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Texture of Food

By mahir | November 15, 2010

It’s always really interesting to me to read about the science behind food, to get another perspective on the things I do on a gut level.  A new article about texture has taught me about the chemical basis of texture, and how it influences our food preferences.

Texture is always on my mind when it comes to food.  For me, a meal is not simply about taste, it should look and feel amazing – it should be a multi-sensory experience.  When I’m making a recipe, I could think that a bean chili needs something crunchy and I’ll throw in tortilla chips for texture.  For other recipes, I might use lettuce, or breadcrumbs for texture; I often improve recipes with little things like this.  It’s all about giving you that play and balance between the consistencies of different foods.

The enzyme amylase is responsible for breaking starch into liquid, and a new study “shows that people produce strikingly different amounts of amylase” so the more amylase you produce, the faster you liquefy starchy foods.  So for some people, maple syrup, which is high in starch, would taste runny to people with more amylase, and not “melting enough” for people who produce lower amounts.  Also, amylase amounts slow with age, so “young children [who] dislike certain fruits because of a perceived sliminess” may grow to like them as they produce decreasing amounts of this enzyme.

I’m not sure if this information will change how I cook, but it’s great to learn something new about the science behind cooking.

Read about the rest of this research here.

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