Lose smell, keep taste

strawberries-dusted-with-sugar

When we're sick with stuffy noses, we don't smell or taste much of anything. This experience forms the basis for a common misconception that if we lose our sense of smell, we also lose our sense of taste. But a group of researchers studying the effect of smell on taste have reached a different … [Read more...]

Twenty year old blue carpet

I walked into a university classroom about five minutes early for a public lecture. I found a seat in the back and plunked down into a creaky armchair. The room was nearly full of students, many of whom had removed their shoes and were wiggling their toes into the well-worn speckled blue carpet. I … [Read more...]

Miniature milk chocolate bar

I found a few pieces of leftover Halloween candy sitting in a bowl next to a toothpick holder at our favorite neighborhood restaurant. We were coming in for dinner and waiting for a table. I picked up a miniature milk chocolate bar. It's an iconic American brand with a town named after it. … [Read more...]

Citrus cleaner

The lime tree potted in my front yard has started to bare fruit. I picked a ripe lime and carried it to my kitchen for squeezing into a soup. On the way I scratched the rind with my thumb and delighted at its bright, sunny aroma. Later in the day I was cleaning my kitchen with a citrus cleanser. It … [Read more...]

Fallen leaves

I was walking along a sidewalk when I came across a deep pile of fallen leaves. It was deep enough that my shoes were swallowed completely. I bent down and scooped up a handful of earth-toned leaves. Maple or Oak, I'm not sure which, or maybe both. I breathed in deep. This scene burst to mind: hay … [Read more...]

Common chemical sense

I've heard of common sense, but common chemical sense? Turns out that the human sense of smell includes a third pathway, called the common chemical sense.* (The other two are the olfactory sense and the nose-throat pathway.) Common chemical sense works through thousands of nerve endings on the … [Read more...]

What the fig?

A neighbor invited me to a potluck dinner. I arrive, armed with a veggie stir fry and curious what my new neighbors like to eat. The hostess explains that most of the produce at this evening's fete comes from a nearby organic farm. I glance down the long folding table: plates of styled fruits and … [Read more...]

Super sense combines smell with taste

Our senses of smell and taste are anatomically different senses, with smell detection happening in the nose and taste happening on the tongue through taste buds. Yet they work together forming a super sense, something foodies and food makers know well. But how? Turns out we humans have something … [Read more...]

‘Nampits

Walking the dogs after lunch we stroll  past a diner not far from where we live. It's the kind of place that serves meatloaf and mashed potatoes for breakfast. I glance inside. It's populated with men and women parked in slick booths in front of heaping plates smothered in gravy. Outside on the … [Read more...]

A cat and crème brulee

[SlideDeck id='187' width='100%' height='300px'] My husband, Adam, went away for a week to a work conference, and when he came home, I stood blocking the front door. I sniffed him up and down, along with our dogs. I couldn’t help myself. He carried so many aromas! The most glaring odor was … [Read more...]