ShareThis Page
Home

Tester for Edy's ice cream recruiting kids with taste

| Wednesday, June 13, 2001


As official taste tester for Edy's Grand Ice Cream, John Harrison has the sweetest job in America.

He will be at Giant Eagle in Robinson Township today from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. as part of Edy's nationwide search for kids who want a taste of Harrison's cool career.

Kids make perfect critics because, according to Harrison, they're the biggest consumers of ice cream.

'I'll be talking ice cream with kids, the No. 1 per capita consumption group of ice cream, helping Edy's plan for the future,' Harrison says.

Ten kids from across the United States will win an all-expenses-paid trip to the Edy's Ice Cream Factory in the San Francisco Bay area to demonstrate their tasting talent. The trip will include a behind-the-scenes tour of the factory, a lesson on tasting tips from Harrison and an opportunity to sample dozens of ice cream flavors during a marathon tasting session. Each child also will receive a year's supply of ice cream.

During his career, Harrison, who has roots in the industry that run four generations deep, has tasted more than a million gallons of ice cream and still has trouble saying no to vanilla.

'You can't beat a good bowl of vanilla bean,' he says.

And what would vanilla be without chocolate•

Vanilla/Chocolate is one of the new Edy's flavors Harrison is introducing to Pittsburgh while he's in town. He'll also test the quality of new palate pleasers Pecan Praline Sundae, Fudge 'N Cups, Scooby Snack, Cracker Jack Peanut and Toffee Crunch, and a no-sugar-added Neapolitan.

These flavors are a few on a long list of treats sold by Edy's, which has expanded its distribution to become the leading manufacturer, marketer and distributor of premium ice cream in the United States. Edy's Grand Ice Cream is marketed as Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream west of Colorado.

Regardless of what state he's in, Harrison admits to buying back $300 worth of ice cream a week to check production quality - using his gold spoon (which prevents residual aftertaste) and 9,000 taste buds, which are insured for $1 million.

To protect his money makers, Harrison stays away from spicy and hot foods during the week, doesn't drink alcohol or smoke, and imbibes herbal tea every morning to cleanse his palate. Caffeine is a no-no because it will clog the taste buds.

And while he gets paid to taste America's favorite treats, the drawback is that he has to spit them out.

'I call it the three S's. That stands for swirl, smack and spit,' he says. 'I take a small amount right off the top and cover all 9,000 taste buds. Then I aerate it, smacking the lips and bringing in the room temperature, warming it up some more and driving that top bouquet up to the olfactory nerve. After I roll it around for four or five seconds, I spit it out.'

Harrison will share his methods and tasting tips with the children he meets today and admits that he feels just as young sometimes.

'I'm a 59-year-old kid,' he says. 'When it comes to ice cream, we all are.'

Candy Gola can be reached at (412) 320-7988 or cgola@tribweb.com .

Be an ice cream taster


Kids are invited to enter the Kid Ice Cream Taster Contest by submitting a short 'job application' (500 words or less) explaining 'Why I would be a great ice cream taster.'

Contestants must be residents of the United States and between the ages of 6 and 14 as of May 1, 2001.

Submissions can be made at www.conefactory.com or sent directly to: Kid Ice Cream Taster Contest, Edy's Grand Ice Cream, 5929 College Ave., Oakland, CA 94618. All entries must be postmarked or dated if sent online by Aug. 31, 2001.

Ten winners will be selected based on creativity, originality and enthusiasm. Winners will be notified by mid-September. In early October, each winner and up to three family members will be invited to the Edy's Ice Cream Factory in Union City, Calif., to 'scoop up' their reward.

Details: www.conefactory.com .

Ice Cream Tasting Tips


The three styles of ice cream - Super Premium, Premium and Economy - are categorized by the type of ingredients (all natural or artificial) and the amount of butterfat. John Harrison of Edy's Grand Ice Cream gets paid to know the difference. Here, he shares his experience.

Body and texture: Using a spoon, scrape a small sample off the surface of the ice cream (make sure ice cream has tempered for approximately 5 to 10 minutes at room temperature - the best-tasting ice cream is at a temperature of 0 to 8 degrees). Invert the spoon so the ice cream goes directly onto the taste buds. Coat the tongue and roll the ice cream around, smacking the lips and allowing air to reach the sample. The sample should be smooth and creamy. Defects to feel for are: coarse/icy, fluffy, soggy, crumbly, gummy or weak.

Flavor: Vanilla ice cream should have a clean dairy taste with a good vanilla flavor that is subtle but not overpowering. Flavored ice cream should be well balanced between the fresh cream, sweeteners and the flavoring material.

- Candy Gola

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me