The Dreadful Vegetable

The Curious Cases of Rutherford & Fry

By BBC Radio 4

The Dreadful Vegetable

"Why don't children like vegetables?" asks Penny Young from Croydon, and every parent ever. This week Rutherford and Fry dig into the science of taste and discover that there may be more to this question than meets the eye. Children and adults have a different taste experience when they eat the same foods. When you're young, foods can taste saltier and more bitter. What's more, as Jackie Blisset, Professor of Childhood Eating Behaviour explains, there are even evolutionary reasons why toddlers avoid vegetables. For most children it's a phase, but a minority of adults are also labelled as fussy eaters. According to food psychologist Linda Bartoshuk, they are probably what's known as 'supertasters'. Supertasters live in a neon taste world where vegetables are more bitter, and chillies are unbearably hot. Adam sets out on a quest to find potential supertasters in the Radio 4 offices. First stop, the Today programme where Nick Robinson and Sarah Montague become his experimental guinea pigs, with surprising results. Send your questions for consideration to: curiouscases@bbc.co.uk Presenters: Hannah Fry, Adam Rutherford Producer: Michelle Martin.
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