Tuesday, July 23, 2013

My wife is a supertaster.

My wife is a supertaster! I know it but she does not believe it. If I find a dish needs more salt, she says it's perfect. She can identify any missing spice from an aromatic recipe. When I tell her, you are a supertaster, she tells me, that I have burnt my taste buds drinking steaming hot tea. Just like variations in nose shapes, there are variations in taste receptors too. There is something called supertasting and it was accidently discovered by a DuPont chemist names Arthur Fox. Arthur spilled some phenylthiocarbamide (PTC) but did not notice it. However, a colleague of his complained of a bitter sensation from the dust kicked up in the air. Curious, Arthur started testing PTC on his family and friends. He found that about one in four could not discern any bitterness. Today we know that supertasters find PTC unbearably bitter, while others find it mildly so. So are you interested in knowing if you are a supertaster-, You can employ two ways. 1. Order for either PTC strips or 6-n-propylthiouracil (PROP) strips (you can buy it online). Place the strips on your tongue for 10 seconds. If you are a supertaster, you will experience such a bitter taste, that you will spit it out within 10 seconds. Medium tasters will sense mild, but tolerable bitterness and nontasters will enjoy pleasant sensation of the wet paper. 2. If online ordering is not your thing then try this method. Supertasters have more taste buds and by counting the 'fungiform papillae' on their tongue (since it contains the tastebuds) you can search for a supertaster. Take a thick paper and make 3, 8mm holes in it. Now take some food colouring (preferable blue or green) and stain your tongue with it. Now keep that paper on your tongue such that you or some one can see the stained tongue through the holes. Choose the area with the densest spots and count the number of spots (you can use a lens to aid, but you should not need it). Count the number of pink dots visible. Since the fungiform papillae are not stained, those spots indicate your tastebuds. If there are more than 30, you are a supertaster, if it's between 15-30 then you are a medium taster and less then 15 then you are someone like me, when it comes to tasting. Other than bitter, supertasters experience intense sweetness and sourness. They are less likely to smoke and avoid tea or coffee since it tastes bitterer (Wife, does not like sweets or raw mangoes, nor does she indulge in caffeine- more evidence for my supertaster theory).
Trivia: Stress too decreases the sensitivity of tastebuds- thanks to increased cortisol levels.

1 comment:

  1. Aarina11:00 am

    Hmmm.. Super-exaggeration I say! I certainly cannot detect missing spices! How I wish I could! I just speculate. Well, I love pedas, okay true, not rasgullas, they are way too sweet and I love coffee too, again Nescafe, and not filter coffee, filter coffee is kind of bitter. I don't drink coffee, only because of the overdose of caffeine!