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Food Friday: Sweet and Salty 
13th-Jul-2007 02:15 pm
Having taken 'Health' each year from the age of 6 and having continued with Biology, Chemistry, and Organic Chemistry on the university level, I feel qualified to tell you that the human tongue can detect five basic tastes.

What? Only five? Apparently so.

I can still recite them, having memorized them over and over:
1. Sweetness
2. Saltiness
3. Savoriness
4. Sourness
5. Bitterness

I also remember that some books had diagrams that showed that the tongue tasted each of these in various regions. Turns out the idea that putting a Sour Patch Kid on the left side of your tongue will taste the same as the right. So much for tongue maps.
Site with ton of information on the tongue/taste from Cardiff University

While foods that taste bitter or sour are good as part of a meal, they don't make the greatest snacks. A mouthful of coffee beans isn't the afternoon pick-me-up of the masses.* No many people reach for a bowl full of sauerkraut while watching a movie.

With some exceptions, the snacks we turn to are sweet or salty.**

Personally, I prefer salt. Give me a bag of pretzels or some cheese and crackers anyday. Keep the candy, biscuits, or chocolate for ybunny.

I have found that combining the two are a good taste treat.

When I was in grade school in suburban Atlanta***, one of the oh-so-rebellious things we did during the school day was to walk the 200 or so yards down to the McDonald's on the corner of Cobb Parkway. At the time, I think it was about 79¢ for a milkshake and 99¢ for the largest portion of french fries they had.****
It took a lot of planning to get down there and back before we were discovered. Unfortunately, in the brilliance of 12 year olds everywhere, we figured out how to go, but usually discovered that we had forgot to organize money.
Well done.

So began the scrounge through backpack nooks and crannies, trouser pockets, purses and occasionally bumming a nickel off a stranger.

So, five girls...usually one milkshake and one portion of fries.

Since another part of being a 12 year old is the inability to use a straw after anyone else, we'd eat the shake with spoons and share the fries.

No food was as good as those illicit trips to McDonald's.

On one outing, my friend Heather dipped one of her french fries into the shake and dared one of us to eat it. Most of us were revolted by the idea, but eventually someone ate it and declared it good. A trend was born. There after, no one could eat fries without dipping them in chocolate shake.

I actually abhore fast-food shakes now,***** but the enjoyment of the occasional salty and sweet combination is still with me.
My favorite combination snack is chocolate covered pretzels. I admit, it's actually a salt delivery system in the end. :)

Which would you rather have...salty or sweet or both?

* Though, if anyone would do that, I'd put my money on jarel.
** For the most part, salty snacks are also savory, so I'll lump them together for the sake of brevity.
*** Marietta, north and slightly west of the city, to be precise.
**** Taco Bell also sold burritos for 39¢. Ah, inflation.
***** Though, yes, I still end up with one from time to time.
13th-Jul-2007 01:27 pm (UTC)
a friend of mine has no sense of smell at all, and people are surprised zie can still taste food, but of course there are the five basic tastes.
13th-Jul-2007 01:30 pm (UTC)
I think most of us debunked the idea that smell='most important part of food taste' when mother/father/older sibling told us 'hold your nose and you won't taste it'. Hahaha. I could still taste courgettes. :)

Does zie have any response to people's expression of surprise?
13th-Jul-2007 01:29 pm (UTC) - Savoriness?????
I learned, Sweet, Sour, Bitter and Salty, but Savoriness??? Never heard of it. Well, that is perhaps an exageration. Some of our Brittish friends referr to this or that being savory ... but when they do, they are talking about stuff that is salty. What is Savoriness, what does it taste like and how is it different than something that is salty? I even remember the "four" tastes being mapped out on a tongue, like it is done here: http://www.wineintro.com/food/basics.html.

13th-Jul-2007 01:34 pm (UTC) - Re: Savoriness?????
I believe that savoriness is meant to be the taste you get with food like cheese or meat or eggs and certain seasonings, especially mono sodium glutamate (though, obviously, since MSG is on the outs, some may have never tasted it).

As far as the regions of the tongue, all parts of the tongue taste all the different sensations. I don't know all the particulars, but the Cardiff link had some information about that.
13th-Jul-2007 01:37 pm (UTC)
> Though, if anyone would do that, I'd put my money on jarel

Is this where I mention the large tub of chocolate-covered coffee beans in our fridge?
13th-Jul-2007 01:39 pm (UTC)
Chocolate covered, sure, I'm game. But sans chocolate...still up for it? :)

But, even so, I don't think I'd make it through a large tub. I'll leave that to the coffee experts.
13th-Jul-2007 01:50 pm (UTC)
It all depends on the mood of my tounge, tbh. I must say that I'm often happiest with both (like dinner one night this week was cheese and crackers with sliced Braeburn apples--which are on the sweet side)--but I sometimes crave one over the other (like lots of salt after a couple of hot runs this week).

Have you had fries with a Wendy's Frosty? That's the best.
13th-Jul-2007 01:59 pm (UTC)
*sticks fingers in ears and goes 'lalalala'*

Don't remind me I can't get Frosties here. :)

And yes, Frosties with fries are great. Somehow Frosties don't taste of icecream to me. Weird.
13th-Jul-2007 02:07 pm (UTC)
Mmmm...bowl full of sourkraut...

But leaving yummy sourkraut aside, I tend toward straight sweet. If I'm picking up junk food, I gravitate toward high sugar & low fat: Sweet Tarts, gummie bears, cotton candy, jelly beans, etc. I enjoy the salty/sweet combo, and when I was young, made my own discovery of McDonald's fries dipped in their hot fudge sundaes. But, truthfully, I tend to stick to straight out sweet. My favorite "combo" snacks tend to be sweet with sweet: chocolate covered gummie bears, Nerds rope (sugary Nerds candy stuck to a gummie rope)...are we noticing a pattern here?
13th-Jul-2007 02:37 pm (UTC)
I like marmite and honey on toast (or in a sandwich).

As a rule I go for salty first though.
13th-Jul-2007 02:43 pm (UTC)
That sounds so good. I'll give it a try. :)
13th-Jul-2007 02:38 pm (UTC)
MMmmm, chocolate-covered pretzels...

Especially good cold...

And I do like me some chocolate-covered espresso beans (and, no, I wouldn't be likely to eat them by themselves...)

My favourite snack food would be cold meat or beans, but then I am universally accounted odd...
13th-Jul-2007 02:42 pm (UTC)
Chocolate covered pretzels are excellent as is the official honey flavored chex-mix, the prefect blend of sweet and salty at the same time...
13th-Jul-2007 03:11 pm (UTC)
My new favorite 200 calorie snack is a single serving bag of kettle corn and a snack pack of Reese's mix. The popcorn just melts the peanutbutter chips in a lovely way.

So yeah, salty sweet for me. My aunt and I joke about how we would never stop eating just switch between salty and sweet.
13th-Jul-2007 03:49 pm (UTC)
Whenever I go to McDonald's (which isn't often, now), I always order a McFlurry and chips. And then scoop the icecream up with the chips and eat them together.

I've converted about half the people I've told/showed this to, to doing the same thing.
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13th-Jul-2007 03:54 pm (UTC)
No, unfortunately. Or, at least not in Scotland.
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13th-Jul-2007 06:35 pm (UTC)
I like both, preferably at the same time. Like chocolate covered pretzels, kettle corn, or frosties with fries as mentioned above. Sometimes I'll want one more than the other, but I wouldn't say that I prefer sweets to salt or vice versa. I do love my salt.
13th-Jul-2007 08:21 pm (UTC)
I would like to pronunce that Tunnoks carammel wafers and a slightly spicey salsa together is a very good thing.
unfortuantly up until now no one will believe me.
13th-Jul-2007 09:37 pm (UTC)
the dark or the milk chocolate one?

Have you had Haagen Daaz's mayan chocolate ice cream? It's got a bit of cayenne, or something in, very nice.
13th-Jul-2007 10:11 pm (UTC)
Both. Best combination is pretzels and ice cream. Do scones with clotted cream and jam count? Clotted cream is a bit cheesey-ish in flavour.

And wow, my brother and his family live in Marietta!
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