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This Is How Sound Affects the Way Your Food Tastes

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Taste and smell are linked—a fact that becomes clear if you eat your favorite foods while you have a cold. The sense that you might not realize is affecting your palate? Sound. Food podcast The Sporkful recently took a closer look at the illusion of taste during an interview with psychologist Charles Spence, an expert in the relationship between sound and taste.

Past research certainly backs up the notion. A 2004 study found that loud crunching sounds make people think chips are crispier and a 2014 study Spence conducted found that noise impaired people’s ability to taste sweet and sour. After several recent product redesigns for iconic brands like Coca-Cola and Cadbury chocolate, people complained that the new packaging came with a change in taste—though the recipe was the same.

Still don’t believe it? Try this experiment. Take a bite of some dark chocolate (or any other food) and really concentrate on how it tastes. Now do it again, listening to this high-pitched sound while you savor it.

Now listen to a low-pitched sound while you chew:

The first, high-pitched sound should have made the chocolate taste a little bit sweeter, and the second, low-pitched sound should have made it taste a little more bitter. I used M&Ms—the closest thing to the recommended dark chocolate in the office vending machine—and while the bitterness effect was very subtle, the high-pitched sound definitely made the candies taste sweeter.

A trained ear can even tell if food is being chopped properly just by listening:

Hungry for more? Listen to The Sporkful here.

[h/t: The Science of Us]

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Food Going Bad? How to Set the Correct Temperature For Your Fridge
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Depending on the size of your household, your grocery bill can sometimes outpace utility costs or other expenses, making it one of the biggest monthly expenditures in your budget. If you've spent that money on organic, fresh produce, watching it go bad faster than it should can be a frustrating experience.

If your lettuce is getting icy or your meat is smelling a little fishy, the problem might be your refrigerator's temperature setting. While many newer fridge models have digital thermometers that make checking for the correct temperature easy—it should be right around 37°F, with your freezer at 0°F—others have a manual dial that offers ambiguous settings numbered from one to five or one to 10.

Fortunately, there's an easy way to make the knob match your ideal climate. Refrigerator thermometers are available at home goods stores or online and provide a digital readout of the refrigerator's interior that's usually accurate within 1°F. Leave the thermometer on the middle shelf to get the correct reading.

Once you have the appliance set, be sure to check it periodically to make sure it's maintaining that temperature. Packing too much food on your shelves, for example, tends to make the interior warmer. If the coils need to be cleaned, it might be retaining more heat. Kept at a steady 37°F, your food should remain fresh, safe, and perfectly cold.

 

[h/t Reader's Digest]

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Voodoo Doughnut Is Coming to the East Coast (Finally!)
Universal Orlando Resort
Universal Orlando Resort

Voodoo Doughnut, the beloved Portland purveyor of creative pastries, is finally coming to the East Coast. The company is opening a shop at the Universal Orlando Resort in Florida, according to Travel + Leisure.

The original Voodoo Doughnut opened in Portland, Oregon in 2003. An early adopter of the maple-bacon dessert trend, it became famous for its Maple Bacon Bar and has since added doughnuts that incorporate other quirky flavors like bubble gum dust, Tang, and Fruit Loops. (At one point, the company sold doughnuts glazed with NyQuil, as well as one called a Vanilla Pepto Crushed Tums doughnut, but both of those have been discontinued by order of the health department.) Several of its unique flavors have also been turned into beers by the Oregon-based Rogue Ale.

A chocolate doughnut with a candy skull inside the hole.
A Dia de los Muertos-themed doughnut
Mathieu Thouvenin, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The popular Portland location usually features a line out the door and down the block, and the company now has outposts in Eugene, Denver, Austin, and Los Angeles. It has such a cult following that the stores will not just provide doughnuts for your wedding—they will host the ceremony. Now, East Coast doughnut lovers will be able to get in on the action, too.

The Universal Orlando CityWalk store has opened already, but it’s still in preview mode, meaning the hours can vary, and there's no guarantee it will be open every day. When it officially opens later this spring, it will be serving up more than 50 types of doughnuts seven days a week from 7 a.m. to midnight, and until 1 a.m. on weekends.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

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