Spoiled Shortening Or Oversensitive Taste Buds?

Decorating By ceshell Updated 17 Mar 2009 , 6:44am by ceshell

ceshell Posted 17 Mar 2009 , 5:36am
post #1 of 6

Today at the supermarket, my DD asked for strawberry shortcake after lunch. Fresh strawberries are only 99¢ these days so I bought a pack along with some whipped cream. I considered trying to make a quick shortcake at home but figured time was tight so I bought those cheap $1.49 "shortcake dessert cakes" at Kroger/Ralph's--6 to a pack--you fill them yourself.

I'm telling you, from the moment I opened them I could smell the stale shortening smell. They were fresh though, they have a sell by date of April 9 ( icon_eek.gif ok that alone should scare you.) My daughter thought it was fine but what does she know, she's 4. DH thought it was fine too, he didn't taste anything "off". I thought I must be hallucinating so I ate it anyway. Couldn't even finish one bite. Any of you who has ever had spoiled shortening, you know that smell and taste.

The clincher is, I even posted here about how I took back a brand-new 1lb tub of Sweetex to my local cake store last month, as it had that same "off" taste. That one didn't smell actually, it just tasted funny. I had some older Sweetex which I'd frozen, and it was FINE. I even tried my two icings side-by-side. As with the shortcake, DH couldn't detect a difference, yet I had to rinse my mouth out after eating the "new" one!

So what gives? Has anyone else experienced a sort of "false" taste perception where you think something tastes wrong but everyone else swears it's fine? Because now I don't know how I can be objective about my baked goods...if I think everything tastes awful I will chuck it.

FWIW I still have Crisco in my cupboard and it smells and tastes fine and I have used it for occasional icings or baked goods. So I am not oversensitive to ALL shortening "as a rule."

But this latest episode with the nasty cakes has me wondering. Or maybe some of you have eaten those cakes and can just set my mind at ease by telling me that they are horrendous icon_lol.gif.

5 replies
JanH Posted 17 Mar 2009 , 5:47am
post #2 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by ceshell

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Or maybe some of you have eaten those cakes and can just set my mind at ease by telling me that they are horrendous icon_lol.gif.




The sell-by date is an indicator of how long a product should "keep" if handled and stored properly from the time it is produced until the time it is consumed.

I've had several containers of the Sam's ultra-pasteurized half and half that were bad when opened (and no where close to their expiration dates). So I'm assuming the problem was somewhere in the handling & storing before I got it home. (Doesn't make a difference if my refrigerator is ice cold, if the stuff's already bad when it goes in!)

As to the shortcakes... The list of preseratives to keep those things "fresh" for so long can also be what you're tasting. And it has been my experience, that I'm much more sensitive to subtle variations in flavor (and smell) than my husband....

And taste/smell is very subjective. My husband would probably eat anything that didn't move, but I'm a bit more discriminating!

HTH

playingwithsugar Posted 17 Mar 2009 , 6:01am
post #3 of 6

I can't tell you how many times I've smelled french fries from a fast food restaurant which gave off the same smell.

I had bought some coconut oil from the local supply store a couple of years ago. She had bought it in bulk and re-packed it in plastic souffle cups. I wish I would have checked it at the store prior to purchase.

I've been told that even though fat-based products might be within their sell-by date, improper storage or handling can cause rancidity - extreme temperature changes (even if the can is sealed) or prolonged exposure to air can cause it to turn.

I have walked through the aisle of a market and smelled packaged butter cookies which turned because it sat on a shelf too long.

Theresa icon_smile.gif

juleebug Posted 17 Mar 2009 , 6:14am
post #4 of 6

You're a scratch baker, aren't you?

I've found, since I started doing cakes, that I just can't stomach alot of high preservative foods that I used to LOVE! And I find that I can taste alot of very subtle flavor changes that my family can't.

toodlesjupiter Posted 17 Mar 2009 , 6:21am
post #5 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by ceshell

...Or maybe some of you have eaten those cakes and can just set my mind at ease by telling me that they are horrendous icon_lol.gif.




Those cakes are horrendous!!!

ceshell Posted 17 Mar 2009 , 6:44am
post #6 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by juleebug

You're a scratch baker, aren't you?

I've found, since I started doing cakes, that I just can't stomach alot of high preservative foods that I used to LOVE! And I find that I can taste alot of very subtle flavor changes that my family can't.



Oh you have TOTALLY got me on that one! But I can still eat prepackaged stuff...well, some of it anyway. It is nice to know there are others who detect those differences. For me the weird thing is, I am not normally offended by shortening in things (I mean, I do tend to avoid it but when I am subjected to a supermarket cake at a party, I can handle it) but this was just whack. ABNORMALLY awful, I thought.

Jan, you make a good point about the fact that maybe even though it was fresh(ish), it still had a chance to go rancid. I am sure those cakes are not baked on site but rather shipped in from a central baking facility. Though you'd think if there were temperature problems in the warehouse or on the truck, the other goods would be yucky too. Which brings me back to the initial question of: why was I the only one to think it was gross?

And toodles, thanks for the vote on the cakes! I was >this< close to taking out some frozen whit ecake from the freezer, but I just ate the berries by themselves and let the plebes in my house eat the nasty cake icon_lol.gif.

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