There’s More to How We Taste Sweetness Than We Thought

Scientists assumed there is just a single type of taste receptor on the tongue responsible for our perception of sweetness. Now researchers from Monell Chemical Senses Center have found that those cells also contain gut enzymes, which contribute to sweet tastes. They describe their findings in a new paper published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Source: There’s More to How We Taste Sweetness Than We Thought

Teach Yourself to Love a New Food by Adding a Dash of Fat, Sugar, or Salt

A lot of times, people ask me how to acquire a taste because they want to learn how to like kale—or, even more commonly, they want to find out how to get their kids to like healthy foods. The truth is that we’re not genetically predisposed to dislike certain foods. In fact, we’re predisposed to like the majority of them (with the exceptions being bitter and ammoniated things because they can be hallmarks of spoilage or something that’s not necessarily safe). The problem comes with the messages our culture gives us about certain foods.

Source: Andrew Zimmern Explains How to Acquire a Taste

“Acquired taste” is the Stockholm syndrome of food 😉

I think it’s important to understand why you’d seek to acquire a taste.  I think it’s good to try, but also to be able to accept that if you don’t enjoy it?  Try something else.  It’s possible you’ll find what you like along the way.

Internet Recipes Are a Starting Point, Not a Bible

Except for baking – baking is science, cooking is art.

Learning to cook usually starts with finding some recipes on the web and trying them out in the kitchen. That’s great, but don’t stop there. Internet recipes are a great starting point, but they have limitations. Here are some of them, and how you can move on from them and get really creative in the kitchen.

Source: Internet Recipes Are a Starting Point, Not a Bible

I recommend successfully doing the recipe before you tweak.  And make informed tweaking – look into what things like spices complement the things in what you’re preparing.

Five Mind Tricks That’ll Make Your Food “Taste” Better

If you’re worried about impressing someone with your cooking skills, or you’re trying a new recipe for the first time, there are some mental tricks you can use on others to make your meal seem better than it really is. Here are five of the most effective.

Source: Five Mind Tricks That’ll Make Your Food “Taste” Better

Trick #6: Add salt

Some things that weren’t covered in the article, were covered in a previous one about why airline food tastes bland.

Dip Tomatoes in Warm Water Before Chilling to Make Them Taste Better

Any true tomato fan knows that you do not put them in the refrigerator. Cold temperatures cause tomatoes to lose their flavor, which is why so many that arrive in your home from a store are already bland.

But new scientific research has found there might be an unbelievably easy fix: a quick dip in hot water before they are ever chilled.

Source: Scientists have an incredibly easy solution for better-tasting supermarket tomatoes

I have found that washing my tomatoes before putting them in the refrigerator (which arguably would be similar to putting them in warm water) makes them go bad faster.

The note about shipping tomatoes in a gas is a common practice for shipping produce.  Lots are shipped in an environment without oxygen to delay ripening.

Why Food Tastes so Bland on an Airplane (and How to Make It Better)

Whether you eat the in-flight meal or pack your own favorite snacks, food tastes pretty bland when you munch on it at 10,000 feet. Here’s why.

Source: Why Does Food Eaten on an Airplane Taste so Blah?

This was actually an episode of “Next Iron Chef” several years back. The contestants had to make a first-class airline meal with the catch being that they had to over-flavor everything to make sure that it actually tasted good once they were up in the air. Very cool stuff.

You Have Taste Receptors in Your Colon. Here’s Why.

Taste receptors don’t only exist in your mouth. You can find them all over your body, including your stomach, your lungs, and your colon. Why? It turns out the taste receptors are much more versatile tools than we suppose.

Source: You Have Taste Receptors in Your Colon. Here’s Why.

The flavors are so pronounced, you can just sense the aftertaste on the tip of your bum. But that might only be the spicy food…

How Colour Changes What We Taste

If you don’t like the wine you’re drinking, don’t buy a new bottle; just change the lighting. Research suggests that the taste we perceive is about more than just taste and even smell. Color can change the taste of food.

Source: How Colour Changes What We Taste

I’d discussed something similar with co-workers, about brain tricks where we assume things based on learned patterns.  For example – what colour are these: blue, green, black.  The topic came up because of a riddle that was posted in the lunch room:

You’re in a room with two other people, a display, and a locked exit.

  1. The display reads “12”, and the first person faces the display to say “6”.  The door opens to allow the first person out.  Once the person left, the display changed to “6”.
  2. The second person gets up to face the display to say “3”.  The door allows the second person out, and the display updates to read “3”.
  3. It’s your turn, so you face the display to say “1.5”.  The display informs you that you are incorrect.

The answer lies in the number of letters in the written form of the number:

  1. 12 = twelve, which is 6 characters…
  2. 6 = six, which is 3 characters…

A key part of the riddle was to list the numbers in numeric format, because written would visibly present the answer.

Is It Finally Time to Accept Fat as the Sixth Taste?

There are five acknowledged tastes: sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and (slightly more controversially) umami. For awhile now, researchers have suggested the existence of a sixth taste: fat. Now, a new study has researchers saying they may have finally isolated it—and they’ve given it a name: oleogustus.

Source: Is It Finally Time to Accept Fat as the Sixth Taste?

Fat seems like a broad term to me. Pig fat (lard) has a vastly different taste than butter (milk fat), and both are different than olive oil (plant fat). All have very distinct tastes. Does oleogustus encompass all of those? Do all fats have that exact thing in them?

Does a Diet of Chestnuts Really Flavor the Meat of a Pig?

Those of us watching Hannibal know that when Hannibal feeds someone chestnuts, it’s a warning sign. Supposedly a diet of chestnuts flavors meat. Let’s look at several studies on the subject (done with pigs, not humans) and try to determine if that’s true.

Source: Does a Diet of Chestnuts Really Flavor the Meat of a Pig?

What’s interesting is that some will warn about this for those with nut allergies.  I don’t know if it is actually a risk, but who wants to find out?