tasty cutlery

A lot of attention is paid to what we put into our foods but what about what we put our food on? The “proper” way to savour caviar is to eat it off a horn spoon or the back of your hand as a metal utensil will tarnish the taste. And there might be some truth to that.

Using four samples of Tesco extra thick double cream with sugar, lemon juice (sour), lemon pith (bitter), and salt added, four teaspoons of identical weight, electroplated in stainless steel, copper, zinc, and gold, and thirty human guinea-pigs, Laughlin, Miodownik, Charles Spence, and Betina Piqueras-Fiszman concluded that “cutlery coated with different materials really does taste different,” and, what’s more, that these differences are significant enough to “influence the perception of taste and pleasantness of food consumed from them.”

The researchers concluded that the more reactive metals, cooper and zinc, have a more pronounced effect on taste than the less reactive metals, gold and stainless steel. Eating with the cooper and zinc spoons added a bitter taste to the creams but also made the sweet cream seem sweeter and the salty cream saltier.

And it seems that type, size, weight and colour of your cultery also affects your dining experience. This study done by Vanessa Harra and Charles Spence produced rather interesting results:

  • The sampled yogurt was rated as tasting denser and more expensive when sampled from the lighter spoons. However, the  yogurt was perceived as denser and more expensive when tasted from heavier plateware
  • The heavier spoons made desserts seem sweeter
  • blue spoons made yogurt taste saltier as compared to white spoons
  • black spoons seem to make yogurt appear less sweet when compared to white spoons
  • cheese was rated as being saltiest when sampled from a knife rather than from a spoon, fork, or toothpick

Interested to find out more? Check out this review.





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