food science food science

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

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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

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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

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'Tasty': How Flavor Helped Make Us Human

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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

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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

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Dan Charles/NPR

Who Made That Flavor? Maybe A Genetically Altered Microbe

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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

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Claire Eggers/NPR

From Humble Salt To Fancy Freezing: How To Up Your Cocktail Game

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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

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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

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iStockphoto

Sichuan Pepper's Buzz May Reveal Secrets Of The Nervous System

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