This morning I am eating a cup of strawberry-flavored Chobani yogurt and a cup of blueberry-flavored Chobani yogurt. These are my two favorite yogurt flavors. Although peach is perfectly fine, I don't care for it as much. The fact I'm eating both my favorites makes this a special day. My very favorite is blueberry, but I make it a rule never to eat two blueberries in one day, so I won't run out. I also have to be careful to eat a peach yogurt two days out of three, or else I'll wind up with nothing left but peach, which as I've stated, I don't especially care for.
Now here's the thing.
They all taste exactly the same.
They taste like sweet goo because that's what they are. Never once, have I eaten a spoonful of Chobani and thought, "Mmm, just like fresh blueberries." In the midst of eating, I'd be at a loss to tell you what flavor it was, unless I were permitted to look at the label.
We buy Chobani at Costco in a big flat blue box which contains an assortment of peach, strawberry, and blueberry yogurt. For a time, Costco also offered Chobani in a big orange box which contained blood orange, pineapple, and some other flavor - I forget which because they all tasted like identical anyway. Nancy and I preferred the orange box of Chobani because we preferred eating sweet goo with an exotic label like "blood orange" to sweet goo labeled "blueberry." Of course, we had to mix it up, and buy an equal number of orange and blue boxes so we wouldn't spoil ourselves and get jaded. We were disappointed when Costco discontinued orange-box Chobani. Obscurely, I blame the philistine tastes of Costco shoppers, who were too parochial to try eating sweet goo with a tropical-fruit label once in a while.
All this reminds me of my childhood. (The older I get, the more often things remind me of my childhood.) The spectrum of basic Popsicle flavors - red, purple, orange, and banana - had no correlation whatsoever to any fruit flavor, and indeed only two of them - orange and banana - were known by the fruits they represented, and in the case of orange, that was only coincidence, and in the case of banana was because even though banana Popsicles tasted only as similar to bananas as Gatorade does to gators, they tasted even less like yellow, so we called them "banana" by default. But no one asking for a Popsicle would say, "Give me a cherry flavor," or "Give me a grape," rather, it was always, "I want a purple one." Or, "I like red." Orange was the flavor you only ate if there was nothing left. Orange was the peach yogurt of Popsicles.
The conflation of flavor was further reinforced by the fact that Kool-Aid flavors had a corresponding color-scheme. Sno-Cones and slushies, although these were harder to come by, also used the same color-coding, and a child at a state fair ordering a red Sno-Cone could be confident of what he was getting.
At this point in my essay, I'm expected to come back to my opening observation and somehow tie the whole thing together with some pithy observation, but frankly, I'm stumped how I'm going to do it. It has something to do with the way we think are tastes and preferences are all sophisticated and idiosyncratic, but the reality is the colors purple and red strike us as more flavorful than orange-ish colors, but at the same time, we don't want everything to be purple and red because we feel the variety would stale and we would cease to appreciate them. The reality, however, when we get down to eating, our taste buds are colorblind and like what they've always liked. Sweet goo.