Just like our taste in music, TV and culture, taste in food differs from person to person. But why does the same food bring about such different responses in different people? And the all-important question, can you train yourself to like healthier foods?
What does this mean if you want to learn to like a food you usually push away? According to Mari Sandell, Professor in Sensory Perception for the Functionary Foods Forum, the trick is to keep trying a food: “Repeated exposure usually helps people to accept flavours. But it may not be so easy to repeatedly try something you do not like. Some people may need to try the same food more than others. It is pretty easy to give up if you are not motivated.”
Guy Crosby, Adjunct Associate Professor of Nutrition at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan school of Public Health, agrees. “It is possible to learn to like tastes that a person finds unpleasant”, he says. If you’re a super-taster, of course learning to like foods might be harder. The first trick is to find out if you are one. Guy has studied super-tasters and says, “Paper test strips are available for determining if you are a super-taster. They contain a very small amount of a bitter substance. Super-tasters find them extremely bitter, while normal tasters taste very little bitterness.”
I – Word Understanding
Adjunct – a professional hire on a contractual / part time basis
Super-taster – a person who can taste food/flavor more strongly than others
II – Have Your Say
1, Are you a super-taster? What are the foods that you hate? Do you think you can learn to like them?
2, What are some foods in your country that most foreigners find strange and hard to like? What do you recommend to make it easier for them to try it?
3, What do you think of these exotic dishes from around the world?
a, France: fried frog legs (grenouilles)
b, Asia – chicken feet
c, Philippines – Balut
d, Ecuador & Peru – roasted guinea pig
e, Sardinia Italy – rotten cheese (laced with insect larvae)