What would it be like to hear the words “ I am going to eat all of my (fill in the vegetable, fruit etc. here), it tasted as good as candy” from your normally picky child? Well, though that statement may be too good to be true, there is a fun thing you can do with your kids, spouse and family that both explores the way we taste, and highlights just how different we perceive taste from each other.
Having some 10,000 taste buds each, it is not hard to believe that one person thinks something tastes good, while another doesn’t. Biologically, our tongue senses sweet and salty at the tip, bitter at the back, and sour on either side of our tongue. Heat, extreme cold and strong flavors can affect how we taste. And there is a little product out on the market that “promises” to make lemons as sweet as lemonade and change the way we taste. And truth be told, it did! What is this product? It is called Mberry, also known as miracle berry. It contains a glycoprotein called miraculin that coats the tongue (temporarily) so that acidic or bitter flavors are perceived as sweet-turning lemons into lemonade.
The berries themselves, or as in Mberry in tablet form, have been seen on Dr. Oz, at the Philadelphia Science show, and are popping up in trendy restaurants and in homes at tasting parties. As the wife of a picky eater and mother to a picky 6 year old, I assembled a few items that the website suggested and tried it out.
I bought grapefruit, limes, strawberries, and oranges, cheese, and added little shot glasses of balsamic vinegar and a stout beer for my husband and I. We allowed the Mberry pill to dissolve (all natural, no fillers or artificial sweeteners), which took a minute or so, and WOW! The strawberries were the sweetest I ever had, and just that morning, I was thinking it was still early for a good berry. The vinegar was sweet as sugar. The limes were like candy. My son, who usually refuses most vegetables and fruit because they taste “bad”, did try a few and was pleasantly surprised.
So while I don’t advocate fooling someone into eating more fruit or vegetables, this was a fun way to see how taste works without adding sugar, chocolate, ketchup, whipped cream or ranch dressing to mask the flavor. Have a tasting party and enjoy!
Laura Zurita is a Montgomery County mom to a 6 year old, and wife to a picky eater. She is a registered dietitian and nutritionist. Her and her family love reading, hiking and are avid Phillies baseball fans.