Are You a Supertaster?

The acuteness of our sense of taste is to our evolutionary advantage, to direct us to foods of high nutritional value and to help us steer clear of foods that might sicken or even poison us. The science of taste is today so much more complicated than simply a question of sour or sweet, bitter or salty. Umami, calcium, kokumi, even metallicity—among others—are just a few of the newly recognized tastes that have entered into the discussion. A super-taster can have up to twice as many taste buds as the average person, making for a much richer dining experience given the presence of all of these tastes to explore. But the reality is that super-tasting often makes for picky eaters.

Image from: Wikimedia.

Taste is so much more complicated than sweet, sour, salty, and bitter. Image from: Wikimedia.

For more, read the following article from The National Geographic:

http://theplate.nationalgeographic.com/2014/09/30/are-you-a-supertaster/

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A Look at 10/10/1877: Custer’s Last Stand and the Making of a Legend

On October 10th 1877, an entire year after his death, one of the most controversial figures of nineteenth-century American history was finally put to rest. Though today his story has become legend, in his own lifetime General Custer was something of an enigma. For the remainder of her life, Elizabeth Bacon Custer would adamantly defend her husband’s actions on and off the battlefield. His story was latched onto by the media and re-spun as a further incentive to perpetuate the violence against Native Americans. A hero was born, not out of his own actions, but the actions of others to memorialize his death.

Image from: Wikimedia

“The Custer Fight” by Charles Marion Russell. Image from: Wikimedia.

Custer rose to military prominence during the Civil War as an extraordinarily young and gifted officer. Yet it is not for these military escapades that he is remembered, but rather for his involvement in battles against the Sioux and Cheyenne in what is today the northwestern United States. Custer represents a picture of the West as conquest.

His Last Stand at the Battle of Little Big Horn is a highly romanticized image, a portrait of grown men playing at Cowboys-and-Indians that was once blown up into posters and hung around bars. When the actual conflict was long forgotten, what remained in place was the image. It took at least a year between his death and his funeral to plant the seeds that put the image in place.

Today is a reminder that the stories we tell ourselves have enormous power. We make our own heroes and decide their legacies long after they are gone and no longer have a say in how they are to be remembered—as tragic figures printed on the walls of bars or participants in a more complicated reality. Words are not passive reflections of the past, but rather active creators of our collective memory.

Sources:

Custer’s Last Stand, a PBS Documentary (http://video.pbs.org/video/2186572157/)

Custer’s Funeral is Held at West Point (http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/custers-funeral-is-held-at-west-point)

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