A slice of pork belly, with a thick layer of fat. "If we confirm that fat is a basic taste quality, it's the equivalent of saying chartreuse is a primary color," Richard Mattes of Purdue University says. "It changes our basic understanding of what taste is." Xiao He/Flickr hide caption

itoggle caption Xiao He/Flickr

Steve Kudlacek is an undergraduate at the University of California, Irvine who helped Professor Greg Weiss develop a way to unboil an egg. Steve Zylius/UC Irvine Communications hide caption

itoggle caption Steve Zylius/UC Irvine Communications

"Flavor is the most important ingredient at the core of what we are. It created us," John McQuaid writes in his book Tasty: The Art and Science of What We Eat. Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Getty Images

Environmental cues — like the color, size and shape of the dinnerware, the music playing in the background and the lighting in the dining room — can alter how we experience food and drink. For example, research suggests that serving food on a red plate tends to reduce the amount diners eat. Ariel Zambelich/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Ariel Zambelich/NPR

Mattheos Koffas (left), a biochemical engineer at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Andrew Jones, a graduate student in his lab, with a flask of microbe-produced antioxidants. Dan Charles/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Dan Charles/NPR

Smoke and mirrors: Dave Arnold plays around with liquid nitrogen in a cocktail glass during his interview with NPR's Ari Shapiro. Claire Eggers/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Claire Eggers/NPR

The "Aroma R-evolution" kit comes with four forks and 21 vials full of aromas like olive oil, mint and smoke. You drop a dab of scented liquid onto the base of the fork, and the smell is supposed to subtly flavor the food you eat while using the utensil. Claire Eggers/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Claire Eggers/NPR

It's the Sichuan peppercorn in dishes like spicy ma po tofu that makes your mouth buzz. Researchers wanted to know if that buzz is connected to the tingling you feel when your foot falls asleep. iStockphoto hide caption

itoggle caption iStockphoto

Philip James, Chairman of CustomVine, and Kevin Boyer, President and CEO of CustomVine, film a video to promote The Miracle Machine, which turns water into wine with the use of an app. Courtesy of The Miracle Machine hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of The Miracle Machine

Ready for a blowout: Blasting the duck with the dryer before roasting dehydrates the flesh so the skin gets firm and crispy. Michaeleen Doucleff/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Michaeleen Doucleff/NPR

Engineering the perfect cookie: You can control the diameter and thickness of your favorite chocolate chip cookies by changing the temperature of the butter and the amount of flour in the dough. Morgan Walker/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Morgan Walker/NPR

The just-released Riverbelle is one of well over 100 new apple varieties to hit markets around the world in the past six years. Courtesy of Honeybear Brands hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Honeybear Brands