Why We Like the Foods We Like

Friday, June 07, 2013

Tom Vanderbilt explains new research into why we like the foods we like, why we crave certain flavors or textures while we’re disgusted by others. His article “Accounting for Taste” is in the June 2013 issue of Smithsonian magazine.  


Tom Vanderbilt

Comments [11]

Henry from Manhattan

“Hey, sewer rat may taste like pumpkin pie, but I'd never know 'cause I wouldn't eat the filthy motherf#@ker.”

Jules Winnfield – Pulp Fiction

Jun. 07 2013 12:36 PM
Henry from Manhattan

I chuckled at Leonard’s Eagles knock.

He has his own opinions, likes and dislikes, and he’s allowed to make a little joke.

Lighten up.

Jun. 07 2013 12:35 PM
The Truth from Becky

It is more about textures for me. I.E. I like whole coconut, shred it and it becomes gross to me.

Jun. 07 2013 12:33 PM


NEVER say the words, "tasting menu" EVER again!!

Jun. 07 2013 12:33 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Mostly I don't bother trying to "acquire tastes," especially coffee & cranberry (even when diluted with other tastes I do like). I'm not sure why I tried so hard to like yogurt, but I finally concluded it's the basic yogurt taste I don't like. I tried for a while to find a beer I could like, but I eventually realized what I don't like about beer: It tastes like beer.

Jun. 07 2013 12:32 PM

I've always been fascinated by animal shaped foods... gummy bears, pepperidge farm gold fish, marshmallow peeps. Even as adults I think we still like animal shapes!

Jun. 07 2013 12:31 PM
June Golden from NYC

Are their genetic family "like"genes? Several generations of family--and even members who have never met--have been almost addicted to Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. And how can you "unlike" things. Help!

Jun. 07 2013 12:27 PM
art525 from Park Slope

Wow there is a point at which Leonard realizes that he has gone too far with his pretentiousness. I refer to his snarky remark about The Eagles and how he quickly walked it back. . Yes Leonard we know there hasn't been any good music in the last fifty years since the Village jazz scene. The one where you sat there in your corduroy jacket with the suede elbow patches and snap your fingers and nod your head to the beat.

Jun. 07 2013 12:21 PM
Amy from Manhattan

I think Mr. Vanderbilt meant "desiccated," not "desecrated"--although I could certainly believe Civil War soldiers might have called them "desecrated," just as during the Sahel famine, US troops called MREs "Meals Rejected by Ethiopia."

Jun. 07 2013 12:17 PM
MC from Manhattan

The reason why people cannot tell the difference between wines is because of the phoniness surrounding "fine" wines. I don't like most dry wines which often smell interesting but taste of shoe leather tanins.. Much like the story " The Emperor's New Clothes" Wine is not unlike the celebrated ruler's vestments.

Jun. 07 2013 12:16 PM
Henry from Manhattan

This is why when people say they prefer local food, or organic ,or whatever, because it “tastes better,” it is so subjective as to be nearly meaningless.

Jun. 07 2013 12:11 PM

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