Posts Tagged ‘chewing’

Chew more and taste more!

Thursday, April 12th, 2007

Were you told by your mom to chew each mouthful 20 or 32 times before swallowing? Her rationale was perhaps to prevent you from choking. But it turns out there is a link between chewing (or mastication) and release of aroma molecules. A group of French researchers have studied model cheese systems with varying hardness (J. Agric. Food Chem., 2007, 3066, 10.1021/jf0633793). Their key finding was that in hard cheese, more aroma is released, and it happens at a faster rate than in softer cheeses. It is slightly counter intuitive, because one would expect that volatile aroma molecules would have a harder time escaping from a hard surface than from a soft surface. The reason however is that when chewing a hard cheese our chewing pattern automatically adopts and we chew more intensely. Furthermore a hard cheese will break down into several pieces when chewed, resulting in a greater surface area from which the aroma components can escape into the air.


(Photo by kurafire at flickr.com)

Apples and ultra sound

Wednesday, April 11th, 2007

jazz-apples.jpg

Heston Blumenthal has investigated how sound affects chewing, but I didn’t know that sound was so important for how we perceive the taste of apples. Studying particularily crisp apples, named Jazz apples, researchers found the following:

Professor Povey said, “When you munch a Jazz apple you create pulses of sound containing large amounts of ultrasound which our brains interpret differently from ordinary sounds such as speech. The pulses are so intense that if they were sustained as a tone, they would destroy our hearing.”

“It appears that ordinary hearing is short-circuited somehow and the greater the number of pulses of sound, the crisper we think the food is. Ultrasound is sound that is beyond the range of normal human hearing but it helps shape the noise into pulses that sound quite different.

“Our group of subjects were culturally diverse but all were able to identify crispness similarly. So perhaps there is a genetic disposition to the appreciation of crispness which has evolved as a sign of freshness in food.”