Saturday, August 14, 2010

Fun with Science & Blue Tongue


Why is my tongue blue? No, I'm not anoxic or frozen. I dyed it as part of a fun with science in the home experiment to see if I'm a non-taster, normal taster, or supertaster.

In my reading up on supertasting, it would seem that white males are the least likely to be supertasters. This may account for them liking beer and bar food. (Snark!)



I applied a slip of hole-punched paper to my tongue and took a super-macro picture. I then tried counting the bumps as best I could. It would appear that I have more than enough bumps to be classified as a supertaster. I'm not that surprised. It accounts for a lot of my food preferences. Supertasters have demonstrated to be more sensitive to bitter tastes, tend to use more salt, and typically avoid certain foods.

The interesting part is that supertasting is thought to have some genetic components. I'd so very much like to bitch out my mother for her negativity toward my picky eating as a child. Chances are she gave me the genes for it!

Interesting to note as well, children typically are more sensitive to bitter foods. As we get older our sense of taste matures. I am now able to tolerate the taste of certain foods that in my youth I could not imagine why any sane person would want to eat that particular item.

It also explains why my beloved husband has a greater tolerance for the taste of food. I've not cornered him yet and dyed his tongue to find out his fungiform papillae count. I expect him to be a normal taster. He is able to discern a variety of tastes and seldom is negatively bothered by them.

I think that supertasting does not give me an advantage in cooking, and can be more of a limitation in my ability to enjoy a wide variety of flavors. There are many herbs that are too overwhelming for me: rosemary, oregano, cumin, sage, basil, caraway seeds, dill, and fennel seed. If I must use them, I do so in minute amounts. I'm prone to use a lot of salt on my food, so I just don't use it when I'm cooking. I figure it is best that way so everyone can salt to their taste and not mine.

1 comment:

Daisy said...

I did that once and found a pretty high number. I am one of those annoying picky eaters--I just find a lot of foods to taste really, really objectionable. Broccoli/brussels sprouts is a big one for me, can barely even stand to be in the house if it's cooking. It tastes more or less the way sulfur smells.

A few weeks ago my husband talked me into trying a black olive. I swear my whole head puckered when I bit into the thing--it was the most intensely salty/bitter thing I'd tasted in a long time. Yikes.