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Embracing bitterness (sort of)

Over at tumblr I got involved in a conversation about taste and specifically supertasters. Some folks were saying that being supertasters made it so that they were physically unable to enjoy beer. Being someone who enjoys beer, well I had to jump in:

I do love me some beer, but I put in long hours of acquiring the taste.

From an animal behavior standpoint it’s easy to acquire the taste for things like beer: each bitter sip is rewarded with sweet sweet euphoria (and physical dependence) that gets better the more you drink. My mouth waters whenever I hear the sound of a bottle being opened, or the rush of air into the opened vacuum of a cracked open can.

I acquired the taste for coffee the same way (plus some well-placed sugar-shaming by a friend at my first attempt at drinking espresso). Now I need a little creamer to keep the stuff from making caustic burns in my belly, but sweetener ruins the bitter flavor I appreciate.

Never really acquired: chocolate. It has to be sweet as fuck (hot cocoa I like, and some super sweet chocolate candy) or leavened with something salty–Reese’s peanut butter cups alone justify the existence of the cacao plant in my opinion. Must not be enough of a drug effect on me to counter the bitterness: I find most chocolate to taste like unsweetened baker’s chocolate, and chocolate cake, pudding, and ice cream are sad travesties to my taste bud. The black part of Oreo cookies taste like ash to me.

So maybe I’m a supertaster? To say cilantro tastes like soap to me is to pay it an unearned compliment. Basil and things made with it (ugh pesto) taste like acrid sewage. Too bad there’s no bitter green herb with a self-reinforcing euphoric drug in it


ANYway, Alexis jumped in to say that if I was a supertaster I wouldn't eat broccoli (I mostly eat it when its soaking in Chinese Restaurant syrup) and another friend also told me nah. That's fine, being a supertaster sounds kind of annoying, and I really like to put hot sauce on everything anyway.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 4th, 2016 05:44 pm (UTC)

I'm not sure about chocolate but I know that both coffee and beer are considered to be substances that biologically are not natural to like. Humans have to acquire a taste for them.

Any discussion about taste that leaves out smell is one that I am suspicious of since the two are intertwined. Alzheimer's patients who are losing their sense of smell frequently don't want to eat. Older folks and those with sinus problems may salt their food to compensate for impaired olfactory functioning. Brain damaged people whose olfaction is knocked out and suffer from rages-- because the two centers, if you will, are close together in the brain-- also can no longer distinguish taste of foodstuffs.

There are a few people via neurology who have acute olfaction which do not necessarily result in the A = B sort of super taster symptoms the tumble thread describes. Food preferences are also somewhat genetic, related to the pattern of the five types of receptors on the tongue. As in nature, oversimplification of truth tends to lead to error.

Being or not being a super taster does not change one wit the quality of the human!
Jan. 5th, 2016 03:27 am (UTC)
What exactly is special about being a supertaster?
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


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