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“In one study, groups of tasters were asked to identify a variety of fruits and vegetables that had been pureed. Because many of the textural differences among these foods had been removed, identification relied heavily on odours and tastes. Among a group of students, only 41 per cent could identify banana, 30 per cent broccoli, 63 per cent carrot, and 7 per cent cabbage. While these figures might be surprising, the sad news for all of us sooner or later is that the corresponding percentages for an group of elderly people were 24 per cent, 0 per cent, 7 per cent and 4 per cent. As well as indicating the decline in olfactory abilities that is common as we age, these findings highlight our difficulty in accurately identifying odours or flavour.” - Page 27, Taste Matters by John Prescott

Is it because the nose and tongue physically degrades or is it because the link between the nose/tongue and brain degrades? Is it because when you’re older you don’t eat as widely since buying groceries is harder and you’re trying to save money? So the pathway isn’t walked as much? Or is it because of aging? What happens if you feed the same person the four foods every day? Would they be able to identify it better after a while? Like how wine tasters can be trained, as said in the book.

If a lot of our taste cues comes from seeing and feeling what we eat, what happens if I put a salt shaker in front of a person? Will they taste the food as more salty than it is because of the presence of salt? Like a reminder that your brain focuses on?

So, can I use less salt in cooking without sacrificing flavour by putting a transparent salt shaker on the table? Or maybe a bottle of soya sauce?

The book also says we get a lot of cues from the sound of the food. And it changes how we perceive the food.

So, can I play the sound of crunchy noises and make certain food more appealing? Like maybe vegetable cakes? Can the brain perceive what you’re munching inside your mouth and the sound coming from outside as different?

What if I play ocean noises while eating seafood? Will the seafood taste more fresh? Maybe compared to playing car noises or something else. Eywwww.

What happens if I spray the smell of cookies in the air and eat an oyster?

I wonder if I can experiment at the buffet tomorrow.
 
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