The following conversation is quoted verbatim from a transcipt recorded Thursday, April 3, 2014, in the Philadelphia Weekly conference room, where a team of writers and editors gathered to taste-test a broad sample of pet food, including dry dog kibble; wet cat tuna; bird seed; a bran-mash-with-carrots mixture served to horses as a treat; and gourmet dog cookies.
Josh Kruger, columnist, on dry dog kibble: “Ironically, this tastes like vegetarian food. It has a smoky aftertaste. Wow, that’s disgusting.”
Brian Freedman, food critic, on dry dog kibble: “If it tastes like something, it tastes like cardboard. Or—almost like soaked dry mushrooms, like dusty dirty. “ [Keeps crunching.] “It’s the finish that’s the worst—morning breath on steroids.”
Stephen Segal, editor, on cat tuna: “I know this smells awful, but it definitely does taste like tuna. It’s doesn’t taste as bad as it smells.” [Mixes it with mayonnaise, like a nice tuna salad; general consensus is that the dark-tuna-and-mayo mixture bears a startling resemblance to cheesesteak innards.] “You know... I would eat this with tomato on a cracker.”
Randy LoBasso, writer, on cat tuna: [Shakes head.] “I don’t like it. Nah—I don’t like it.”
Brian Freedman, food critic, on cat tuna: “Interesting texture. I know what this is: It’s the meat that’s really close to the bones or the spine. That’s why it has that gamey taste—that pungent finish. It’s literally the same tuna fish we’re eating for lunch, but different parts of the fish.”
Randy LoBasso, writer, on bird seed: “The sunflower seeds taste fine, nice and salty. Oh, ew—the salt went away and now I’m left with something really sour, like something city birds would eat out of the trash.” [Spits it into the garbage.]
Dan Gelb, writer, on bird seed: “Tastes like air—” [Eats a green seed.] “—oh, there it is. Not good. A treasure trove of vomit.”
Randy LoBasso, writer, on bran mash for horses: “This is good. It tastes like something I would pay an organic restaurant twelve dollars for, eat it, enjoy it and feel good about myself.”
Josh Kruger, writer, on bran mash: “It has a long-distance-run sort of taste. That makes sense—horses run, right? The carrots add a pleasant sweetness.” [Takes more.] “Wow, it’s really kicking in now! Awesome! This is so much better than meth!”
Stephen Segal, editor, on gourmet dog cookies: “Huh. It’s a real cookie... that tastes like bacon. It’s sweet, and the bacon is very light. It’s sort of like eating pancakes and some of the syrup gets on your bacon. I could see these being ‘a hipster fad.”
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