise Greek God,

The yogurt which imparts the healthiest benefit is not produced in a factory or microbiology lab. It is made by people who eat it every single day, in their own homes, with their local cultures, in the same manner which they have done so for thousands of years. Yes, I speak of India, that greatest of ancient civilizations. There, yogurt is termed "dahi" and it is one of the five holy elixirs used in Hindu ritual.

While I was in Punjab, I had the privilege of participating in the daily dahi production. Every afternoon, I would sit astride my brother-in-law's motorcycle, gripping a steel pail, as he drove us out the narrow village road to where the water buffalo lived. The herders expertly directed the buffalo's milk into our pail, and then we would quickly return home. My mother-in-law would take the still steaming pail and first pour off a small amount into a vessel as an offering for the gods. Then, she permitted me to stir a certain quantity of the previous day's yogurt into the fresh milk and then the covered pail would be hung from a hook in the rafters to sit overnight. The next morning, pure white, rich, just- sour- enough dahi would be served with salty/spicy mango pickles and cornbread rotis, fresh off the griddle. Yes, an acquired taste for breakfast, but ever so much more satisfying than Cheerios.

Wow, Laura Lee! Tomorrow when I am eating my plain yogurt with blueberries and whole-grain toast, I'll be thinking of you eating dahi with mango pickles and cornbread rotis. What an image! What a way to wake up your mouth!

Who eats pumpkin pie in June?

The smell of pumpkin pie is an aphrodisiac for many men (according to a study).

I eat pumpkin pie in June!! Pumpkin pie is my absolute favorite dessert, and it's not just for Thanksgiving anymore.
Didn't you get that memo?

CG, I got the memo & turkey w/ all the trimmings isn't just for Thanksgiving anymore either, it turns out. As a matter of fact, I can have it any Sunday I wish at Baugher's Restaurant!

I love pumpkin pie, but it's not my favorite. I'd say mine is probably blueberry, but a cherry, peach, pumpkin, pecan or chocolate pie could win my heart too! Just depends on how I feel that day!

Pumpkin pie is my favourite pie to have for breakfast.

Well, besides maybe rhubarb. I love rhubarb pie anytime.

If this helps any, like Bucky said, the Fage stuff lacks a taste of its own (other than the resemblence to sour cream), so something added to it would help it greatly.
I tried salsa and that worked real well. I've also mixed salsa with cottage cheese, and that is pretty good too.

The next morning, I thought of having the Fage with salsa and thought, nah, don't need spicy stuff first thing in the morning.

Joyce, you can also get it any day of the week at Krause's at Lexington Market. (the turkey and trimmings... I don't know about the pie)

Thanks, LJ! It's always good to know where to get Thanksgiving dinner in the "off" months! It's sure too hot to be cooking a turkey in my own oven but that doesn't mean I don't want to eat it!

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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