Taste, or gustation, is one sense that we often take for granted. What is taste one might ask? Taste is what we perceive when we eat something and can sense bitter, sweet, sour, salty, and umami. Other factors that are important in our perception of taste are the temperature of the food and the texture of the food. All of these factors are aided by our sense of smell. The sense of smell can give us at least seventy to seventy-five percent of what we taste.
Without our nose, our sense of tasting would be very bland. That is the reason people plug their nose when they do not like a food, and have to eat it. “The sense of smell is an important sensory system in humans. The sense of smell greatly enhances the flavor of ingested food. ” [ (Smutzer, Sayed, & Sayed, 2006) ] Some people have the gift of being a super-taster, and seem to have more taste buds than most people do. A super-taster is someone who is sensitive to 6-npropylthiouracil or PROP. Super-tasters are able taste the bitterness of food that non-tasters cannot.
They are more aware of the sweetness of food than are non-tasters. They also are very good at recognizing aspects of dairy food and hotness of peppers. Only super-tasters are genetically programmed to taste PROP and a simple taste test will detect them. “This little test may provide genetic clues as to why some people like vegetables and others don’t; why some can eschew high-fat foods and others can’t; and why some people stay thin while others (many others) gain weight. ” [ (Flaherty, 2007) ] They can describe with different adjectives what they are eating better than normal people.
Most super-tasters do not like coffee, vegetables such as raw broccoli and spinach, usually do not smoke, and consume less alcohol than non-tasters on the average. Super-tasters make up about twenty-five percent of the population and another twenty-five percent are non-tasters. The remaining fifty percent are medium tasters. Although non-tasters know what they like, they do not always know how to describe this like the super-tasters, which is why Flaherty suggests that super-tasters should make good food critics.
Tasting is one of my favorite senses. That is probably the number one reason I picked this topic. I really enjoy tasting food. Actually I like eating really good food. If I like tasting food, then I really like my sense of smell. I could not live without tasting or smelling let alone my other senses. If I did not have my sense of smell, I think I might die. I could not have bland food; I would get really bored with food fairly quickly. I really wanted to learn more about the physical sense of taste as well.
I found the method that the tongue can send messages to the brain very interesting. I also wanted to learn more about it than what the book told me. I find it really interesting that some people can taste more than others. I am not sure if my mother, brother, and sister could all be classified as super-tasters. My brother does not like vegetables, coffee, does not smoke or drink like most super-tasters. He is also good at describing tastes and saying what is missing in a particular recipe.
My sister, Julia, is a hotel/restaurant major and is a really good cook. She has a really good sense of smell which helps her taste and create good food. She likes vegetables more than my brother does, but she does not smoke or drink and she can live without coffee. My mother is also good at picking out flavors in food, but she loves black coffee. At first glance people might say that some of my family members are super-tasters, but if one digs deeper they find that they just have a great sense of smell.
They can taste mold on bread before it can be seen by the naked eye. They are the ones in the family who get to sniff the milk to see if it is sour. Even if they are super-tasters, it is their sense of smell that allows them to appreciate and create food.