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"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales
painting by Katie Bergenholtz

How Does Smell Affect Taste?

This is a question that came up over the weekend and I remembered the classic Taste/Smell Experiment using an apple and a potato, so the first thing Monday morning...
we took a potato and an apple...
peeled them and cut them each into similar sized and shaped pieces.
We had them close their eyes so they couldn't tell which pile it came from and pinch their noses closed so they wouldn't smell anything. Our subjects, however, were really good at telling which was which. I think this experiment would work better if we had used a milder flavored apple, such as a Delicious apple and even a milder flavored potato, such as a yellow potato rather than the Russet we used.
The idea behind the experiment is that, since our sense of taste is actually a combination of the taste, smell and the texture of foods, when you take away the factors of smell and texture (since potatoes and apples are similar in texture) it makes it difficult for your mouth to know where to place the food to be eaten to get the most flavor from it. Your mouth, without any cues, will tend to keep the food in the center of your tongue where there are fewer taste buds than any other part of the tongue,in case it turns out to be an undesirable taste. In this case however, this tendency makes it hard to recognize foods that are only placed there.


Doing this experiment reminded me of the Ritz Mock Apple Pie. 
In 1935, while America was coming out of the depression and apple supply was still low, Ritz Crackers introduced a recipe that called for crackers in place of apples and quickly it became a classic.
Pastry for 2-crust 9-inch pie
36 Ritz Crackers, coarsely broken (about 1 and ¾ cups crumbs)
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoon cream of tartar
grated peel of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Roll out half of the pastry and place in 9-inch pie plate. Place crack crumbs in crumbs and set aside.Mix sugar and cream of tartar in medium saucepan. Gradually stir in 1 and ¾ cups water until well blended. Bring to boil on high heat. Reduce heat to low. Simmer 15 minutes. Add lemon peel and juice, and allow to cool. Pour syrup over cracker crumbs. Dot with butter, sprinkle with cinnamon. Roll out remaining pastry and place over pie. Trim, seal and flute edges. Slit top crust to allow steam to escape.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until crust is crisp and golden. Cool completely.

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Science Sunday

8 comments:

  1. We just read about the potato/apple experiment this morning, in Suzy Kline's "Horrible Harry Cracks the Code" We read it because "the code" is the Fibonacci sequence - but there's a whole subplot dealing with the five senses. Thanks for the tips - we might give it a try, too!

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  2. I love the photo - adorable.

    I've always wondered about the mock-apple pie with crackers. Have you ever actually ate it? How does it taste?

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  3. When I first saw your post title I was thinking sight also adds in a lot and it'd add so much if their eyes were closed.

    And then I read your post and they were! Very cool.

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  4. Bonnie10.1.12

    Hi! I am brand new to your blog (by way of "Learning All the Time"), and I know this is a rabbit trail, but I really love the font at the top of the page, "Math, Fine Arts, Science" etc...; do you know what the font is called? Thanks!

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  5. You know of all the experiments we did in school, I remember this one the most. I am going to do this with Kei today. And the Mock Apple Pie recipe, I always though, HOW DOES THAT WORK??? :)

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  6. Melissa...yes, I have had it. We made it once and an regular apple pie and compared them, and it was amazingly close. I don't think you could tell, if you didn't already know. People don't make it any more because Ritz are more expensive than apples now, so why bother. We only did it as a school project when Katie was in school. The boys do want me to do it now, however, and so we might again. Gotta go with what they want to do, you know. :)

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  7. Bonnie...I believe it is called Cherry Cream Soda.
    Karen...I would be interested to see your results on this experiment...let me know how it goes. I am not sure how the Ritz Apple Pie works, but it does.

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  8. I meant to do this with Selena when we were talking about the stomach. How did I forget? I guess we will have to have some food fun!

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