Foodstuff

The whiff of a particular food during a particular scene of Pixar’s Ratatouille transports a particular character back to childhood. Aromas evoke a subtle blend of memory and emotion and this scene always brings a little tear to my otherwise gristled, Saharan eyes. I won’t spoil it with particulars – go watch the film (warning: the food in the Blu-ray version looks so realistic, you’ll grow hungry within the first few minutes).

Food is an experience and flavour its essence. Flavour emerges from your senses and expectations, from swirling combinations of smell, sight, sound, feel and, of course, taste.
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Scents and Sense Ability: My New BioNews Article

“Odours have a power of persuasion stronger than that of words, appearances, emotions, or will,” Patrick Süskind wrote in Perfume: The Story of a Murderer.

Why does coriander taste soapy to some people? Is an impaired sense of smell really a way to identify psychopathy? Why do some people love the smell of napalm in the morning?

This week in BioNews, I write about two studies identifying regions of the human genome that may influence not only what you can sniff out but also whether your nose can stomach the smell – from a musky malt to the grand funk of blue cheese. Have a read.