Friday, November 06, 2020

History of food flavor

The tradition that ranks the sense of taste as among the lowlier attributes of human beings has roots that run long and deep into the history of philosophy Plato and Aristotle not only laid down some of the major alternatives for philosophical thinking but helped to determine the grounds on which an issue should be considered worthy of philosophical consideration at all.

Flavor has long been an enigma to scientists: Aristotle described two categories of taste, sweet and bitter.

The ancient Indian, Chinese, and Greek civilizations considered the palate to be one of the oldest and most intimate ways that men came into contact with nature.

The application of all products from the flavour and fragrance industry is solely aimed at enhancing the human striving for increased pleasure and sensual enjoyment.

According to Theophrastus, who compiled his predecessors’ theories on the subject, men had been trying to explain the phenomenon of taste since the 6thcentury BC, when Alcmaeon of Croton proposed that the tongue, being naturally warm and soft, dissolved flavors with its heat and absorbent texture, much like a sponge.

In De rerum natura(c. 54 BC) his famous poetic exposition of Democritean physics, the Epicurean poet Lucretius described how these variously shaped atoms then seeped into the networks of pores upon the sponge-like, “loose-textured” tongue. Some of these atoms merely tickled it.

The roots of flavor industry date back to early Egyptian history, as this extraordinarily advanced civilization was already thoroughly aware of and acquainted with perfumery and the embalming characteristics of certain spices and resins. Simple methods for the distillation and extraction of essential oils and resins were already known in pre-Christian times and subsequently elaborated by the Arabs.

In the mid-nineteenth century, flavor additives —volatile organic chemicals with desirable aromatic qualities —began to be used to flavor sugary confections, carbonated beverages, and other mass-marketed delights.

By the mid-twentieth century, added flavors had become ubiquitous in processed, packaged foods; a sophisticated, techno-scientific, and globe-spanning industry had emerged that specialized in their production.
History of food flavor 

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