Flashcards in THE SCIENCE OF SENSES Deck (38):
Five taste sensations.
Sweet, salty, sour, bitter, umami.
Example of bitter.
Kale and eggplant.
Example of sour.
Acids such as vinegar and limes.
Umami is best describes as...
Meaty or savory.
Umami is caused by...
A common amino acid called glutamate (also known as glutamic acid).
Glutamate is present in...
Certain fruit (like tomatoes), vegetables, and cheeses (especially Parmesan), and as part of most proteins, including meat and other dairy.
How is MSG produced?
Growing a special type of bacteria on sugar or molasses and corn, captures the power of glutamates.
One of the most abundant, naturally occurring amino acids.
Does MSG bump up the flavor of food?
What is the supermarket product Accent?
MSG flavor enhancer.
What are tastebuds?
A cluster of cells
Are taste buds located in different parts of the tongue?
No, buds for various tastes are distributed evenly throughout the tongue and mouth.
Do different individuals taste things differently?
Yes, genetics predetermine how many taste buds each of us have.
Can one person can have up to 10x as many taste buds as another?
Yes, up to 10x.
How do added tastebuds affect a person?
Things can seem sweeter, spicier and more bitter.
What are mitigating factors of flavor?
Aroma, mouthfeel and certain other aspects interfere with taste.
What masks bitter flavors?
Salt and sugar.
Did adding sodium to coffee reduce bitterness?
Yes, a 1/4 teaspoon per pint cut bitterness in half; also worked with eggplant.
What masks spicy flavors?
What is capsaicin?
The active component of chili peppers, which is an irritant for mammals, including humans, and produces a sensation of burning in any tissue with which it comes into contact.
What is chemesthesis?
When nerves surrounding tastebuds are stimulated to signal discomfort to the brain; the chemical sensibility of the skin and mucus membranes.
Nerves surrounding the taste buds.
What happens when sugars mixes with saliva?
Sugar draws heat from the mouth and produces a mild cooling sensation.
Beside salt and sugar, what else is a good seasoning agent that competes with bitter flavors?
Acid such as lemon juice or vinegar.
Salt used when seasoning meat. Why?
Coarse salt, or kosher, has large grains that are distributed more easily and cling to meat's surface area.
When should you season meat with pepper?
Depends. If you want assertive pepper flavor, season meat after searing; keeping pepper away from heat will preserve volatile compounds. Alternatively, seasoning before cooking will tame pepper's punch.
Should you season cold foods aggressively?
Chilling foods dulls their flavors, so it's important to compensate by seasoning generously - but judiciously. Season with a normal amount before chilling and then taste and add more salt just before serving.
When should you add herbs?
Hearty herbs in the beginning to release maximum flavor and make texture less intrusive. Delicate herbs should be added toward the end or they lose their bright color and flavor.
List of hearty herbs.
Thyme, rosemary, oregano, sage and marjoram.
List of delicate herbs.
Chives, basil, cilantro, parsley and tarragon.
Add a little umami (common pantry staples).
Soy sauce, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce and anchovies contain high levels of glutamates.
Do cold foods have a heavy aroma?
No, this is why they must be aggressively seasoned.
Does aroma affect flavor?
Yes, the aroma that wafts up your nose from a piping-hot bowl of soup affects your perception of flavor.
Why do food taste better hot?
Microscopic proteins in our tastebuds that are extremely temperature-sensitive. These proteins, called TRPM5 channels, perform far better at warm temperatures than cool ones.
At what temp are TRPM5 channels barely open?
At 59ºF and below flavor perception is minimized.
What happens to TRPM5 channels when food is heated to 98.5ºF?
Channels open up and TRPM5 sensitivity increases more than 100 times, making food taste markedly more flavorful.