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“Science of Food” - Adult Night at Explora

Before Explora, I had not been to a children’s museum in over ten years.

  • First impression: FUN!
  • Second impression: Baffled after learning taste depends on your sense of smell and there are three different types of “tasters” in the world.

While the majority of the adult guests were out on the deck looking at far away stellar bodies and playing in the exhibits, I was in the Explora Theater learning about taste. The one-hour documentary by BBC explained how taste was studied, explored, and how we use it today.

The “taste doctor” in the film was part of a brain study where a volunteer “super taster” (one of the three taster types). The four different types of taste — salt, sweet, bitter, and sour — all occur in the same part of the brain but at different depths. This was the first part of their scientific study. The second part was seeing how taste is affected by smell. A woman who suffered from a head injury was their volunteer. It turns out, she lost her sense of smell and she can only taste the four types of taste but without smell, nothing has flavor.

A chef in a French restaurant appeared throughout the film cooking for his guests. According to the film, inhaling deeply with food in your mouth enhances the flavor. I actually tried this afterwards with chocolate, soda, and onion rings. Food tastes much better this way! This will probably become a new eating habit of mine from now on.

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