Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Are you a supertaster?


Forest
 Share

Recommended Posts

My older daughter is, in fact: when she was very young, she could distinguish different colors of m&ms without looking.

Interesting! I remember trying to convince my childhood friends that the purple-coloured Smarties tasted very different from the others, (with the other colours still tasting different, but not as much so.) My friends were convinced I was crazy and kept trying to "test" me by feeding me Smarties blindfolded, but I could always pick out the purple ones. It made for a good game at recess... :raz:

And more M&Ms for you! :laugh:

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lorna--maybe that's why you are so partial to dessert! (But you are very fond of chocolate, I recall . . . )

I knew before I even took the test that I am a super taster and a super smeller, which makes sense that they would go together. It isn't much fun at times not being able to enjoy certain foods, especially when everyone is getting into a dish-even though I am picky, I'm highly sociable. Because I love to cook for others, I cook things that I sometimes have hard time smelling and/or eating. I do like coffee, but ONLY with cream and sugar, and I don't LOVE coffee-I drink maybe two cups in the morning. No b.spouts for me, either. I really like broccoli, but I can't eat left-over steamed broccoli the next day. It acquires a metallic taste to me, kind of like a chrome bumper might taste(!) Is it the sulfur that's in all or most of the cruscifers that I'm tasting? The biggest offender to me is cilantro-even the smell. I once worked in a restaurant where we made our own salsa with a lot of fresh cilantro. On the days when it fell to me to make it, I would trade doing dishes for other cooks if they would chop the bunches of cilantro for me. :wacko: The one time in my life when I would say that it was a really good thing that I am sensative to smell, was when there was a gas leak at my son's day care. I was the only one who could smell it. When the gas company was called to inspect, they found a big leak in the gas stove in the kitchen.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Supertasters "Usually don't like coffee, grapefruit, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and spinach."

I came out as a supertaster, but I like all of the above. It's nice to be assured once more of my abnormality. ;)

"Los Angeles is the only city in the world where there are two separate lines at holy communion. One line is for the regular body of Christ. One line is for the fat-free body of Christ. Our Lady of Malibu Beach serves a great free-range body of Christ over angel-hair pasta."

-Lea de Laria

Link to comment
Share on other sites

...

Bartoshuk began exploring the subtleties of taste in the 1970s as a Yale faculty member and investigator at the John B. Pierce Laboratory. She took Fox’s notion one step further, coining the term “supertaster” after identifying a third group of subjects whose taste buds were so numerous and so densely packed that foods such as grapefruit, coffee and dark green vegetables were overwhelmingly bitter. According to Bartoshuk, who uses a compound known as PROP (a thyroid medication) in her studies, the world falls into three groups: 25 percent nontasters, 50 percent medium tasters and 25 percent supertasters.

...

And here's a link (I hope) to a really great article that was published in the same issue, a conversation between Linda Bartoshuk and Jacques Pepin:

http://www.yalemedicine.yale.edu/ym_sp99/cover/taste1.html

Thank you for this very interesting and informative post, Catherine. The taste test that Linda Bartoshuk conducts with her and with Jacques Pepin at the end of the article is amazing.

(When I took the online "test" linked to at the beginning of the article I came out somewhere between normal and super taster. I love bitter, spicy and complex tastes in food and alcohol though so per Bartoshuk's research I guess I would likely be a non-taster of PROP).

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow, I didn't know about that article. Thanks for posting the link. It pretty well sums up the whole supertaster matter. Really interesting about the mind not processing odor information that it doesn't think is relevant.

The only thing I'd add is that, as I understand it, people often lose taste buds as they get older, so some of the learning to like stuff you previously disliked may have to do with that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Excellent and entertaining article. Supertaster is probably a bad choice for a name, maybe hyper-taster?

Especially in view of the silliness of the linked quiz that started all this, we can't go around having the anointed supertasters thinking they are superior tasters, can we? :cool::laugh:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This test is absolute bollix. When I was tested by Linda Bartoshuk, the woman who furthered this field of study and who coined the term "supetaster," she didn't ask me any of these questions. I had to undergo about an hour's worth of testing, having my tongue and palate swabbed with different solutions. Then my tongue was dyed a deep blue. Only under a microscope was she able to truly ascertain that I was a supertaster.

Of the descriptions of a supertaster on this Web test:

1. Perceive all tastes as more intense than other taster types, particularly bitter tastes

True. I find a lot of food bitter and almost inedible. But I also find sweet things really sweet. I adore fatty foods. (Foie gras with french fries, anyone? Most supertaster don't like fatty foods, but a subset of male supertasters have a penchant for it. That's moi.)

2. Tend to be fussy about their food and have strong food likes and dislikes

Somewhat true. But that has lessened as I've made a conscious effort to be as democratic with my meals as possible.

3. Usually don't like coffee, grapefruit, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and spinach

Can't stand bitter coffee, don't love grapefruit, cabbage I'm fine with, Brussels sprouts work for me if sautéed (lessens the bitterness) and tossed with balsamic vinegar. Love spinach. It tastes creamy to me.

4. Have lots of papillae, the tiny bumps on the tongue that contain taste buds

According to Bartoshuk, I do. I was one of her highest testing supertaster males. BTW, you can't really see these with the naked eye.

But, don't be fooled by the name "supertaster." It's not a superiority thing. It actually puts you at a disadvantage because there is a high correlation between certain types of cancer (colon especially) and suprtasterdom. Because we find food (mostly veggies) bitter, we don't eat them. And some supertasting men like me have a high risk of illness associated with being overweight due to all those fatty foods.) If any of you are interested, Bartoshuk does research at Yale; she's always looking for subjects. She wanted to stick a big needle in my ear for the next level of testing. I kinda drew the line there :shock:

Edited by David Leite (log)

David Leite

Leite's Culinaria

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As I read the "supertaster" discussion, I noted what seems like some confusion here between taste (the five tastes that taste buds allow one to distinguish: salty, sweet, bitter, sour and umami) and flavor (our experience of food beyond those basic categories, which relies on smell, among other things). While I've not done research in the field, it certainly strikes me as plausible that there may well be people who are supertasters and not particularly good at distinguishing flavors, and vice versa, given that these categories, while related, are indeed different. And I would expect that this site would be the place to find plenty of folks who might not be supertasters (i.e., having to do with number of taste buds) but do have well developed palates (i.e., can distinguish between flavors). Or maybe I'm just wacky... :blink:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I thought everybody might enjoy this article about "supertasters" from "Prevention" magazine.

And one of the quiz questions pops up in the article:

Highly sensitive tasters tend to have more food dislikes and perceive bitter tastes in many different foods; they are more likely to ask for sauce and dressings on the side, according to research done by Virginia Utermohlen, MD, of Cornell University.

Dr. Utermohlen was the researcher who designed the test for the BBC Health & Science site.

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Supertasters "Usually don't like coffee, grapefruit, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and spinach."

mmmm..... for a supposed supertaster I like all of the above. However the ink test looked normal.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm a supertaster, but I prefer bitter foods and tend to eat foods most people find disgusting. I also like bitter chocolate over milk chocolate, spinach over lettuce and I love cilantro.

And I don't like that some parents use supertasting ability as an excuse to allow their kids free rein over what they eat.

Edited by savvysearch (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...

I'm sure many of you will recoil upon hearing the term Supertaster. Its far too simplistic in my opinion, and hardly an apt description of the trait.

Nonetheless, its an interesting area of study and has a broad impact on the way we experience food as well as our food preferences.

It raises the question, is one-size-fits-all food and wine criticism of any use?

Slate also ran a three part story on the topic which might be worth your time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...