Currently browsing posts about: Taste

Apr 19 2012

Books: thinking about food

Two thoughtful books about how to think about food:

Peter Kaminsky, Culinary Intelligence: The Art of Eating Healthy (And Really Well), Knopf, 2012.

I blurbed this one:

Peter Kaminsky’s rules for taking pounds off and keeping them off are based on a really good idea: flavor per calorie.  That works for him and should make dieting a pleasure.

His chapter titles get the tone and flavor: The fundamentals of flavor, the elements of taste; the joy of cooking.  And he offers a practical guide to restaurant dining.  Most useful.  He’s a good writer and the book is fun to read.

Barb Stuckey, Taste: What You’re Missing: The Passionate Eater’s Guide to Why Good Food Tastes Good, Free Press, 2012.

Stuckey is a professional food developer for whom understanding what makes for taste and flavor is essential.  This chatty and accessible book is a great introduction to how and what we taste, and why.  She ends it with a chapter on 15 ways to get more from every bite.  My favorite: “be adventurous, but patient.”

Aug 14 2007

More on Kids’ Preference for McDonald’s

The New York Times has just caught up with the study demonstrating that 3 to 5 year old kids prefer foods in McDonald’s wrappers even when foods in plain wrappers also come from McDonald’s (see my previous post on McDonald’s). Advertising Age, however, has quite another interpretation of this research: bad science (“small sample, obvious agenda”). My favorite part of the Advertising Age story is the advice given to McDonald’s by an expert in damage control. “One good way to handle it, he said, would be to plant some experts or scientists on TV to debunk the study, rather than offer up McDonald’s own executives.”

Right–let’s spin the best science money can buy. Give McDonald’s credit for handling this “crisis” without resorting to such tactics.

Aug 7 2007

If a Food Says McDonald’s, it Tastes Better?

Give kids identical foods, some in McDonald’s wrappers, some not, and ask the kids which ones they like best. Big surprise: they like the foods labeled McDonald’s much better, especially if they often eat at McDonald’s or watch a lot of television.   And these were little kids–aged 3 to 5.  That’s the gist of a new study from the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, a journal not on my usual reading list so I am indebted to the UC Berkeley Center for Family and Community Health for sending it to me. Actually, the effect of branding on kids’ taste preferences is so easy to demonstrate that even kids can prove it. In my book Food Politics, I quote a science fair project done by a couple of 13-year-olds in Portland, OR who did the same experiment with their classmates’ soda preferences. This is why companies are so eager to put their brand in every possible place where kids can see it. It makes kids want to eat brand-named foods (what I call “kids’ foods”) and not want to eat foods without brands. As for adults….?