Tuesday, June 1, 2010

My New Word of the Day: Organoleptically

When writing about the senses I didn't stumble across the term organoleptically. Which is unfortunate because it's a lovely word.

I found it in an article on How to Make Brownies, Pentagon Style. The article details the Pentagon's brownie recipe which is document MIL-C-447072C (pdf). Which as recipes goes is a nightmare that fills 26 pages.

Yes... 26 pages. For brownies. It contains details on the the ingredients:
3.2 Ingredients. All ingredients shall be clean, sound, wholesome, and free from foreign material, evidence of rodent or insect infestation, extraneous material, off-odors, off-flavors, and off-colors.
So remember when cooking brownies for the Pentagon hide any evidence of rodent or insect infestation. The infestation can be there. It just can't be evident.

And details such as the exact steps to prepare the brownies:
3.3.2 Brownie preparation. (NOTE: The contractor is not required to follow the exact procedure shown below provided that the brownies conform to all finished product requirements in 3.4)
And even the details of section 3.4 that tell you how your brownies have to turn out such as:
a. There shall be no foreign material such as, but not limited to, dirt, insect parts, hair, wood, glass, or metal.
b. There shall be no foreign odor or flavor such as, but not limited to, burnt, scorched, stale, sour, rancid, musty, or moldy.
But my new word comes in at section (Ingredient and component examination). In which the instructions say (take a deep breath... this is a big one):
If necessary, each ingredient shall be examined organoleptically or inspected according to generally recognized test methods such as the standard methods described in the Official Methods of Analysis of the Association of Analytical Chemists and in the Approved Methods of the American Association of Cereal Chemists, to determine conformance to the requirements.
Admit it. You didn't even know there was an American Association of Cereal Chemists.

So what ranks as a method along side those of the Association of Analytical Chemists and the American Association of Cereal Chemists? Organoleptically simply means using your senses. Looking, smelling, tasting, and touching (and when it comes to ingredients in brownies I hope we don't need to use hearing too often).

In other words you can inspect them visually or with your other senses.

I'm so glad there's a word for that. Any ideas on how to work the word in during random chit chat at the office?

1 comment:

Lene Andersen said...

I LOVE this post!

As for organoleptically, I usually just call it a sniff test, but I am clearly out of my league.