The Nose Knows

Pacific Science Center In an unusual turn of events, my 14-year-old has proclaimed she learned something from her mom. Prior conversations involved me being told I am mean and know nothing. So does this mean that my teen daughter has matured and appreciates her mom's wisdom? Not exactly, she learned at my STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) presentations that our noses are responsible for allowing us to sense food's flavor. Therefore, when I insisted she "at least try " the slaw I made for dinner the other night, she proclaimed she learned something useful from mom and ate the slaw while plugging her nose. She knew if she did this she would avoid sensing the slaw's flavor. We can only sense a food's flavor by using our … [Read more...]

Methyl salicylate, Artificial Wintergreen oil (FEMA 2745)

A standard lab experiment in organic chemistry is to convert aspirin(acetylsalicylic acid) to Methyl salicylate. Methyl salicylate is an ester which smells sweet, is strong, is approved for use in food and is the characterizing flavor of wintergreen. Wintergreen flavor is very popular in the United States. Countries like Japan and Italy think it's most suitable for cleaning bathrooms, but not for eating. Personally, Wintergreen is one of my favorite flavors. It not only adds cool minty flavor, it adds sweetness. You can taste wintergreen in toothpastes, candies, gums, rootbeer, and bubble gum. Yes, that's right, root beer.  Try a swig of rootbeer;  doesn't it taste a little like wintergreen?  Rootbeer also has vanilla, ginger, cinnamon, … [Read more...]