Taste What You're Missing | Barb Stuckey | Talks at Google | Summary and Q&A

June 10, 2012
Talks at Google
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Taste What You're Missing | Barb Stuckey | Talks at Google


The presenter discusses the importance of understanding taste, smell, texture, sight, and sound in the culinary experience.

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Key Insights

  • 👅 Our taste experience is influenced by multiple senses, including taste, smell, texture, sight, and sound.
  • 👅 Understanding the anatomy of our tongue and the genetic variations in our taste receptors can explain differences in taste preferences.
  • 😋 Some foods, like cilantro, polarize individuals due to genetic and sensory differences.
  • 😋 Training ourselves to like new foods takes repeated exposure and an open mind.


Male Presenter: My name's Scott Giambastiani. I'm one of the chefs here at Google. Thanks for coming today. In a couple of minutes, I wanted to introduce Barb Stuckey, but before that, I'd like to give a little bit of background on why she's here today. [clears throat] Barb Stuckey has been a food industry professional for the last 20 years. She ... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: How does our sense of taste change as we age?

Our sense of taste evolves as we age due to changes in our physiology. For example, taste buds regenerate every 10-14 days, which can affect our perception of taste. Additionally, our olfactory system changes, impacting how we experience aromas in food. Overall, our taste preferences can change, making foods we previously disliked more enjoyable and vice versa.

Q: Why do some people find cilantro tastes like soap?

There is a genetic component to the perception of cilantro. Some individuals have genetic variations that make them sensitive to certain compounds in cilantro, giving it a soapy taste. Others do not have this sensitivity and enjoy the fresh and green flavors of cilantro. Additionally, there may be variations in how individuals smell and experience the aromas of cilantro, further impacting their perception of its taste.

Q: Can we train ourselves to like foods we currently dislike?

Yes, it is possible to develop a liking for foods we initially dislike through repeated exposure. Research shows that it takes between five and eight attempts at a food before our perception changes. As we taste a food more frequently, our taste buds and olfactory system adapt, allowing us to appreciate and enjoy flavors we previously found unpleasant. Persistence and an open mind are key to developing new food preferences.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The presenter, Barb Stuckey, explains her background in the food industry and the motivation behind her book, "Taste What You're Missing."

  • Stuckey breaks down the five senses and their role in our tasting experience, including taste, smell, texture, sight, and sound.

  • She provides examples and experiments to demonstrate the impact of each sense on our perception of food.

  • The presentation emphasizes the importance of understanding and appreciating how our senses work together to create the overall flavor experience.

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