Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 12:51 pm
Welcome Salt readers! We're Sandwich Monday, a regular feature from the staff of "Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me," and we're moving in here to provide an antidote to the informative and insightful posts to which you're accustomed.
Sixty years ago, the book Charlotte's Web first appeared in print. This children's classic is often seen as a story of a spider and a pig. But when E.B. White recorded a narration of the book, he said something different: "This is a story of the barn. I wrote it for children, and to amuse myself."
Supertasters are the Olympic athletes of gastronomy, able to detect subtle differences in flavors that other people never register. That talent may make for more than a discriminating palate, though. It may also warn them about attacking germs, and help them defend themselves against sinus infection.
This notion isn't as bizarre as it may seem. Bitter tastes have long been considered a danger signal in foods, warning about potential toxins in potatoes and other vegetables. If the potato's bitter, don't eat it.