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Individual differences in taste perception and bitterness masking

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The unpleasant bitter taste found in many nutritious vegetables may deter people from consuming a healthy diet. We investigated individual differences in taste perception and whether these differences influence the effectiveness of bitterness masking. To test whether phenylthiocarbamide (PTC) `supertasters'

The unpleasant bitter taste found in many nutritious vegetables may deter people from consuming a healthy diet. We investigated individual differences in taste perception and whether these differences influence the effectiveness of bitterness masking. To test whether phenylthiocarbamide (PTC) `supertasters' also taste salt and sugar with greater intensity, as suggested by Bartoshuk and colleagues (2004), we infused strips of paper with salt water or sugar water. The bitterness rating of the PTC strip had a significant positive linear relationship with ratings of both the intensity of sweet and salt, but the effect sizes were very low, suggesting that the PTC strip does not give a complete picture of tasting ability. Next we investigated whether various seasonings could mask the bitter taste of vegetables and whether this varied with tasting ability. We found that sugar decreased bitterness and lemon decreased liking for vegetables of varying degrees of bitterness. The results did not differ by ability to taste any of the flavors. Therefore, even though there are remarkable individual differences in taste perception, sugar can be used to improve the initial palatability of vegetables and increase their acceptance and consumption.

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2012

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Te de boba: food, identity, and race in a multiracial suburb

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With the push towards interdisciplinary approaches, there has been tremendous growth of scholarship in the comparative ethnic studies field. From studies on multiracial people, to residential segregation, to the study of multiracial spaces, there is a lot to say about

With the push towards interdisciplinary approaches, there has been tremendous growth of scholarship in the comparative ethnic studies field. From studies on multiracial people, to residential segregation, to the study of multiracial spaces, there is a lot to say about cross-cultural experiences. “Te de Boba” explores the relationship between identity, race, and ethnicity of millennials through a food studies lens. In particular, I analyze the role of food spaces and food pathways in developing identity and conceptions of race and ethnicity. My research site consists of a small business, a boba tea shop in Baldwin Park, California: What happens when a boba shop opens up in downtown Baldwin Park, a predominantly Latinx community? How do interethnic relationships shape the structure and city landscape of Baldwin Park, and how do these experiences in turn shape self-identity among millennials? I draw from qualitative interviews, cognitive mapping, and surveys conducted within the boba shop to understand millennial identity formation in Baldwin Park. Millennials growing up in Baldwin Park experience unique relationships between cultures, foods, and lifestyles that cross ethnic and racial barriers, creating new forms of community, which I call hub cities. I develop “hub cities” as new terminology for discussing suburban spaces that foster a sense of community within suburban areas that challenges and break down popular discourse of race and ethnicity, giving way for youth creation of alternative discourses on race and ethnicity, consequently shaping the way they form self-identity.

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2016