During the last stretch with artists Helen Reed and Hannah Jickling, the class diligently crafted their sodas from the recipes they developed from last Monday’s session in preparation for their final presentation later on in the evening. It was a busy day of pipettes, measuring utensils, soda streams, flavouring extracts and home-brew equipment that turned the class into a site of sugary, carbonated production!
Divided into groups of six, the class produced six distinct types of soda. The flavours in each type ranged from tastes of coffee with mint and citrus, watermelon with popcorn and lemon and mushroom with plum! To boot, Helen and Hannah had also turned one drawing from each of the students into a vinyl sticker to mark the soda cans.
The class also got to try out the home-brew canning equipment that Helen and Hannah had brought into school. A few technical difficulties with the calibration of the canning machine at the beginning of the day made the final canning results even sweeter. Everyone got to take two cans of their groups’ soda home and the adults helped to assemble extra cans for the evening presentation.
During the event, students Noella and Ayesha were engaging bartenders and quickly ‘sold out’ of the popcorn flavoured soda (most requested flavour) and the LemRosé (lemon and rose flavour – second most popular). The soda bar was bustling all night!
Arriving shortly after lunch this week at Strathcona, the class was eager to start their taste tests!
The focus of today’s taste inquiries revolved around sweeteners and flavours. To kick it off, Helen and Hannah facilitated a discussion around sugar. What did the class already know about the kinds of sugar they might consume on a day to day basis? Did they know how much sugar was in Coca Cola? What other ingredients are in Coca Cola, and why is the public not allowed to know? Why is the recipe for Coca Cola a secret? Together everyone discussed what they think might be in the ubiquitous drink.
This warmed the class up to their soda mixing brainstorm. Divided up into groups of 6, they made measuring tools and were given 3 extracts per group. They mixed extracts together in varying degrees of quantity (more popcorn flavour, less mint etc.) and then combined the extracts with their sweeteners (various types of sugars made into simple syrups).
Taking meticulous notes, each group finally whittled down their mixing experiments to one recipe that they would take to their final session of soda production!
Reviewing what they had learned in the past few weeks, artists Helen Reed and Hannah Jickling brought in Choward’s Scented Gum and Soylent meal replacement for Ms Persoon’s grade 6/7 class to sample for this week’s session.
Hannah described tasting the Choward’s Scented gum as a ‘Jelly Bean Test’. Following similar strategies in their past sessions, the class tasted the gum first with their noses pinched, then ‘un-pinched’ to reveal the nuances of the novel confectionery. The Scented Gum was a product created by Charles Howard in New York in the 30’s, following the signature colour of ‘Chowards Violet’ mint. The gum was unlike any gum the class had ever tasted! Definitely not your usual Hubba Bubba or spearmint! Most of the class said they tasted cinnamon, perfume, then dish soap throughout their chewing experience.
The class also learnt that Soylent’s flavour was designed by an artist named Sean Raspet. He wanted to create a flavour unlike any other. Apparently, this future food contains 20% of one’s daily nutrients per bottle! Most of the class felt like the thick liquid tasted like dairy or pancake mix – kind of bland, but one student, Arius particularly loved the taste!
After these taste-making warm ups, Helen and Hannah categorized the scents from the class’ smell walk last week, printed them on slips of paper and got the class to draw two scent categories from a hat. The class then made line drawings based on the two categories, made into stickers to go on their future cans of soda!
Last week Ms. Persoon’s grade 6/7 class had their first session with artists Helen Reed and Hannah Jickling!
Long time collaborators, the duo spearhead the public art project/ flavour incubator/ taste-making think-tank Big Rock Candy Mountain. Through Big Rock Candy Mountain, they have worked with Queen Alexandra Elementary’s grade 3/4 to develop the Sour Vs. Sour Chocolate Bar.
The duo will carry on with their taste-making brainstorms with Ms. Persoon’s class at Strathcona, this time to develop their dream soda.
To kick off the day, the class discussed some of their thoughts around kid-centric candy advertising, later using these thoughts to analyze a few bars of Hannah and Helen’s Sour Vs. Sour chocolate! Hands on taste tests were fully engaged of course.
After a few samples of the bar, the class later went on to engage in some liquid flavours crafted by Hannah and Helen. With eyes closed and noses plugged, partners in the class each took turns recording their flavour findings.
Looking forward to next week’s taste tests!