Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Why you like a food and someone else hates it

My daughter hates peas! I can take them in a pot pie or soup--no strong opinion. But she will even see a pea in the sink and cower.

Taste is something we experience everyday, according to Robin Dando, PhD, assistant prof in the Dept of Food Science sat Cornell.

Eating triggers all five senses, he points out. Taste is influenced by smell, vision, and sound of the food--and touch receptors in the mouth tell us how pleasing the texture is. The brain puts all this together and votes up or down.

Each person has different sensitivities to tastes and smells. If you were brought up in a home with spicy foods, you are more likely to enjoy them.

People's tastes also change over time. Children are sensitive to bitterness---which is one reason they don't like veggies as much as adults do. Children also like intense levels of sweetness, sourness, and saltiness. As people get older, they prefer combinations of these rather than just intense sweeetness, for example.  Then, as people get even older, they lose taste buds and are less sensitive to all tastes.

Taste is also governed by outside influences. a steak tinted blue might "taste" different to someone. Hormones can influence taste.

Still, I don't get my kid's pea aversion. Rice yes--she once threw up tainted Chinese food. But peas?

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