I love Jelly Belly. Who doesn’t, right? Cappuccino, Caramel Corn, Root Beer, Sizzling Cinnamon, Strawberry Daiquiri… Booger, Canned Dog Food, Baby Wipes, Vomit. Right?
Jelly Belly’s BeanBoozled beans, including Toothpaste, Centipede and Mouldy Cheese flavours, have been popularised by Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Bean that appeared in the Harry Potter books. Apparently there is nothing more hilarious than delivering a vomitous kick to the mouth, be it friend or foe. Handling Jelly Belly’s BeanBoozled box is like playing Russian Roulette; there is a ‘good’ bean and a ‘bad’ bean – the good bean is yum, the bad been is yuck. You just take your pick and hope for the best.
My lovely husband has always wanted to buy a box BeanBoozled beans to give to an unsuspecting victim. His sister became said victim – although she wasn’t at all ‘unsuspecting’ because my hubby placed the box of grossness in her hand and dared her to eat one. Of course, if she had to eat one, then we all did. Now I am not chicken little but seriously, Vomit flavour? Rotten Egg? I would do it as part of a drinking game or something – at least there is alcohol to wash down the flavour. But our little BeanBoozled escapade went down right in Selfridges where the dreaded box was purchased for the price of £2.99. So, one at a time we picked a bean. I happened to get Mouldy Cheese, which accosted my poor taste buds with a horror that transcends explanation. Blagh! And I burped up Mouldy Cheese for like an hour after eating the cursed bean. Talk about trauma.
I am, apparently, a sucker for punishment. The other night my man was cooking dinner and the Beanboozled box (predictable still filled with beans) was sitting on the table. In my ravenous state, I dared myself to eat a couple. I ate a Baby Wipes bean – perfumey, a Canned Dog Food bean – meaty and a Centipede bean – earthy and utterly disgusting (probably more than the others because I had already consumed two abominable flavours so number three was just a catalyst). As I thereafter ate my dinner, I would sporadically shiver as a memory of the BeanBoozled flavours unexpectedly invaded my psyche. I think that Rotten Egg, Centipede and all the rest have permeated my consciousness and will never leave.
A month or so later, I am glad to say that the ‘eating disgusting sweets’ episode has faded from my memory somewhat, which gives me the chance to revisit the experience without convulsing in revulsion. On that day in Selfridges, I remember my mom-in-law picking a Booger flavoured bean from the terrifying box of taste-torture. Point of interest: Booger bean’s nemesis is Pear flavoured bean. Now when mom-in-law put the bean in her mouth, her face scrunched in disgust so we all assumed that she was eating the Booger Bean – when we asked for confirmation, she said that she wasn’t sure whether the bean was Booger or Pear. Hmmm… My question: Can preconceived knowledge trick our brains into thinking something tastes a certain way? So if we believe that the been will taste like vomit, will it taste that way, irrespective of its actual flavour?
Rumour has it that the vomit flavour bean was developed pre-BeanBoozled. Manufacturers were trying for pizza flavor but it was an abysmal failure – everyone said it tasted like vomit. But when the idea for the Every Flavour Beans was thought up, somebody remembered ‘inadequate pizza bean’ and dug up the formula. Perhaps the labelling is partly whimsical and the beans rely on psychology to give them their special taste? I mean, a Popcorn Jelly Belly bean could taste pretty manky until the flavour is revealed and the brain can reformulate the experience. That said, we gave my buddy a Canned Dog Food bean and he spat it out saying that he would never pay for ‘a junk sweet like this’. So BeanBoozled Beans do, objectively, taste gross. But I am sure there is a little ‘mind over matter’ at work as well. If you think a bean is going to taste like a Mouldy Cheese, I bet it will.