Seasoning has always been a must-have addition to the food. For centuries people have added basic ingredients like sugar, salt, lemons, etc. to add flavor to the food. However, many are easily addicted to the taste and the quantum being added increases gradually causing various lifestyle diseases.
Thankfully scientists have discovered a new technique to maintain or even enhance the taste introduced by seasoning, without actually adding these ingredients. Researchers at Oxford University firmly believe you can have your mildly sweetened cake and eat it too, simply by listening to sounds which increase the sense of taste.
Creatively described as ‘Sonic Seasoning’ the method works by tricking the brain into perceiving that a flavor is more salty, sweet or sour than it actually is. It can allow cooks to cut down on unhealthy ingredients without losing any of the richness.
Professor of Experimental Psychology, Charles Spence said, “It would definitely work in the short term. You could make a dish appear up to 10 percent more sweet or salty through sounds, which could be big enough to have a health impact.”
Explaining the concept in its broad sense, he further added, “You can prime the brain for sweetness by playing a high pitched sound. Tempos and instruments do seem to matter. Simply by changing the environment it can have a big impact on flavor.”
As for the application of the discovery, he sees a big potential for applications or mobile apps that help eat healthy by playing appropriate music to stimulate the taste of seasoning, “In the future we may see companies creating sensory apps which play while you are eating their product to alter the taste,” reported The Telegraph.
Taste is nothing but electrical impulses sent to brain that are interpreted as salty, sweet, tangy, etc. So is music as it stimulates the brain. Sonic Seasoning is a way to skillfully combine these two, explained Charles, “In a way it’s all in our head, but then so is taste. Perhaps you could think about reducing the sugar in food by changing the music in the background.”
So what sound goes best with which food? While the science is more of an art right now, there are multiple types of music with varying wavelengths, pitch, etc. Low-pitched notes played by brass instruments are associated with the bitter taste of caffeine, while high-pitched notes played by the piano are associated with the taste of sucrose. So they can be used to stimulate the sensation of sweet and bitter.
Beautiful music and ambiance have always enhanced the dining experience. Now specific song or sound selection will help restaurants add that extra zing to their preparations while adding limited seasoning.
[Image Credit | InnerCityNewYork]