Taste sensation!

A sampler of news briefs that are easy on the palate

Published April 29, 2024

Lots of things in life come down to a matter of taste, and lately there’s been a fair amount of news about that. We hope these briefs don’t leave a bad taste in your mouth!

What can you eat with wooden teeth?

We’ve all heard the apocryphal tale of young George Washington and the cherry tree. But a new discovery at his mansion, Mount Vernon, might give us a very real look at how he prepared and stored his cherries.

Archaeologists digging in the first president’s cellar discovered two remarkably intact jars of cherries, in an unidentified liquid that smells like cherry blossoms. Project archaeologist Nick Beard told USA Today he was excavating the space under a brick floor when the lip of a bottle began to peek out from the earth. He didn’t expect it to be anything special–they commonly find glasses and bottles while digging there–but when he pried it out, his fingers got wet. That’s when he noticed the cherries in a still-yet-to-be-determined liquid.

“They’re plump, they have flesh, they have pits and stems,” Mount Vernon principal archaeologist Jason Burroughs told the paper. “They don’t look like they’ve been sitting in a bottle for 250 years.” When asked if they might still be edible, he thinks they might – but understandably (for several reasons), “nobody wants to try.”

Now that the contents have been emptied, the glass bottles will be preserved, and the cherries and liquid studied further. We cannot tell a lie: We’re looking forward to hearing more.

Hardwired for hot licks

Do you feel music in your soul, or is it just background noise for you? According to a recent article, your answer may have been with you before you were even born. 

An international research team recruited 9,000 twins, a mix of identical (same DNA) and non-identical (50% shared) who both grew up in the same family environment. The twins were asked to answer questions from the Barcelona Music Reward Questionnaire, which investigates the various ways we feel the benefits of music. And lo and behold, the study found the identical twins’ responses were more similar than the non-identicals’, indicating that genetics do indeed play a role in the level of pleasure they derive from music.  

So the research is clear—it’s not just our cultural backgrounds or the countries we live in that play a role in our taste for music, it’s our DNA too. That’s just one more way that Kiki Dee is the greatest prophet of our times:

Candy is dandy, etc.

Looking to improve your whiskey tasting skills? Try eating jelly beans!

The potent potable is famous for its complicated flavors, which can be a bit baffling for newcomers! But in an article on Tasting Table, author Mandy Naglich (How to Taste) explains that candy can help expand your palate–and especially jelly beans, because “they come in so many flavors.” 

How does it actually work? Naglich suggests grabbing a bag, and partnering up to play a guessing game. “Close your eyes and pick up a candy. Make sure your partner knows which flavor you have. Put it in your mouth and try to guess the flavor.” And the rest sounds just like whiskey tasting: “As you chew, make sure to exhale out your nose. This brings more of the flavor molecules to your olfactory receptors, which send flavor signals to the brain.”

Once you’ve eaten enough jelly beans, you can play the same game with whiskey, guessing the flavors and reading the label to confirm your guesses. But if you plan to take a whiskey sip for every jelly bean you ate, you might want to make sure you have a ride home …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *