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Digital Subscriptions > delicious. Magazine > June 2018 > TASTE - The big divide

TASTE - The big divide

There seems to be a consensus with food: top restaurants are filled with people saying the cooking is marvellous. But every now and then you eat something you’re not keen on, only to find someone else loves it. Is our sense of flavour shared or is it subjective? Dr Len Fisher reveals how genetics, culture and experience influence more than you might have thought

Food for thought.


In Los Angeles there’s a chef who has no sense of smell. 20-year-old Adam Cole, of barbecue restaurant Maple Block Meat Co, can detect the five basic tastes on the tongue (sweet, sour, bitter, salt and umami) but aromas – estimated by some to constitute around 80 per cent of the flavour experience – elude him.

Adam’s condition, called anosmia, is genetic, and he’s at the extreme end of the anosmia scale. He uses what other people tell him about his food to perfect his recipes. But we all have anosmias of some sort. A substantial proportion of the population, for example, can’t smell androstenone, a major contributor to the smell of truffles. I can’t, for one. Which saves me a lot of money in top restaurants, because I can skip the expensive truffle dishes.

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About delicious. Magazine

We’re celebrating summer in our June issue with cocktail cheesecakes – hic, hic, hooray, fish dishes and delights from the Med, not to mention the FREE 16-page Italian special. Elsewhere Ben Tish roasts pork with peaches, Gill Meller grills a rack of mutton and Felicity Cloake embarks on a Famous Five-style feast. Followers of foodie fashion will love the Caravan cornbread brunch, Berber & Q sharing feast and the latest hot cake from Dominique Ansel’s bakery. Plus we have two sweet and succulent strawberry and meringue desserts.

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