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The flavour factory: Hijacking our senses to tailor tastes

作者:充醐蠼    发布时间:2017-04-06 08:00:27    

Getty Images By Jessica Wapner IT WAS certainly an unconventional dish, but as Gina Mullins poured another spoonful of apple cider reduction over her tortilla, and sprinkled goji berries on top, she figured she had nothing to lose. She was used to being repulsed by food by this point and was game to try anything. Mullins, who has lost much of her appetite and sense of taste as a result of chemotherapy, was at the University of Kentucky to judge an unusual cook-off. Chefs, neuroscientists and doctors had joined forces at the inaugural meeting of the International Society of Neurogastronomy. Their challenge? To create a dish that would rekindle the pleasure of eating for people with taste impairments. The teams tickled the judges’ taste buds with a spicy scallop tortilla accompanied by carrots, yogurt, goji berries and blackberry jam, and a hearty potato soup served with pungent, intensely flavoured garnishes. The two dishes were designed to appeal not just to the five basic tastes – sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami – but also the other senses, which in recent years scientists have come to discover play an important part in how we experience flavour. But that was the extent of their toolbox. In reality, figuring out what might work was largely guesswork. “We’re talking about modifying ingredients so the brain perceives them differently“ But what if we could remove the guesswork? One scientist at the meeting is trying to do just that. Instead of altering the food, Tim McClintock, a molecular biologist at the University of Kentucky,

 

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