Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

What makes fat taste so good?

  1. Jan 17, 2006 #1
    I just had a pretty interesting question. What makes fat taste so good? The fat you enjoy and love, in your fast food, etc. What about fried tacos? What makes them so good is the grease (fat), why does fat taste so good?

    Does it have some special flavor enhancer, perhaps maltodexterin? This is known to enhance flavor.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 17, 2006 #2

    DaveC426913

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I think it has to do with quenching your appetite. Fat is more effective at quenching the desire to continue eating. I suspect it also releases endorphins - the "feel good" chemicals - into your brain.
     
  4. Jan 17, 2006 #3
    Re: Fat

    it's really no great shock that chefs have understood for centuries the importance of fat basting in cooking. If you think about humans being omnivorous the answer is pretty straightforward. What does a hunter gatherer eat most of? Plants and grains and nuts etc. What does he eat more rarely? What does he eat in the winter when he can't get plant matter becuase of snow cover etc? What has the gretest nutritional value in terms of energy and vitamins&minerals? That should answer the question, fat is great for keeping us alive in the winter and meat and also provides us with the most energy per Kg/protein/vitamins minerals. Next time you meat a veggie that eating meat is unnatural ask them why we have the teeth of an omnivore:wink: It's no great surprise that we find dry meat unpaletable and vegeatables taste like rabbit food. Or that we find lashings of butter and steak dripping with juices to be absolutely irresistable. Unfortuantely some people tend to eat too much, but then many of our ancestors where literally subsisting or starving at some points in our history. Meat is murder, but without it we would exist soley in the tropics. How many animals who live north of the arctic circle are totaly vegeatarian? How many are soley carniverous.

    pre westernization why did the Inuit survive purely on meat?
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2006
  5. Jan 17, 2006 #4

    DaveC426913

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I don't want to hijack this thread for a debate about carnivarian v.s vegetarian, but: I don't think you'll find any vegetarians that doubt we used to eat meat. Veggies choose to avoid meat.

    BTW, we used to eat our meat raw, and we used to live in caves too. We adapt, we make choices.

    Your entire argument presumes that meat is the only source of fats and oils. It's not. There are plenty of vegetable oils.
     
  6. Jan 19, 2006 #5
    true but roast potatoes taste better baked in lard than vegeatable oil. My point is oil tastes nice because of it energy content I just used meat fats as a n example.
    And some vegies do say that. Nothing against veggies, I myself love meat too much, but whatever floats your boat.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2006
  7. Jan 19, 2006 #6

    chroot

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Schrodinger's Dog:

    Your statement that steaks dripping with juices are "absolutely irresistable" is a statement of opinion -- your opinion -- and doesn't apply to the human population as a whole. Please do not make the common mistake of thinking that your tastes, ethics, beliefs, or values are in any way universal.

    - Warren
     
  8. Jan 19, 2006 #7
    I think its pretty obvious not *all* of us think like that. I don't think he said it meaning it to be universal in its definitive purpose.

    I don't understand why you emphasise that it is HIS opinion, which it is almost by default when he said it.
     
  9. Jan 19, 2006 #8

    selfAdjoint

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    I don't think fat tastes good by itself. Try nibbling on a cake of lard.

    In the US popular food is often fried, even deep-fried, and the skim of fat clinging to the hot food seems to enhance the taste, but let it get cold and see how good it is! Well again, that's my opinion. My son seems to groove on cold pizza the next morning!

    As to the reason, hunter-gatherers often regard the organ meats - heart, liver. etc. as delicacies, taken out of the freshly killed animal and eaten quickly, still warm. Many of these organs contain a high ammount of fat, I believe, and we could have inherited the taste. But if that's so, why are modern Americans so down on organ meats?
     
  10. Jan 19, 2006 #9

    Evo

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    It has to do with affluence. Organ meats as you said were once highly prized. I collect old cookbooks and have one from Colonial American times which goes to great lengths to explain how to serve cow teeth (you suck the jelly out of the tooth), serving the eyeballs and the fat around the ears. These parts only went to your prized guests. I have a wonderful recipe for boiled calves head if anyone wants to come over and suck a tooth or eyeball.

    For some reason, the other leaner parts of the cow became associated with wealth, and damn it, I can't remember why, and I read it not too long ago.
     
  11. Jan 19, 2006 #10
    DaveC, I've taken food and nutrition for several years. Not only that, you can find many healthy oils (such as olive oil) in nuts and grains. Also, the germ of wheat is very healthy. "De germed" (when the germ is removed) is what makes white bread white, and when the germ is in tact, indeed, the bread is 'grainy' and has a 'nutty' taste.

    Since the germ is oily, it can spoil. This is why you need to refridgerator your bread. :)

    You might've already known this, but it's interesting no less. eh?
     
  12. Jan 19, 2006 #11
    Yes, I can relate to this. I"ve heard british have something called 'black pudding.' Apparently, its fat and blood sauage (from the pig). Sounds nasty, but its supposed to be a delicacy in Great Britian.
     
  13. Jan 19, 2006 #12
    Probably the fact that we don't have to 'get down on the nitty gritty' with our food anymore. What i Mean is, we don't have to hunt for food anymore. It was a dangerous job, and it was not certain that you'd live. Unless you work in a food packing plant (My teacher did, he says it was pretty gross) I suppose they were desenstiived to it. Perhaps, their primitive brains weren't as developed as ours.

    I have no fact behind this, its just my opinion.

    We simply don't have to work for our food anymore. I think that's why.
     
  14. Jan 20, 2006 #13

    Mk

    User Avatar

    Oh c'mon, do we have to nitpick like that? We all understand what SD is saying.
     
  15. Jan 20, 2006 #14
    There's probably a good reason for not eating cold food though as well so the fact that day old food doesn't float your boat is quite understandable. Wow I didn't think that generalising about something in order to make a point was a crime:eek:

    Fat = survival because it tends to come in food types with high nutritional value and is inherently beneficial anyway(not in a modern context necessarily obviously) to hunter gatherer societies subsisting on mostly bland vegetables, meat or say nuts would have been a welcome treat.

    As for black pudding, most people love it over here, personally I can't stand it but then that's just my opinion:wink:

    Liver is revolting, kidneys in steak and kidney pie are delectable. Cow heart is a nice dish and as for offal, well you eat sausages don't you, you really don't want to know whats in those.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2006
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?