Mom, this strawberry tastes awful,” my eight-year-old girl said one September. I tasted it and, sure enough, she was right. She didn’t know that strawberry season was over, but her taste buds had detected the fact. I soon discovered that this child, whose taste buds are significantly more refined than my own, could tell when things were “wrong” with apples, too.
Taste buds, located on our tongues, work differently for everyone. For some of us, these little clusters of bulbous nerve-endings in our mouths communicate little to nothing to our brains. For others, they can communicate a nuanced range of flavors, from happy to disgusting. For those who have highly refined taste bud communication centers, individual ingredients can be sensed and in-season flavors ascertained. Continue reading →