Please Explain: The Science of Taste

Friday, March 16, 2012

Barb Stuckey, professional food developer and author of Taste What You're Missing: The Passionate Eater's Guide to Why Good Food Tastes Good, explains the science of taste, and shows how our individual biology, genetics, and brain create a personal experience of everything we taste.


Barb Stuckey

Comments [21]

Guilherme from Brazil

Is food science really that authoritative? The science of food is fascinating, but Barb makes it seem that food scientists have nailed it down. Have they? I mean, in the past eggs were not good for you, but now they are. The issue of cholesterol is so controversial. She talks about some scientific discoveries in the field, but they may turn out to be wrong in the future. Also, what's up with "edible prototypes?" For some reason I immediately thought about Michael Pollan.

Apr. 05 2012 07:06 PM
Zach from Brooklyn

It is important to keep in mind that there is a social and cultural context in which these tastes are formed as well.

Mar. 17 2012 11:02 AM
Andrew Carothers MD from Englewood, New Jersey

Friday 16 March 2012 Englewood, New Jersey

Good Show.

Where is Myrivold's (Microsoft) $750 six volume cookbook (2011) on these discussions of the science of
cooking, and taste by intuition?

I have not heard a word about his new book since it's publication. I saw him on the Charlie Rose Show.
Get him on Please Explain. I'll be listening.

Mar. 16 2012 03:30 PM
Ash in Chelsea

Kudos to Ms Stuckey for making a complicated subject understandable. She is wonderfully informed and has the talent of articulating her knowledge very well. I enjoyed this segment.

Mar. 16 2012 02:02 PM
Harvey Kravetz from Fairfield

I love very hoppy beer-very bitter. My wife if a "super taster" can't stand hoppy beer. As a true certified omnivore, there is basically one flavor I dislike that is licorice/anise/Sambucca. Is licorice a love hate flavor.

Mar. 16 2012 01:57 PM
Eric Todman from CT

My sense of taste declined significantly about 20 years ago. Is there anything I can do to get it back after so long a time?

Mar. 16 2012 01:56 PM
Susana MacLean from Westfield, NJ

I have always, since early childhood, loathed the taste of raw onions. However I love garlic in all its forms. I have met a few other raw onion haters and we all think there must be something we taste in raw onions that most people can't taste or else they would hate them too. Is this true?

Is it true of bell peppers?

Mar. 16 2012 01:55 PM
Brian from Gowanus, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A.

What about the taste of alcohol? Beer, hard liquors, etc. Those seem to be tastes that people grow into.

Mar. 16 2012 01:53 PM
Patricia from Millburn

Could you improve taste?

Mar. 16 2012 01:49 PM
emmanuel from westchester

Do economics play a role in what foods people find delicious? In my experience, wealthier people tend to love bland, no nonsense food while less wealthier people get very excited over manufactured feats of hamburger science.

Mar. 16 2012 01:45 PM
Foley Dowd from orange nj

How does spicy (scovile index)play a rolein balancing flavors? I understand it is a toxic reaction but not a "taste"?

Mar. 16 2012 01:43 PM
Evan from Murray Hill

can your guest talk about how M-berry works? It makes sour things taste extra sweet

Mar. 16 2012 01:43 PM
gene from NYC

Sometimes I'll bite into a dish and go, "HM, this is GOOD." 2 bites later, I'll realize: of course, it's ALL SALT.

Too much salt--and we get PLENTY in this country--destroys and overwhelms the other tastes in a dish, imo.

Mar. 16 2012 01:36 PM
Nik from Boston

A friend of mine was hit over the head as a teenager and lost his sense of smell, and most of his taste. He has been using Zinc pills to get it back, but with little success. Any advice I could give him?

Mar. 16 2012 01:34 PM
Ragnar Johnsen from Bedmister, NJ

My sense of taste and smell will usual disappear, but come back when the cold is over. However, on one occasion it never came back. My sense of smell and taste taste has been gone for a long time. I have a faint smell sometime, but seldom do I have any taste. I can taste sweet, sour, salt and bitter. Any explanation or soulution?

Mar. 16 2012 01:34 PM

Folks with weak hearing tend to turn up the volume to compensate or ask others to talk louder. Do tolerant tasters tend to prefer more intensly flavored food?

Mar. 16 2012 01:29 PM

What's the difference between "umami" and our concept of "savory"?

Mar. 16 2012 01:26 PM
Anosmiac from NYC

Since I can remember, I've never had a sense of smell (likely due to a concussion sustained when I was about 2 or 3 years old). Contrary to popular myth, I *can* taste, but no doubt it's different from the population that can smell (and I am an incredibly picky eater and am one of the few New Yorkers who actually dislikes eating) - would love to hear your insights on taste for those of use without an olfactory sense!

Mar. 16 2012 01:20 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

Sugar tastes great! Does that mean sugar is good for us?

P.S., I love this business of "creating foods." The foods we were EVOLVED to eat are the ones that are good for us. The ones that are "created" are probably more questionable, I would think.

Mar. 16 2012 01:20 PM
Connie from NJ

When I have a cold, or simply pinch my nose shut, I can taste NOTHING, not even the basic salty, bitter, etc. Does this mean my taste buds don't work at all?

Mar. 16 2012 01:18 PM
George from Brooklyn

What is unami?

Mar. 16 2012 02:53 AM

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