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Genetic variation in taste sensitivity

Written by Wellness Club on July 14, 2011 – 12:16 pm -

By Nurse Mark

 

There is much discussion in some scientific circles regarding the well-noted differences in taste perception among people of different ethnic backgrounds and indeed between individuals of similar ethnic heritage and genetic make-up.

One group of researchers at Rutgers University published a paper detailing their findings in 2009, titled:

“Genetic variation in taste sensitivity to 6-n-propylthiouracil and its relationship to taste perception and food selection.”

While this is a rather “dense” paper it is nonetheless an interesting read for those with an interest in how different folks perceive taste.

For example, Dr. Myatt and Nurse Mark both enjoy spices – but Dr. Myatt has a taste preference for the very hottest spices – chili peppers – that Nurse Mark does not share. Dr. Myatt finds that chili has a unique flavor all of it’s own and that this enhances the flavor of the foods it is added to, while Nurse Mark finds that the hotter chili spices simply numb his ability to taste and thus remove the flavors from food.

With those differences in taste perception in mind, this humorous account of a chili-naive tourist pressed into service as a chili taster came across my desk recently. Enjoy the story.

 

The Texas Chili Contest

Frank, an American visiting Texas, was invited to be one of the judges at a chili cook-off. He was assured by the other two judges that the chili wouldn’t be all that spicy — and besides — they told him he could have free beer during the tasting. Here are the scorecards from the event:

Chili # 1: Mike’s Maniac Mobster Monster Chili

Judge one: A little too heavy on tomato. Amusing kick.

Judge two: Nice, smooth tomato flavor Very mild.

Frank: Holy smokes, what is this stuff? You could remove dried paint from your driveway with it. Took me two beers to put the flames out. Hope that’s the worst one. These people are crazy.

Chili # 2: Arthur’s Afterburner Chili

Judge one: Smoky (barbecue?) with a hint of pork. Slight Jalapeno tang.

Judge two: Exciting BBQ flavor, needs more peppers to be taken seriously.

Frank: Keep this out of reach of children! I’m not sure what I am supposed to taste besides pain. I had to wave off two people who wanted to give me the Heimlich maneuver. Shoved my way to the front of the beer line. The barmaid looks like a professional wrestler after a bad night. She was so irritated over my gagging sounds that the snake tattoo under her eye started to twitch. She has arms like Popeye and a face like Winston Churchill. I will NOT pick a fight with her.

Chili # 3: Fred’s Famous Burn Down the Barn Chili

Judge one: Excellent firehouse chili! Great kick. Needs more beans.

Judge two: A beanless chili, a bit salty, good use of red peppers.

Frank: This has got to be a joke. Call the EPA, I’ve located a uranium spill. My nose feels like I have been snorting Drano. Everyone knows the routine by now and got out of my way so I could make it to the beer wagon. The barmaid pounded me on the back; now my backbone is in the front part of my chest. She said her friends call her “Sally.” Probably behind her back they call her “Forklift.”

Chili # 4: Bubba’s Black Magic

Judge one: Black bean chili with almost no spice. Disappointing.

Judge two: Hint of lime in the black beans. Good side dish for fish or other mild foods, not much of a chili.

Frank: I felt something scraping across my tongue but was unable to taste it. Sally was standing behind me with fresh refills so I wouldn’t have to dash over to see her. When she winked at me her snake sort of coiled and uncoiled … it’s kind of cute.

Chili # 5: Linda’s Legal Lip Remover

Judge one: Meaty, strong chili. Cayenne peppers freshly ground adding considerable kick. Very impressive.

Judge two: Chili using shredded beef; could use more tomato. Must admit the cayenne peppers make a strong statement.

Frank: My ears are ringing and I can no longer focus my eyes. I belched and four people in front of me needed paramedics. The contestant seemed hurt when I told her that her chili had given me brain damage. Sally saved my tongue by pouring beer directly on it from a pitcher. Sort of irritates me that one of the other judges asked me to stop screaming.

Chili # 6: Vera’s Very Vegetarian Variety

Judge one: Thin yet bold. Good balance of spice and peppers.

Judge two: The best yet. Aggressive use of peppers, onions, and garlic. Superb.

Frank: My intestines are now a straight pipe filled with gaseous flames. No one wants to stand behind me except Sally. I asked if she wants to go dancing later.

Chili # 7: Susan’s Screaming Sensation Chili

Judge one: A mediocre chili with too much reliance on canned peppers.

Judge two: Ho Hum, tastes as if the chef threw in canned chili peppers at the last moment.

Frank: You could put a hand grenade in my mouth and pull the pin and I wouldn’t feel it. I’ve lost the sight in one eye and the world sounds like it is made of rushing water. My clothes are covered with chili which slid unnoticed out of my mouth at some point. Good, at the autopsy they’ll know what killed me. Go Sally, save yourself before it’s too late. Tell our children I’m sorry I was not there to conceive them. I’ve decided to stop breathing, it’s too painful and I’m not getting any oxygen anyway. If I need air I’ll just let it in through the hole in my stomach. Call the X-Files people and tell them I’ve found a super nova on my tongue.

 

On a more serious and practical note, Cayenne – the “hot” in hot peppers – is a very useful medicinal substance:

Cayenne (Capsicum frutescense) is a circulatory stimulant, used for Atherosclerosis, poor circulation, shock, hemorrhage, heart attack. It is synergistic with many herbs.

Cayenne is the premier circulatory stimulant herb.

Lobelia (Lobelia inflata) is an expectorant, antispasmodic, emetic, relaxant, used with cayenne for circulatory shock, fainting, heart attack.

Lobelia is the premier relaxant / antispasmodic herb.

Dr. Myatt has combined these two substances in a tincture that is a superior emergency formula for shock, hemorrhage, heart attack, circulatory and migraine headaches. Everyone should have a bottle of this on hand – it is a real “life saver”! Learn more about Cayenne/Lobelia tincture here.

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