When I was little, my mom would occasionally try to pass off powdered milk as the real thing. The grayish color always gave it away and we dug our heels in and refused to eat our cereal with that nasty substitute. Then there were the times when she had mashed turnips on our plate and assumed we would think they were mashed potatoes. Those passed the sight test, but certainly didn’t fool our taste buds. The result was a lot of yelling and screaming, loud protests. You would have thought we were being poisoned had you heard the caterwauling!
Those memories came flooding back Saturday night when I took a fruit plate to a neighborhood party. I had cut watermelon, honeydew, and cantaloupe into shapes and put them on small skewers. On most of the skewers, I added a small ball of mozzarella cheese. Each tiny skewer was then poked into a fresh pineapple which was being used by the base. I took a quick pic before I left the house. Lovely, right?
The problem is that the kids thought the white fluffy balls were tiny marshmallows. They slid whole skewers of fruit and cheese into their mouths, and only then discovered the bland, somewhat tasteless (definitely not marshmallow) white thing. And kids, being kids, spit them out. Blech.
If you’re serving something that looks like something else, label it. Make it clear before a bite is taken. Hone the expectations of your audience. And I decided after I tasted the combo that it wasn’t quite “Blech!” — but it wasn’t particularly good either. To tie the fruit and cheese together, I should have drizzled on a little poppy seed dressing.
One more thing. Tiny colored plastic toothpicks may look good and they certainly work fine as skewers, but poking them into a pineapple is a completely different story. They bend like a pole vault pole. They also occasionally break. Stick with the sturdy wooden ones.
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