Supertaster: "a person who experiences taste with far greater intensity than average.... The cause of this heightened response is currently unknown, although it is thought to be, at least in part, due to an increased number of fungiform papillae. The evolutionary advantage to supertasting is unclear. In some environments, heightened taste response, particularly to bitterness, would represent an important advantage in avoiding potentially toxic plant alkaloids. However, in other environments, increased response to bitter may have limited the range of palatable foods. In our modern, energy-rich environment, supertasting may be cardioprotective, due to decreased liking and intake of fat, but may increase cancer risk via decreased vegetable intake. It may be a cause of picky eating, but picky eaters are not necessarily supertasters, and vice versa." [Source: Wikipedia]
Backstory: All of us here at Serious Eats HQ were surprised to receive envelopes in the mail today from Doug Cress, who recently set up Supertaster Test, a site that offers test kits to help you determine if you're a supertaster. They're $4.95, but we got ours as a surprise—good marketing on Cress's part, since here I am, taking the bait and writing about it.
I was making meatloaf in the Serious Eats kitchen while everyone else took theirs, otherwise I would have captured the full glory on video as Robyn made a presumably horrible face—she's a supertaster. I would have also captured Ed's disappointment at being a mere taster. Instead, I only got my own ugly mug on video.
Anyway, word is that Cress has sent these kits out to a number of food bloggers. There's a survey associated with the test, and Cress will be making the results public in a few weeks. Will be interesting to see who the super tasters are among the food blogging community.
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