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xxporkxsodaxx's avatar

What's that stuff that looks like chocolate but tastes extremely bitter and makes people want to throw up?

Asked by xxporkxsodaxx (1386points) May 2nd, 2008

In Biology my Professor gave our class a bag filled with two bars that looked like chocolate but when she passed it around the room and people started to try it, they couldn’t help but spit it out and start to dry heave. One bar was dark chocolate but the other was some chemical that is like pure bitterness, does anyone know what it could be?

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22 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

Your professor didn’t tell you?! And let her students start gagging? That doesn’t sound like appropriate teaching to me?

peedub's avatar

I think it’s called he pwned you guys.

xxporkxsodaxx's avatar

It was demonstrating something about the Nervous System and how it makes you react with displeasure, I got the dark chocolate so I was laughing the whole time, also she said that some people can’t taste the Chemical for some genetic reason if that helps at all.

bulbatron9's avatar

Was it poop?

shilolo's avatar

I bet both were “chocolate”, only the more bitter bar was a very expensive, high end chocolate with >85% cocoa. It is well known that the higher the cocoa content, the more bitter the bar. Pure cocoa is not for the faint of heart. For example, here is one blogger’s view of 99% cocoa. Here is an article from the New York Times about (bitter) chocolate as well.

Riser's avatar

unsweetened chocolate can be very bitter.

Foolaholic's avatar

Possibly baking chocolate, but I didn’t think baking chocolate could have that much of an effect on people. I would also agree with the possibility of it being just extremely dark; I recently had the “privilege” of tasting 99% cocoa chocolate, and you might as well be chewing on charcoal. They advised me to just let it melt on my tongue so that I wouldn’t get the taste stuck in my mouth. I should have listened…

delirium's avatar

Ohhhhhh, I know what you’re talking about.

PTC (phenylthiocarbamide) is a strong alkyline. Some people can taste it, and some can’t. It is why some people love black licorice and some people want to die when they taste it. There are a few chemicals like this. It was probably one of them. Its totally genetic.

indicatebound's avatar

Probably baking chocolate.

xxporkxsodaxx's avatar

no it was PTC, the chemical name sounds familiar and I went ahead and bought some. I’m going to share it my friends and it’ll either be really funny or kind of boring.

gailcalled's avatar

@xx: why don’t I think that sharing something that gives many people the dry heaves is either funny or boring?

xxporkxsodaxx's avatar

Well I cannot give you an answer to why you don’t find some things funny, but I think it has something to do with what you perceive as funniness. Other than that, you should tell me.

gailcalled's avatar

That was a rhetorical question. I find this particular prank cruel and possibly humiliating.

xxporkxsodaxx's avatar

Well here at Fluther you are tapping the collective and in doing so, every question you ask more than likely gets answer. I am aware it was a rhetorical question but a question none the less, and I tell them what it is before I give it to them for two reasons, they might not take it at all, and if I just give it to them and something happens, I won’t get in trouble because they knew what it was and took it willingly. I am not aware of your age or the generation you’re from, but at my age it’s hilarious when something bad happens to someone else.

delirium's avatar

I have to say, gail, in defense of this teacher, its actually an extremely cool experiment/example. But I agree inasmuch as don’t think its appropriate to do it in a form of trickery. My dad does it with his (college) classes, but is always very specific about the effects it might have before people choose if they want to try it or not.

(I’m a non-taster, btw. I don’t like milk chocolate, but instead buy only 90% dark chocolate. Mmmm. I also Adore black licorice and have anise growing everywhere so I can nibble on it constantly. )

gailcalled's avatar

D: I too eat a smidgeon of 90% dark chocolate. I thought I had a crumb of it on my wrist recently but discovered (when I saw small legs wiggling) that it was an embedded lyme tick, altho fortunately not engorged. Love black licorice and eat raw fennel and put anise seeds in soup.

What does your dad teach?

delirium's avatar

It seems that you’re a non-taster as well! (And i’m happy you caught that tick before it bit. We have too many of them in the house because of my father and i’ve recently become paranoid about them.)

My dad is a professor of biology, though his specialty is in Botany. He absolutely ADORES moss identification and photographing them on the side. Recently he actually put up a mini course online about moss identification in Ohio, actually. Moss Lesson. Its surprisingly more interesting than one would expect and all the pictures in it, including the microscopic ones, are his. He’s working on his first textbook (though he’d never say it out loud) and is always tromping through the woods looking for another plant to photograph. (Can you tell that i’m proud of him? ;D)

shilolo's avatar

Gail, Are you sure it was a “lyme tick”? How long ago was the bite? Typically if the tick you see is big enough so that you can see wiggling legs, its not likely to be a lyme tick. Even the adult stage of Ixodes (the lyme tick) is no bigger than a sesame seed, and tends to prefer deer rather than humans. The nymph stage is so small that it can barely be seen by the naked eye, and it is the nymph stage that is most infectious to humans. Did you take prophylactic antibiotics, or are you “waiting it out”?

gailcalled's avatar

Sadly, I am sure.It was about a month ago and I never got the bulls-eye. I removed the bugger w. my special tweezers and put it into a small bottle of alcohol. My doc now has the bottle and specimen, which he will use for Lyme disease Show and Tell.

I had a Western Blot done because I had had Lyme once before and so now test low positive. This time I am fine; but everyone in Columbia County, NY, which is alleged to be the epicenter of Lyme in the country, knows what the nymph and adult Lyme and Dog ticks look like.

When we garden now, we practically wear Hazmat suits (preferably in white). My bro-in-law got ehrlichiosis and was miserable for several months. Last week, I picked off an adult tick from my cat, who has been Frontlined, and it was clearly a lyme tick. There is a distinctive sheen and reddish color to a part of the body.

And they are now showing up in winter, if the snow is melted. They hibernate on blades of grass and attach themselves on us in the damnest places. I wish that I were not an expert.

And we have found the nymph sized critters on my four-year old nephew when he went blueberrying here last August. They look like ground pepper; the adults are about the size of the flax seeds that I grind for breakfast.

Yuck. Gail

shilolo's avatar

Yeah, living out West we are almost entirely free of Lyme (the deer ticks don’t live here, its too expensive :-) It is good that you are so vigilant. My dad never saw a tick bite or characteristic rash, and eventually ended up with lyme meningitis requiring a month of intravenous antibiotics.

Crick7's avatar

Bakers Chocolate always turns some ambitious tasters away!

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