An article in this month's Gourmet kicks to the curb the idea that we humans sense the five tastes — salty, sweet, sour, bitter, plus umami — on specific parts of our tongues. According to the latest research, the fact that tastes are limited to these categories is bunk...
The article, "The Corrections," essentially explains that as researchers delve into the human genome, they are discovering the complex way different people experience food and the science behind it. The end result may be that scientists can create chemicals that block tastes we don't want — for example, the bitterness of a brussels sprout.
We got lost a little bit in that hyper-intelligent article, but this month's Gourmet made up for it with some super simple summer recipes. As we usually find with this magazine, many of the good ones are hidden. The "perfect steak" lauded on the cover is tucked into the back, with no picture. And an easy Corn on the Cob with Chipotle-Scallion Butter could be quickly flipped past...
But we really loved the beautiful spread on a summer feast served lakeside. Most of the dishes could be made ahead and served at room temperature, which is just what we're looking for this season of picnics and hours-long barbecues. The Zucchini-Potato Tortilla and Beef Tenderloin with Smoked-Paprika Mayonnaise both sounded delicious. The recipe for Green Grape Sangria had a surprise ingredient: A crushed Vitamin C tablet, which apparently helps the sangria keep its vibrant color.
There's also a great article about buying a live goat at a halal butcher in Queens, then watching it be slaughtered on the premises. The authors drove home the idea that being that involved in the preparation of an animal makes you take great care in cooking it — a lovely and tender idea.
At the back of the magazine, there's a whole glut of unique ways to use summer tomatoes (Tomato Bread Pudding or Sherry Tomato Granita?) plus a chart on the different types of heirloom varieties. Now, if they'd only start showing up in the markets, we'd be all set.
Related: A look back at last summer: June 2007 Food Magazine Roundup
(Image: Romulo Yanes for Gourmet)