Never succumb to the taste of bitterness. (Martin Luther King, Jr.)
Yesterday, I had a brief Twitter exchange with the person who tweeted this Salon.com article. It is a "follow me" kind of piece, in which the intrepid journalist plays with a bitter blocker. A bitter blocker is just what it says: a kind of immunity granting substance which, when employed, alters your tongue/brain communication so that you will not perceive most of the 50 or so types of bitter. Burnt toast becomes just toast. Beer shifts to umami. Stuff like that. (Apparently, orange bitters...not the kind in a bottle on the bar, but the kind inside an orange peel...are not covered in this particular chemical insurance plan.) When I philosophically Tweeted "but do we WANT to mask that which is bitter," I got a very literal response about a particular application of bitter blocking: the salt on the rim of a Greyhound cocktail, and the high volume of salt in commercially prepared broth. Fair and true.
Still, I pondered.
Embedded in that article is a link to another article, one about scent memories and attachments. It includes that phenomenon we have discussed before, the fact that we need to familiarize ourselves with foreign tastes, exposing ourselves to them a number of times before we can even begin to formalize our impressions of them, let alone sort them into an "opinion." (Which would then seem to raise the spectre of the "first I liked/did not like you" chart, but further sorting is not part of their discussion.)
The fluctuation of memory.
The influence of the food we eat as children upon our preferences as adults.
Whether we should mask that which is bitter.
On a holiday the United States sets aside in honor of the memory and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., it seems to me there's lots of food for thought right there.