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Food Studies: Are you a super-taster?

Food Studies features the voices of volunteer student bloggers from a variety of different food- and agriculture-related programs at universities around the world. You can explore the full series here. Imagine a taste test that is based on genetics -- on a person's genotype -- and how the results of that test could confirm or explain one's taste perception, food choices, dietary behavior, or body weight. Well, little circles of filter paper embedded with 6-n-propylthiouracil (PROP) can actually do just that.  PROP is a compound that for people with the TAS2R38 genotype tastes extremely bitter whereas for people who have …

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Food Studies: What’s up with gluten?

Food Studies features the voices of volunteer student bloggers from a variety of different food- and agriculture-related programs at universities around the world. You can explore the full series here. Gluten is what makes bread dought elastic enough to risePhoto: Three Points KitchenIt's clear that Americans have an obsession with gluten. Just begin typing the word into a search engine and "gluten-free" pops up immediately, followed by "gluten-free diet." The next most popular term is "gluten-free beer." So it seems the obsession with gluten is really about removing it from our diets.  Make no mistake, celiac disease and gluten intolerance …

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Food Studies: the science of cookie texture

Food Studies features the voices of 11 volunteer student bloggers from a variety of different food- and agriculture-related programs at universities around the world. You can explore the full series here. Photo: Mitchell MattesOne of the many reasons I enjoy food science courses is that they make all the abstract concepts I encountered in organic chemistry and biochemistry, semesters ago, suddenly seem quite down-to-earth, and extremely important. For example, in most of the chemistry and biology courses, we've discussed water early in the semester. In chemistry, water is considered the universal solvent because of its molecular structure and interaction capabilities. …

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Food Studies: spaghetti and breadcrumbs, on demand

Food Studies features the voices of 11 volunteer student bloggers from a variety of different food- and agriculture-related programs at universities around the world. You can explore the full series here. I have always had a fascination with the idea of a food memory -- a Proustian time capsule accessed through the smell and taste of a particular food. Sometimes just hearing the name of a dish can be enough to remind you exactly how it tastes and feels in your mouth, and can bring back the many associations you have with it. My grandmother used to make a dish …

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