JUN 25, 2017 05:33 AM PDT

Why we like to eat "spoiled" food


Have you ever thought about how some of our favorite things to eat are foods that have technically gone bad? Chocolate, coffee, cheese, bread, and beer are all home to millions of tiny microbes who give these foods their special tastes. Now, don't worry, the microbes living in your morning coffee aren't harmful, on the contrary! Yet we tend to think of "spoiled" food as bad for you because the majority of it is dangerous to our health; that's why our ancestors developed genes to make us squeamish about rotten food. But yeast, the microbe that's responsible for making bread rise, and other "good" microbes can actually protect us from dangerous microbes by out-competing them in foods. That's what happens when we salt cure meats, like salami. By adding salt we're able to give a leg up to salt-loving microbes that can keep salt-sensitive microbes (like salmonella) out!

Another curious did-you-know fact is that some certain smelly microbial foods can grow on us, both literally and figuratively. In the figurative sense, the more we're exposed to certain smells caused by microbes, the more we tend to like them. Which is why it might take a while to really get in the kimchi groove or really crave prosciutto. Nevertheless, almost all cultures around the world use fermentation in cooking, whether it's in the form of soy sause, pickles, kefir, or kombucha or wine!
About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
JUL 22, 2018
Videos
JUL 22, 2018
How far can a single breath can go?
Longest distance swam underwater in one breath by a female using fins. Can you imagine being the Guinness World record-holder of that title? Marina Kazanko...
JUL 25, 2018
Videos
JUL 25, 2018
Is Your Brain Completely Unconscious During Anesthesia?
For surgical procedures, anesthesia is a necessary part of patient care. Anesthesia is thought to render a patient unconscious, but according to new r...
JUL 25, 2018
Videos
JUL 25, 2018
What the Cockroach Genome can Teach us
The genome of the cockroach was recently sequenced, and scientists have gained some insight into why they are so tough....
AUG 13, 2018
Videos
AUG 13, 2018
Some Ways of Healing the Brain Actually Damage It
Fixing the body usually involves “doing no harm” since that is part of the Hippocratic Oath doctors take. However, to repair the brain, sometim...
AUG 15, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
AUG 15, 2018
What's So Special About Polarized Sunglasses?
Glare could cause discomfort in the eyes, even disability. To reduce the glare, one can try to reduce overall luminance, say by putting on a pair of generi...
AUG 17, 2018
Videos
AUG 17, 2018
Powering Greenhouses Using Food Waste
In simplest terms, food waste is food thrown in the garbage instead of being consumed. There is no use of throwing food and no benefit can come out of it....
Loading Comments...