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A taste for the science of food aversions

May 19, 2010

Love it or hate it?

Who knew that cilantro and black licorice are repugnant to some people, while others relish their tang and kick?

Food science professor Fred Caporaso, Ph.D., Schmid College of Science, that’s who. So the producers and researchers with the syndicated Dr. Oz Show, which airs locally on FOX 11, asked him to weigh in with his expertise for an upcoming episode on food aversions. Dr. Caporaso teaches an upper division course titled Sensory Evaluation of Foods. An air date has yet to be announced, but we’ll keep you posted.

And yes, cilantro tops many people’s yuck list. They even have their own website!

“There are some people who think it tastes soapy, rotten or just plain vile,” Dr. Caporaso says.

It seems strange to us here in California, which grows almost all of the cilantro sold in the United States. But that’s because we’ve been habituated to it.

“It’s very interesting because it seems to be a regional thing,” he says.

Genetics play a role, too. Vultures “get excited” over road kill and have digestive systems to stomach such a feast.

We think we’ll wait to flock around another offering Dr. Caporaso has in store. He’s working on plans to add a science of wine class at Chapman. No regional aversions there.

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