You are thinking, “What is DG talking about? What the heck is a hypertaster? And what can it possibly do with dating?”
Let me explain. Yesterday, I had a fabulous day at Copia, the American center for wine, food and the arts in Napa, CA. Being a self-admitted wine dolt, I spent the day taking classes and touring the exhibits and gardens. Starting with “Winetasting 101” and progressing through “Winetasting 102,” “Zinfandel Madness,” and ending with “Introduction to Wine & Food Pairing.” Each program was led by an amazingly interesting and knowledgeable wine educator.
I have always felt I had an unsophisticated palate because I don’t like most wine. I would be embarrassed when clients or colleagues would rave about the Cabernet or Merlot being served, and I could barely endure a sip. I thought my Kansas-born taste buds were undeveloped as I stuck to less trendy Rieslings and Gewurztraminers.
In the last class, I learned that I am one of the 25% of the population considered a “hypertaster” or “supertaster.” This means we taste tannin, spices, bitterness, and other flavors much more intensely than the other 75% of the population. This explains why I don’t enjoy most wines, as many have tannin as a key component.
According to Linda Bartoshuk, Ph.D., a professor of surgery at the Yale University School of Medicine, hypertasters are genetically engineered to have over 38-100 times as many taste buds as a “non-taster,” which is 25% of the population.
I began to think of this in terms of dating. In “Are you ready to pick a guy?” and “Are you too picky?” we discussed how some daters seem not to be able to find someone for a LTR who is to their taste. I’m curious if this inability to find a delicious match has anything to do with one’s physical tasting ability. I wonder if we hypertasters are genetically predisposed to be pickier? Most of the population — an estimated 50% — are considered “regular tasters.” One article on tasting hypersensitivity quotes Dr. Bartoshuk, “’The world is built for regular tasters,’ noting that such people experience foods as not too sweet, bitter, salty or sour.” I wonder if that holds for their taste in a mate, too? They are more tolerant, less picky, easier to please.
What do you notice about your own tastes in food and taste in men? Do you think you’re a non-taster, regular taster, or supertaster?
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