Sackville — It’s low-carb, it’s gluten-free and it’s a part of our cultural heritage. What’s not to love about the uniquely Maritime food, dulse? The answer to that question, according to food science researcher Stephanie Henderson, is its horrid, horrid taste.
Henderson is part of a larger collaborative effort at Mount Allison University in Sackville, whose research team recently published findings that dulse “honestly tastes like crap, no joke,” and therefore advises against its consumption.
To make matters worse for monolithic international dulse corporations, Henderson’s team also determined that as much as 15 percent of commercially sold dulse is not actually dulse at all, but rather decomposed bits of garbage bag encrusted with salt. According to dulse enthusiasts, however, it’s actually Henderson’s findings — rather than the dulse itself — that is hard to swallow.
“I don’t believe it,” said Jarod Whitman, between fistfuls of that briny kale of the sea, his favourite snack. “It’s chewy, salty, and smells like my bathing suit after a weekend at the lake. The taste of dulse is the taste of tradition,” he insisted.
In response to bad press, dulse industry giants are now considering new ways of marketing dulse to a younger, hipper generation. At present, they are undergoing market research for “dulsa,” a new dulse-based salsa, combining equal parts dulse, tomato and jalapeño pepper for their spicy “fiesta” flavour. What do the critics say? “It’s actually pretty good,” mumbled Henderson with her mouth full, bringing yet another dulsa-loaded corn chip to her lips.