Ever wonder why wine and tea pair so well with a meal?
Published in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication, researchers share findings that offer a whole new definition of the balanced meal. They also offer a new way of thinking about our eating habits, both good and bad.researchers who study the way food feels in our mouths think they may understand why that is.
The findings reported that the astringent wine and fatty meat are like the yin and yang of the food world, sitting on opposite ends of a sensory spectrum.
The researchers knew that astringent wines feel rough and dry in our mouths. Fats, on the other hand, are slippery. There was the notion that the two might oppose each other, but it wasn’t quite clear how that might really work. After all, the astringents we consume are only weakly astringent.
These findings might explain the appeal of salad dressings, with their characteristic acids and oils, for example. Think also of the pink folds of ginger on the sides of our sushi plates or the soda with our burgers and fries.
Researchers were able to show that weakly astringent brews — in this case containing grape seed extract, a green tea ingredient, and aluminum sulfate — build in perceived astringency with repeated sipping. When paired with dried meat, those astringent beverages indeed counter the slippery sensation that goes with fattiness.
The opposition between fatty and astringent sensations allows us to eat fatty foods more easily if we also ingest astringents with them.
Cell Press. “Why wine and tea pair so well with a meal: It’s all in the mouthfeel.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 October 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121008134215.htm>.