You know the delicious flavors of your favorite foods? It turns out they can be simulated without any foods at all, using ingenious science and technology developed by the flavor industry. Like it or not, you probably eat something every day that has been flavored with their products.
At Flavor: Making It and Faking It, learn what "natural" and "artificial" really mean, discover how vanilla and seaweed inspired the science of flavor simulation, and meet the $25 billion industry whose flavors you experience almost every time you eat.
The Building Blocks of Flavor
Flavor is a complex experience that starts with chemicals and ends in our brains. Although there is no difference between a flavor chemical taken from a natural source and one made in a lab, some flavors are still more complex than others.
— Learn about how your nose and tongue detect flavor chemicals.
— Understand why lab-made flavors differ from the real thing.
Learning to Fake It: Vanilla and the Birth of the Flavor Industry
Vanilla’s transformation from costly spice to industrially produced commodity led to the birth of the flavor industry.
— Discover the surprising sources of vanilla flavoring.
— Is there a flavor difference between real vanilla and simulated vanilla? You decide.
Umami: Seaweed and the Discovery of a New Taste
MSG manufacturers created a new understanding of deliciousness and became a key part of the growing processed food industry.
— Learn how seaweed unlocked our understanding of the fifth taste: umami.
— Taste umami from a variety of sources and see for yourself whether it enhances flavor.
The Taste Makers: The Art and Science of Flavor Creation
New technologies and a growing knowledge of flavor in the postwar era allowed scientists to further separate flavor from food.
— Create aromas using the one-of-a-kind MOFAD "smell synth."
— Deconstruct strawberry flavoring and put it back together again.