The Sichuan peppercorn that makes our mouths tingle activates the same neurons as when our foot falls asleep. Scientists are hoping the connection unlocks clues for how to turn those neurons off.
Food For Thought
There's never been more interest in food and where it comes from and how it gets to your plate. This is the place for science, politics and the controversial topics that make you go "hmm."
The color of food can affect how we perceive its taste, and food companies aren't afraid to use that to their advantage. An artist tests perceptions by dousing familiar foods with unorthodox colors.
The Southwestern drought has led to higher feed prices and a tighter supply of beef, just as demand for it from countries like China is rising. But cuts of beef like back ribs won't break the bank.
The country's move to require animals to be stunned before being killed is seen by some as an affront to religious methods of slaughter. But now Jews and Muslims are working together to protest it.
Food industry "sensory panelists" spend hours chewing, swishing and analyzing food, sometimes to the point of pain. These tests ensure mass-produced products like frozen french fries hit the spot.
Climate change will likely hurt food production, raise food prices and increase hunger. But those calamities may not be inevitable, according to a group of international agriculture researchers.
Colleagues steal Greek yogurt and half-eaten oranges, and bosses help themselves to their employees' frozen dinner. Yes, fridge theft is apparently rampant in offices all over the world.
Tuna, swordfish and other migratory fishes are being overfished by vessels on the high seas. A new proposal says we should close these international waters for a few years to let the fishes rebound.
One environmental group argues that to save wildlife, we should replace the meat in our diets with plants. But others counter that it's not so simple: Many livestock producers help conserve wildlife.
Heard the rumor that strawberry syrups contain flavoring from a beaver's tush? The potion was once a common food flavoring. But settle down! The time of beaver-spiked ice pops and pastries has ended.