food science food science

"Probably females are better at accessing olfactory memories, but I don't know why," says Robert Bath, a wine and beverage studies professor at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley. "Maybe men don't pay as much attention?" Maria Fabrizio for NPR hide caption

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Maria Fabrizio for NPR

For 3-D food printers, chocolate is a good material to start with, because it's fairly simple to make it liquid inside the printer cartridge and solid once it drops out. Courtesy of Smart Gastronomy Lab, University of Liège hide caption

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Courtesy of Smart Gastronomy Lab, University of Liège

A cabbage butterfly caterpillar. For tens of millions of years, these critters have been in an evolutionary arms race with plants they munch on. The end result: "mustard oil bombs" that also explode with flavor when we humans harness them to make condiments. Courtesy of Roger Meissen/Bond LSC hide caption

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Courtesy of Roger Meissen/Bond LSC

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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Getty Images

'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