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