Wednesday, January 02, 2008
R is for Radish and the Supertaster Test
“We are going to try radishes tomorrow,” I announced.
“But I think I’m a Supertaster.” said Freddie as he sat in front of the television, watching a programme about fussy eaters. I had in mind a caped crusader saving the world by taking huge bites out of mounds of food. “I may have an extra powerful tongue for tasting,” he elaborated, “and that’s why supertasters don’t like things like vegetables.”
I looked up at the television to hear more. Apparently supertasters are not caped but they do have an unusually high number of taste buds, making them taste food more keenly. Freddie was convinced of his supertaster status. I was sceptical.
According to scientists at Yale University of Medicine 25% of people could be supertasters. On the internet there is even a simplified version of their taster test which we tried out.
1.Punch a 7mm whole in four small squares of paper.
2.Swab blue food colouring on to the tips of the tongue.
3.The tiny papillae that house the taste buds don’t absorb the blue dye, so they show up under a magnifying glass as tiny pink circles.
4.Place the paper with the punched out hole onto the tip of the tongue and count papillae through a magnifying glass.
5.Over 35 within the circle and you could be a supertaster.
(Incidentally if any of you have a fussy eater in the house, try the Supertaster Test and email us a picture...)
The entire family stood in a line with our blue-swabbed tongues hanging out in expectation. Our kitchen has a glass roof. A neighbour was looking down. I grinned back in embarrassment, my red face blushing and my blue tongue lolling. After intensive examination with a magnifying glass, we discovered that in the taste stakes we were all profoundly average. No excuses for Freddie. No avoiding the radishes.
So I bought a bunch of French breakfast radishes in the supermarket. As far as I know and I have asked around, the French do not eat radishes for breakfast but they do serve them thinly sliced on crusty bread with a little sea salt on the side to sprinkle on top, as an hors d’oeuvre,‘radis au beurre.’ These French breakfast radishes tasted milder than the smaller English versions but they have quite a kick. Alex loved them. Freddie hated them. But the bread and butter helped to earn this dish a modest 6 out of 10. On the naming and shaming fridge, the radishes remained in the “I hate” category.
1 Crusty French baguette
Unsalted French butter
1 bunch of French breakfast radishes
Sea salt to sprinkle
Slice the crusty bread at an angle to make longer slices. Wash the radishes and remove the green leaves at the stalk. Thinly slice them. Butter the bread and cover with the radish slices. Put some sea salt on the side to serve. (If you prefer salted butter, you won’t need the added salt.)
Any favourite radish dishes out there for us to try out?