Food & Gastronomy: Media and Writing

The How and Why of Cooking, Eating and Drinking


Crumbs I’ve Got a Prize

Posted on October 3, 1999

One of many newspaper stories that appeared at the time when I received an IgNobel Prize. Most were friendly, and showed recognition that this was a serious effort to make science accessible by showing how scientists think about the little problems of everyday life. View image of article

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Are You A Supertaster?

Guardian Weekend - Part of a series of 6 articles on taste and cooking with co-author Peter Barham Around a quarter of the population are supertasters - people who are extra-sensitive to bitter tastes in food. Of the supertasters, two-thirds are women. Scientists check for supertasters by measuring their ability to detect the extremely bitter chemical phenylthiocarbamide. That's not a material that you are likely to have in your ...

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Cup Runs Over for Scientists Who Can Take a Joke

Times Another media story about the IgNobel Prize, and using my quote “One way to make science accessible is by talking about the science of the familiar”. View image of article

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A Sour Taste in the Mouth

Guardian Weekend - Part of a series of 6 articles on taste and cooking with co-author Peter Barham The combination a sweet and a sour taste provides some of the most piquant dishes in the culinary repertoire. Whether it's in an oriental sweet and sour dish or a dessert of sweet fruit with yoghurt, sweet and sour together remain popular favourites. The sourness comes from an acid. In Oriental cooking, it's vinegar, which is no more than ...

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See the Sweetness

Guardian Weekend - Part of a series of 6 articles on taste and cooking with co-author Peter Barham There is a world where sugar is orange, honey is yellow and saccharine is a violent shade of pink. That world is the one inhabited by sufferers of synesthia – those few people whose neuronal connections between the tongue and the brain have become miswired, so that they experience taste as something quite different from the way in which ...

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With a Pinch of Salt

Guardian Weekend - Part of a series of 6 articles on taste and cooking with co-author Peter Barham The idea of adding a pinch of salt to enhance the flavour of food is a fairly recent one. Our ancestors didn't go for such subtleties. When they put salt in food, they added it by the bucketful. Take the Romans, for example. They were very fond of fish, but their method of preparing fresh mackerel was hardly an example of haute cuisine. ...

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Scientists Get the Art of Dunking Down to a T

The Daily Telegraph One of the best media stories about the physics of dunking a biscuit. Unlike some newspapers, the Daily Telegraph actually got the equation right, and also explained just what it meant extremely well. Conclusion: Many journalists are really keen to help put over what science is about. It is really up to scientists to help them more. View image of article

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Dunking Correspondence and Comments

Posted on November 25, 1998

Here are a couple of letters representing the extremes of the many that I have received: Abusive Letter re Dunking Sir, I have just watched a programme on TV on how to dunk a biscuit which I believe was a project headed by yourself. What a complete waste of time, of manpower and machinery. Who in their right mind could sanction this scheme. I am sure you could be more dutifully employed as street cleaners or ticket collectors. Is this ...

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