Adonis Diaries

Archive for August 4th, 2012

Claiming to be food-tasting expert: With only three kinds of taste buds?

So far, textbooks tell me that mankind enjoy only three kinds of taste buds: Sweet, Salty and Sour.  I have tasted these attributes in food. They are called basic taste dimension, and I am wondering “are there other taste buds that particular people might have and the rest of us normal people are denied of?” How can 3 kinds of buds generate hundreds of attributes and a dozen of dimensions to evaluating competing food products?

For example, you are handed a questionnaire asking you to evaluate a food product relative to its texture…Am I evaluating food or fabrics? How am I to understand the meaning of texture in a field that is out of my expertise?

Can you believe food-tasting experts evaluate mayonnaise product on a 15-point scale according to these “dimensions”:

1. Appearance: color, chroma, color intensity, shine, lumpiness, and bubbles

2. Texture: adhesiveness to lips, firmness, denseness..Ten attributes just for textures. Are tasting woody and “wine”y acceptable attributes?

3. Flavor (14 attributes): aromatic,eggy, mustardy…

4. Chemical-feeling: burn, pungent, astringent…

How sweet, how caramelized, the citrus character (lemon, lime, grapefruit,orange…)

The computer will churn out results on every attribute and it is up to the kinds of expert to figure out what are essential and critical.  A statistical computer analyst might extend his interpretation of the results according to particular protocols of tasting techniques by naive tasters, or the food-taster expert his judgment by actually tasting the food and figuring out the competing best product and offering recommendations…

Gail Vance Civille and Judy Heylmun of (Sensory Spectrum) based in New Jersey are food-taster experts. Heylmun says: “We did Oreos and we broke them into 90 attributes. It turned out that 11 attributes are probably critical…”

Heylmun went on: “Give me cookies and crackers and I can tell you what factories produce them and how they were reworked…”

Reworked food products are recombined leftover of rejected ingredients from product batches into another product batch (recycling process?)

Food experts are excellent figuring out the “difference” between Coke and Pepsi for example.

The two female food-tasters conduct “difference study” on a scale of 1 to 10, called Degree of Difference (DoD) to compare similar food product.

For example, the is a difference of 4 between Coke and Pepsi, 8 degrees between Lay and wise’s salt and vinegar potato chips..

Coke or Pepsi might change taste after some time of not being consumed: aging, level of carbonation, vanilla turned pruney..

Food experts are excellent in the food triangle testing technique. You pour Coke in two glasses and Pepsi in a third glass.  It is extremely hard for naive tasters to get it right. Why?

You need to be a taster expert so that the sensory memory learn to become resilient to the first impressions. And the best way to become an expert is to know the vocabulary in the tasting industry and understand what each word means and “taste”…

Do you think it is a good judging technique for taking a single sip?  What a single sip can tell you about Coke and Pepsi? That one is sweeter than the other or more sour (citrus?)  What if you were asked to drink two liters of each drink? Or to take home an entire carton to taste in comfort and leisurely?  Do you think that your judgment would be different? How much can you withstand a very sweet drink, a very sour drink in the long run…?

Suppose you have a highly developed tasting skills, but you have no idea how to explain what you are tasting? Is you judgment of any utility?

Food-taste expert have developed a taxonomy of the various dimensions and attributes to evaluate.  And it is this knowledge that permit food-taster experts to differentiate among shades and levels of the basic tastes buds combination.  They have acquired a particular sensory tasting memory to verbally discriminate among varieties of foods…

Actually, many of the attributes accounts for the smell memory, the seeing memory, and the touch memory when tasting food.  I think that the smell contribute more to the taxonomy than even taste in differentiating among food.

For example, suppose your smell is blocked out in the tasting evaluation, do you think that tasting judgment would be the same to you, or the food would taste good?

Actually, evaluation of food should focus more on health and safe consumption.  Cancer, cancer, cancer…cancer taste good.

Note: Article inspired from a chapter in “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell 

Police car chasing is fatal, at any Speed…

The police force is moving away from two-partner police cars into One-officer cars alternative. Why?

With a partner or more in the car, the officers speed thing up and act recklessly:

1. A cop by himself makes approaches that are different of peer pressure alternatives

2. A single cop is no longer prone to “ambush” the target

3. A single cop would refrain to “charge in”. He says: “I’m going to wait for backup to arrive…”

4. A single cop slows thing down and allow more time before going into action, and behave more kindly…

5. A single cop in a police car remembers the golden rule “ Time is on our side. There is no urgency for fast-breaking situations...”

The fundamental new teaching and training methods of police officers is to practice frequently under dangerous conditions so that to avoid the risk of “momentary autism” blackout of mind-reading capability of facial expressions of the target person.

Temporary autistic conditions dissolve the mind-reading power of people’s faces:

1. The heart rate reaches the dangerous level of 175 quickly

2. An absolute breakdown of the cognitive processing ensue: The forebrain shuts down and we are functioning under the mid-brain commands.

3. The mid-brain is what a dog uses in hot hunting pursuit “no time to stop and scratch the flees”

4 . Hearing is totally blocked: You cannot hear the shots you made or those of others around you. Obviously, you are unable to hear an order to stop or to cool it down…

5. You experience a tunnel vision condition: Your entire world is focused on the gun of the “aggressor” and everything is acting in slow motion..

6. Blood is withdrawn from the outer muscle layers and flows toward the core muscle mass: The feeling is of  very hard muscles, a kind of armor that would limit bleeding in the event of injuries…

7. The subsequent state is of feeling clumsy and helpless: cops are unable to pick up the radio in the car or even dialing 911, except if practiced frequently  to acquiring an automatic reflex…

What a speed chase, even at speed less than 50 a mile, produce? Exactly temporary autistic conditions from the high arousal state that the chase generates.  The chase produces a euphoric state, wrapped up in the chase and you lose all perspectives.

It is “after the chase” is over that the nastiest beating and violence occur: These behaviors ignited the worst riots, such as the Rodney Kind riot in LA, the Liberty City riot in Miami (1980) and another riot in Miami in 1986…

The chase (in cars or on foot or…) is basically the hunting instinct. Mankind is worst than the carnivorous animals in these situations: He is not motivated  for eating the prey, but intent on inflicting the most violent and brutal “chastising”, handicapping the prey and harming him for life and killing him occasionally

Note: Article inspired from a chapter in “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell




August 2012

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