Friday, 6 May 2016

Jet plane lollies

Ahh, jet plane lollies. These firm packages of sugar and food colouring have a soft spot in many grown-ups' hearts. My nonna would bring jet plane lollies when she came to stay with us during winter weekends and I've looked at them through a nostalgic lens ever since.

Jet planes have out-survived many iconic kiwi lollies that bit the dust in recent years. Now, I don't know where jet planes originated from but, given that the colours and flavour profiles are the same as wine gums, they may well have come from the UK and migrated to the colonies over time. I'm glad they did.

Everyone has a preference - and everyone is right (of course). I had quite an in-depth conversation with a six-year-old nephew on a camping trip recently about which jet planes were the best. It turns out that he and I have similar tastes. We like white, yellow and green jet planes when others make a beeline for red or purple. We've both been told that white jet planes have no flavour at all - but we know that they do and it's our favourite. In just six short years, he has heard all the same jet plane stories as me:
"I like the red and purple ones but not the green ones."
"Euw, green and white ones are horrible! They don't taste of anything!"
"I can taste the yellow and orange ones anywhere."
"Of course I know which ones are which. They're not all the same flavour."
We had a similar conversation in the office yesterday when a packet of jet planes appeared after a meeting. There was only one way to solve this: blind taste testing. Jet planes of each colour were cut into small bites which were presented one at a time to those of us brave enough to put our taste buds on the line. A score card was kept and the results collated.

It turns out there is a difference in flavours - but not as we expected. Our empirical research, with a sample size of four, showed that those who were most confident about their jet plane palette were actually the least competent at identifying them. We all interchanged yellow and red, but only two of us could correctly identify four out of six (white, green, purple and orange). One person scored two out of six and the most confident managed a measly total of one correct - and that was probably a guess.

We agreed that next time we should repeat the experiment with wine gums or jelly beans or both - all in the name of research, of course.

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